Day 1 (Wednesday): Urumqi
Arrival to Urumqi International Airport, meeting with a guide and driver. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2 (Thursday): Urumqi – Heavenly Lake – Urumqi (130kms, 1.5hrs)
After breakfast transfer to Tianshan Mountian wings. Visit Heavenly Lake & boat cruise on the lake.
Heavenly Lake, 110 kilometers from Urumqi, the Heavenly Lake is a long and narrow gourd-shaped moraine lake, 3400 meters long, about 1500 meters wide, 105 meters at the deepest point, with an average depth of 40 meters, covering an area of about 5.9 square kilometers. There are eight beautiful scenic spots in the lake scenic area, they are “A Ray of Stone Gate”, “Dragon's Pool and Green Moon”, “Magic Needle for Guarding the See”, “Three Stones Bearing the Sky”, “the Snowcapped Southern Mountain”, “Pine Billows in Western Mountain”, “the Hanging Waterfall”, and the “Sea Peak's Sunrise”.
2 PM back to Urumqi Visit Xinjiang Museum, Erdaoqiao Market & International Bazaar,
Xinjiang Museum is the main institution to collect and investigate the unearthed cultural relics and specimens in Xinjiang. There are more than 50 thousand pieces of various kinds of cultural relics stored in the museum, among them, the ancient mummies represented by ‘the Loulan Beauty', manuscripts in Chinese, Kharosthi, Qiuci, Yanji, Tibetan, Uigurian and other characters prevailed in ancient Western Regions, the silk ,wool, cotton and hemp fabrics and folk raiment, etc., are unusual tidbits in the world.
Erdaoqiao Market & International Bazaar.
The Erdaoqiao Bazaar is the largest in Urumqi. You'll find a bustling market filled with fruit, clothing, crafts, knives, carpets and almost anything that you can imagine. On Sunday, there are more stalls and more goods to buy than any other day. The old streets around the bazaar are really worth seeing. Here is the most welcomed place by tourist especialy by ladies where they can .buy some traditional uygur make up cosmetic. Overnight at Urumqi.
Day 3 (Friday): Urumqi – Turpan (190kms 2.5hrs)
After breakfast transfer to Turpan. Visit Bezklik Grottoes, Astana Tombs, Tuyoq Valley and Kumtag Desert.
Bezklik Grottoes is located in 50 kilometers to the east of Turfan City. “Bezeklik”means “a place with beautiful decoration”. There are 83 numbered caves; among them 40 preserved murals totaling 1200 square meters. These caves are first excavated in Qu`s Gaochang period. The exising caves were reconstructed or newly extended by Uighurian people. In some caves one can find that Buddhish murals are painted on Manichean murals. Themes of the murals are mainly the stories about causes.
Astana Tombs is located over 40 kilometers to the southeast of Turfan City, covering an area of 10 square kilometers, the Astana Tombs are the graveyard of the residents lived in the Gaochang City in the Jin-Tang times, including large sized family graveyard. Between 1959 and 1975, here had been excavated 13 times, a great number of cultural relics have been unearthed, including Chinese documents, textiles, epitaphs, coins, clay sculptures, pottery, wooden wares, silk-paintings, crops and foods ,etc., and total number of them reaches tens thousands. Known as “the Underground Museum.
Tuyoq Valley. The caves lies 65 kilometers to the east of the city of Turfan and are constructed or dug in eastern and western cliffs in Tuyoq valley . Among more than 40 caves, there are 10 preserving murals. They are considered to be the earliest caves in Turfan, Murals are mostly damaged, but unique in style.
Overnight at Turpan.
Day 4 (Saturday): Turpan – Urumqi – Kashgar (190 km, 2.5 h.)
Breakfast. Visit Jiaohe Ruined city, Karez Irrigation System, Sugong Minerat, Local Uyger family in the Vineyard.
