Whole Asia in 25 days!

    

Best time: April-May / September-October
Activity: cultural-educational program
Duration: 25 days

Days
 
Program
 
Accommodation
 
Meals
 
Day 1 Arrive to Istanbul and connection flight to Tbilisi. Hotel B/L/D 
Day 2  City tour around Tbilisi.  Hotel B/L/D  
Day 3  Drive to Gyumri. City tour. Drive to Yerevan.  Hotel B/L/D  
Day 4  City tour around Yerevan Hotel B/L/D  
Day 5  Going back to Tbilisi. Tour to Mtskheta. Hotel B/L/D  
Day 6 Going to Azerbaijan to Sheki. Hotel B/L/D  
Day 7 Drive to Baku. Stop at the town Shemakha.  Hotel B/L/D  
Day 8  City tour in Baku. Evening flight to Ashgabat. Hotel B/L/D
Day 9 City tour in Ashgabat. Hotel B/L/D 
Day 10 Morning flight to Mary. Excursion to Merv. Hotel B/L/D 
Day 11 Drive to Bukhara. Hotel B/L/D
Day 12 City tour in Bukhara. Hotel B/L/D
Day 13 Tour to the summer residence of Bukhar Emirs. Drive to Samarkand.  Hotel B/L/D
Day 14 City tour in Samarkand. Hotel  B/L/D
Day 15 Continue of city tour in the morning and then drive to Tashkent. Hotel B/L/D 
Day 16 City tour in Tashkent. Hotel B/L/D 
Day 17 Morning flight to Bishkek. Drive to Cholpon-Ata. Hotel B/L/D  
Day 18 Grigorievskoe gorge and drive back to Bishkek. Evening city tour. Hotel B/L/D  
Day 19 Drive to Almaty. City tour. Hotel B/L/D  
Day 20 Shopping day in Almaty. Hotel B/L/D  
Day 21 Drive to to Khorgos border and further to Yili town. Hotel B/L/D  
Day 22 Long drive to Urumqi (about 700 km)  Hotel B/L/D
Day 23 City tour in Urumqi. Hotel B/L/D 
Day 24 Drive to Turpan (200 km) . City tour. Hotel B/L/D 
Day 25 Visit of Jiaohe settlement. Evening transfer to airport. End of program.  --------- B/-/-

Best time: April-May / September-October
Activity: Historical-educational, cultural program
Duration: 25 days

 

Day 1. This day you arrive to Istanbul and go to the connection flight with Tbilisi. Upon Arrival to Tbilisi you will be transferred to the hotel. 

Day 2. This day you will have a city tour around Tbilisi. Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia which was founded in the V cintury by King Gorgasali on the mineral-water springs site. Back in time it was one of the most important cultural, political and economic centers on the Great Silk Road going from China to Rome. Today we will see the old town of Tbilisi which has such places for us to see as a Zoroastrian temple, a synagogue and Georgian Orthodox, Armenian Gregorian and Roman Catholic churches. Here you don’t know the exact origin either you are in the East or West, either it’s Europe or Asia, it’s a great mixture of modern style with crowded narrow streets and busy open markets with color people’s outwear.  

We will see: Peace Bridge, Metekhi Church, Synagogue, District of Sulphur Bathes, Anchsikhati Basilica, Sharden Street, Meidan Square, Sioni Cathedral and Narikala Fortress in the old part of the town and after lunch we will continue our tour going to Rustaveli Avenue and walking through Freedom Square. If we have tome we will definitely enter the State Museum of Georgia featuring Treasury.

Overnight in the hotel. 

Day 3. This day we will be transferred to the border with Armenia. After crossing the border and solving all the formalities we will head to Gyumri