The Jiaohe Ruins are located on a mesa in willow leaf shape between the Yarnaz River valleys 10 kilometers to the west of Turfan City. Running from northwest to southeast, 1760 meters long and 300 meters across at the widest part. The city includes city gates, streets and lanes, government office, temples, domestic houses, cave houses, wells, and an underground temple.
Karez Irrigation System is a unique irrigation system in Turfan, which, taking advantage of the slopes, draws the underground water to flow by itself to irrigate farmland. It consists of four parts: vertical wells, underground channels, ground canals and small reservoirs.
Sugong Minerat is located in Mura Village 2 kilometers to the east of the city of Turfa, the Tower was built in the 41st year of the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty. It is an embodiment of the ancient architectural arts of the Uygur nationality. The tower is 37 meters high and 10 meters in diameter at the base. The body of the tower is cylindroid in shape, built with bricks arranged in various symmetrical patterns on the outer wall. The tower has 14 windows and a spiral stairs inside it leading to the top.
Local Uyger Family with Vineyard. Turpan is a kingdom of Grapes, all the local uyger families plant the grapes at the back of their house. Local Uygur family visiting is a special experience for you to know their lifestyle in the fireland.
Transfer to the airport in Urumqi. Flight to Kashgar. On arrival transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5 (Sunday): Kashgar Sunday Market
Today is a further day in Kashgar for us to experience the famous Yakshambe Bazaar - the Sunday Market. In the morning we will first visit the famous animal market. Here we will spend the morning watching the locals trade everything from woodwork and iron wear to sheep, donkeys, cattle, horses and camels before progressing onto the covered bazaar, believed to be the biggest in Central Asia. The afternoon & evening will be free for you to spend at your leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6 (Monday): Kashgar – Torugart – Tash-Rabat
Breakfast. Early in the morning transfer to Torugart Pass. Meeting with the Kyrgyz travel company at Kyrgyz-Chinese border. Drive to Tash-Rabat, Caravanserai 11th century, served as a fortress for travelers along the Great Silk Road. This is a carefully restored stone building. Overnight in the yurt.
Day 7 (Tuesday): Tash-Rabat – Son-Kul
Transfer to Son-Kul. Son-Kul is one of the highest lakes in Kyrgyzstan (2030 m above sea level). It’s a place where you can experience a nomadic life. You will have a chance to ride a horse, see edelweiss flowers, camels, yaks, golden eagles, and to see how local women make Kyrgyz national drink – kumis (fermented mare’s milk). Overnight in the yurt camp.
Day 8 (Wednesday): Son-Kul – Kochkor – Bishkek
Transfer to Bishkek. On the way stop in Kochkor where you can see a process of making Kyrgyz national felt carpets. Lunch with a local Kyrgyz family. Continue driving to Bishkek. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 9 (Thursday): Bishkek – Almaty
After breakfast Sightseeing tour: Oak Park, Ala -Too Square, Philarmonic hall, Statue of Manas, Victory Square and Oriental market – Osh bazaar. After excursion transfer to Almaty via a newly built highway, enjoy nature landscapes on the way (250 km, 4 h.). Cross Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan border. Arrive in Almaty, check in to the hotel.
Day 10 (Friday): Almaty
Your guide and driver will meet you at hotel lobby to start the sightseeing tour in Almaty: visit Panfilov Park, Zenkov Cathedral, National Musical Instruments Museum, Republic Square, and Green Bazaar. Enjoy panoramic view at Kok-Tobe Hill, visit Medeo Gorge. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 11 (Saturday): Almaty – Dushanbe
Free time in Almaty. Transfer to the airport at 13:00 for flight SZ 216 departing at 15:55, arriving in Dushanbe at 16:35. Transfer to the hotel. Free time.
Day 12 (Sunday): Dushanbe – Khujand (280 km, 5-6 hrs.)
Start guided city tour with visit to the National Museum of Antiquities, where the famous statue of Buddha in Nirvana is preserved. Continue to Hissor fortress (23 km from Dushanbe) where you can see Madrasa Kuhna. Return to Dushanbe and visit Gurminj Musical Instruments Museum, Statue of Ismail Samani and Rudaki Park. In the afternoon transfer to Khudjand (280 km, 5-6 h.). The mountain road goes via picturesque Anzob pass (3300 m above sea level). Overnight in hotel.
Day 13 (Monday): Khujand – Tashkent
Start guided city tour of Khujand: visit ancient part of Khujand,“Timurmalik fortress”, Archeology & History museums, Orient bazaar Panjshanbe. Lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon drive to Tajik/Uzbek border point “Oybek”. Border formalities on both checkpoints. Meet Uzbekistan driver and drive to Tashkent (100 km, 1 h. 30 min). Arrive in Tashkent. Check in to the hotel.
Day 14 (Tuesday): Tashkent
Meet your guide to start sightseeing in the capital of Uzbekistan, the biggest city in Central Asia.
Visit Old City part of Tashkent with Khast-Imom Complex where the world famous Quran of Caliph Uthman – Ottoman has been preserved. In Khast-Imom visit Madrasah of Barak-Khan, Tilla Sheikh Mosque, Mausoleum of the Saint Abu Bakr Kaffal Shashi and the Islamic Institute of Imam al-Bukhari. Explore Chor-Su Bazaar. Then take a ride on Tashkent Metro to city center with Amir Temur Square, Independence Square and Applied Arts Museum. Free time in the afternoon. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 15 (Wednesday): Tashkent – Samarkand
At 07:00 transfer from your hotel to railway station. Fast-speed train “Afrosiyob” departs Tashkent at 08:00 and arrives in Samarkand at 10:10 (300 km). Your guide and driver will meet you at train station to begin the city tour in Samarkand. Visit spectacular Registan Square, remains of Bibi Khanum Mosque, Siyob Bazaar, Ulugbek Observatory, Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis and Gur Emir Mausoleum – authentic shrine of Tamerlane. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 16 (Thursday): Samarkand – Bukhara
In the morning, depart Samarkand and drive to Bukhara (280 km, 4 h.). Stop on the way at Rabati-Malik Caravanserai. Continue driving to Bukhara. Arrive in Bukhara, check in to the hotel.
Spend your afternoon in fascinating Old Bukhara which is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Explore Kalyan Minaret, Kalyan Mosque and Miri-Arab Madrasah, Magoki-Attori Mosque, madrasahs of Ulugbek and Abdulazizkhan, trade domes, Lyabi Hauz Ensemble, Chor-Minor Madrasah. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 17 (Friday): Bukhara
Start the second day in Bukhara discovering Ark Fortress, Bolo-Khauz Mosque, Samani dynasty and Chashma-Ayub mausoleums. Then visit Sitorai-Mokhikhosa – summer residence of Bukhara’s last emir, unique site combining Oriental and Russian architecture. Continue to Mausoleum of Bakhoutdin Naqshbandi and Chor-Bakr Necropolis. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 18 (Saturday): Bukhara – Mary
In the morning transfer to Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan border point Alat-Farab (100 km, 1 h. 30 min.). Go through border formalities on both checkpoints. Cross 1.5 km neutral zone (transportation may not be available). Meet your Turkmenistan guide and drive to Mary through Turkmenabad (290 km, 5 h. 30 min.). Arrival in Mary, check in to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 19 (Sunday): Mary – Merv – Ashgabat
After breakfast drive to Ancient Merv (40 km, 30 min.). Merv was a major center of international trade and crafts located on the Silk Road. Discover historical park with Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum, Large and Small Gyz Gala, Erk Gala, Gyaur Gala, Keshk Fortress, and others. Return to Mary and visit History Museum of Merv region. Take an evening flight to Ashgabat (370 km, 50 min.). Upon arrival transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 20 (Monday): Ashgabat – Darwaza gas crater
Sightseeing tour in Ashgabat – capital of Turkmenistan which has experienced boom of “Marble Architecture” for the past 15 years. Explore archeological site of Old Nissa (included in UNESCO World Heritage list) and Spiritual Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in Central Asia. Visit the National Museum of History, Arch of Neutrality, Presidential Square, Ertogrul Ghazy Mosque, and the newly built Independence Park. Take a picture of the Monument of Lenin. In the afternoon depart to Darwaza gas crater located in the middle of Karakym desert (280 km, 4 h.). Arrive at the crater, set up the camp. Enjoy a delicious fire-cooked meal for dinner near the burning gas crater. Overnight in tents.
Day 21 (Tuesday): Darwaza gas crater – Kunya-Urgench – Khiva
After camp style breakfast depart to Kunya-Urgench – the ancient capital of Khorezm Empire (270 km, 4 h.). Visit Kunya Urgench historical site: mausoleums of Turebek-Khanym, Sultan Tekesh, Sultan Il Arslan, Najmad-din-Kubra, Sultan Ali. Discover the Kutlug Timur Minaret and Kyrk Molla Hill. In the afternoon drive to Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan border point Dashoguz-Shavat. Go through border formalities on both checkpoints. Cross 1.5 km neutral zone (transportation may not be available). Meet your driver and continue to Khiva (60 km, 1 h.). Overnight at the hotel.
Day 22 (Wednesday): Khiva – Tashkent
Check-out from hotel till noon.
Today you will visit Ichan-Kala Fortress which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The tour features visits to Mukhammad Amin Khan Madrasah, Mukhammad Rahimkhan Madrasah, Kalta Minor, Juma Mosque, Toshkhovli Palace, Pakhlavan Makhmud Mausoleum. Try yourself at climbing Islom Khodja Minaret, the highest minaret in Uzbekistan. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Old Khiva in Kunya-Ark.
Free time in the afternoon. In the evening you will be transferred to Urgench airport (30 km, 35 min.) for flight to Tashkent (1093 km, 1 h. 40 min.). Upon arrival transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 23 (Thursday): Tashkent – Baku
Take a morning flight to Baku. On arrival, you will be met by our driver and guide for sightseeing tour in Baku. Visit Shehidler Khiyabany Memory Alley, from where you can have a great panoramic view of Baku city. Continue touring new Baku and exploring architecture of the 19-20th centuries: Nizami Street, Fountain Square, Nizami Ganjavi monument, Rasul-Zade Street. Pay a visit to Azerbaijan History National Museum and move to the old part of the city – Icheri Sheher. Visit Maiden Tower, Shirvan Shahs’ Palace, Caravanserai, and market square with numerous art studios and souvenir stalls. An excellent round-up to the city tour will be visit to the richest bank of Azeri carpets – National Carpets Museum. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 24: Baku – Absheron Peninsula – Gobustan – Baku
Today you will visit the area of the Greater Baku and Absheron peninsula. Start with Gobustan National Park. Pay a visit to the Petroglyphs Museum and explore petroglyphs dating back to 10,000 BC. Continue to mud volcanoes in Gobustan Reserve. Gobustan is home to almost half of world’s mud volcanoes. Later drive to Ateshgah – temple of fire worshippers located in Surakhany village. Zoroastrians from India travelled thousands of kilometers to Ateshgah to worship fire coming out of the earth. Drive to Yanardag Mountain with natural gas burning for several thousands of years.
Return to Baku. Overnight at hotel.
Day 25: Baku – Lahij – Kish – Sheki
In the morning, depart Baku and drive to Sheki town. On the way, visit Diri Baba mausoleum in Maraza village. Continue to Shamakha and have a sightseeing of historical Juma Mosque, Yeddi Gumbez Mausoleum, and the Shirvan Shah's family grave yard. Drive the Girdimanchay River’s canyon to visit Lahij, the 5th century place rich in its historic and architectural values. Lahij is mostly famous for magnificent ancient mosques and bath-houses. But it is also a place to learn more about medieval water supply and sewage systems, as well as a chance to purchase artifacts such as jewelry, copperware, carpets, pottery, daggers and iron tools in a number of traditional workshops.
Continue driving to Sheki. On the way, visit the first Albanian church in Caucasus in the village Kish dating back to the 1st century AD. Arrival in Sheki for overnight.
Day 26: Sheki – Georgian border – Kvareli – Gremi – Telavi
Check out from hotel and start sightseeing tour in Sheki. Visit Sheki medieval fortress, Sheki Khans Palace, local History Museum, handicrafts workshop, mosque-madrassah, and local bazaar. Depart Sheki and head towards border with Georgia (115 km, ~2 h.). Cross the border, meet your Georgian guide and start exploring the Eastern part of Georgia famous for its viticulture and winemaking traditions.
We will pass through the beautiful landscapes of vineyards and wine-producing villages. First stop will be at unique wine cellar “Khareba” located in the tunnel carved out of the rock. Originally built for military purposes, today the tunnel is used to store Kakheti’s finest wines. Wine tour and wine tasting. Continue to Gremi architectural complex, 16th century royal residence and the capital of Kakheti Kingdom. Then reach Telavi, administrative center of Kakheti region. Have a short drive around the town. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 27: Telavi – Tsinandali – Bodbe – Sighnaghi – Tbilisi
After breakfast, continue exploring Kakheti by visiting Tsinandali, residence of dukes of Georgia, with beautiful English garden, museum, and wine cellar which belonged to prince Chavchavadze, public figure and poet of 19th century. Continue to Bodbe Convent and Sighnaghi Royal Town, one of the crossroads of the Great Silk Road surrounded by defensive walls with 23 towers. In the afternoon, head to Tbilisi for overnight.
Day 28: Tbilisi
In the morning, have sightseeing tour in Tbilisi. Start at Holy Trinity cathedral, one of the largest orthodox cathedrals in the world. Continue to Metekhi church and monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali, the legendary founder of Tbilisi. Take cable car to Narikala Fortress to enjoy breathtaking panoramic view of the city. Walk down to the district of Sulphur bath houses passing by the only mosque in Tbilisi. Stroll through the Sharden area full of narrow streets with cozy cafés, wine tasting bars, souvenir shops, and breathe in the living past. Visit Sioni Cathedral, Anchiskhati Basilica, and the clock tower of famous Rezo Gabriadze Theatre. Cross the Bridge of Peace to Rike Park and head to Open Air Museum of Ethnography, a miniature model of Georgia. In the evening, visit a local restaurant to taste dishes of traditional Georgian cuisine and enjoy folklore show. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Additional meals: dinner
Day 29: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Gori – Uplistsikhe – Tbilisi
After breakfast, drive to Mtskheta, one of the oldest towns and the cultural and religious centre of Georgia. Mtskheta was the capital of the Eastern Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the third century BC. Visit Jvari Church, a true architectural masterpiece of the early Medieval Period overlooking the confluence of Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers from the top of the hill, and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral which may be translated as "The Life-giving pillar". Svetitskhoveli is the main cathedral of Mtskheta and a sacred place where the robe of Christ is being kept. Continue to Gori and visit Stalin Museum. Explore cave town Uplistsikhe dating back to Hellenistic Period and notable for unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures and the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture. Drive back to Tbilisi for overnight.
Day 30: Tbilisi – Armenian border – Dilijan – Lake Sevan – Sevanavank – Yerevan
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Armenian Sadakhlo/Bagratashen border point. Proceed with border formalities. Change guide and driver. Drive through Dilijan and visit Haghartsin monastery. Constructed in 10-13 centuries, the name of this religious complex can be translated from Armenian as games of eagles. Continue along Lake Sevan, “The Jewel of Armenia” and one of the largest high-mountainous fresh water lakes in the world. The coastline of Lake Sevan is rich with thick woods, white bare steep rocks, mountain steppes and Alpine meadows. Stop at Sevanavank to visit the remnants of the monastery that include two temples – Surb Arakelots and Surb Astvatsatsin standing among numerous khachkars. The buildings were constructed from black tuff which probably gave the monastery its name Sevanavank – “the Black Monastery”. The view from there is simply magnificent: the mountains surround lake from all sides and snow tops are seen almost on the entire perimeter and disappear behind horizon. Continue to Noradus, a village famous for its big khachkar cemetery. There are about 900 khachkars of various styles and epochs there. Reach Yerevan for overnight.
Day 31: Yerevan
One of the oldest cities of the world, Yerevan is famous as a pink city and calls visitors with its humble and at the same time splendid landscapes. Start city tour visiting Cascade Monument which was the main symbol of the cities 2780th anniversary with the equivalent number of stairs. Mega scale staircase is 500 meters high and 50 meters wide. A panoramic view from the monument opens up breathtaking city view with Opera House, Mount Ararat, Swan Lake, Republic Square, and posh Northern Avenue around, which you will also walk by during the tour. The next spot is Matenadaran – the Mesrop Mashtots (founder of Armenian alphabet) Institute of Ancient Manuscripts famous for being one of the world’s richest banks of medieval manuscripts with more than 300,000 archive documents.
Continue to the Armenian Genocide memorial complex on the hill of Tsitsernakaberd. An excellent round-up of the tour will be a visit to the Brandy Factory in Yerevan to taste renowned Armenian cognac. The legend says that Noah planted the first vine in the abundant Ararat valley; afterwards winery was pioneered all over the country. In the evening, enjoy dinner and traditional folklore show. Overnight at hotel.
Additional meals: dinner
Day 32: Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Etchmiadzin – Yerevan
Depart Yerevan and drive to Garni, one of the major villages in Armenia famous for its fortress. The fortress is the only pagan sacred place from the 1st century that survived aggressive introduction of Christianity in the 4th century. Next stop is at the monastery complex Geghard (“spear”). A beautiful landscape of Geghard is framed with towering cliffs. Decorative art cut into rocks reflect and explain Medieval Ages development throughout the region. The complex was introduced to the history in the 4th century as a sacred spring inside a cave. Continue to the Holy See of Armenia, Etchmiadzin. VisitEtchmiadzin Cathedral which is the residence of the head of Armenian Apostolic Church the Catholicos of All Armenians. Return to Yerevan for hotel.
Day 33: Yerevan – Khor Virap – Areni – Tatev – Goris
After breakfast at 09:00, head to Khor Virap monastery (“deep pit”). According to the legend, St. Gregory the Illuminator, the Baptist of Armenia, had been kept here in the basement during 13 years for the disseminating of Christianity until tsar Tradt decided to adopt new religion. Monastery location allows you to enjoy the best views of the Mt. Ararat.
Continue to Areni, a city known for producing famous Armenian wine from pomegranate and apricot. Have a wine degustation in a local winery.
Drive to Tatev Monastery (9-13 cent.). Approaching the jewel of medieval Armenian architecture on the longest aerial tramway in the world you will see the monastery, the powerful impregnable stronghold towering on a rock. Such a remote position of it was strategically favorable as the monastery was simultaneously religious and political centre of the region. Standing on the edge of the rock, the monastery takes your breath away: somewhere down below the river flows in the valley and crowded velvet green hills stand in silence…
Arrival in Goris at 18:00, accommodation at hotel.
Day 34: Goris – Noravank – Yerevan
After breakfast at 09:00 check out from the hotel. On the way to Yerevan visiting famous Complex of Noravank, situated on a ledge of a deep winding gorge of a tributary of the Arpa River near the village of Amaghu, Yeghegnadzor District. Noravank ensemble stands amidst the bizarre-shaped precipitous red cliffs. Built in place of an ancient cloister, it grew in the reign of Princes Orbelian of Syunik. In the 13th-14th centuries it became a residence of Syunik's bishops and, consequently, a major religious and later cultural center of Armenia, closely connected with many of the local seats of learning, primarily with Gladzor’s famed university and library.
Arrive in Yerevan, check-in to hotel. Free time. Overnight at hotel.
Day 35: Yerevan – departure
Check-out from hotel till noon. Free time till transfer to Yerevan International Airport. End of the tour.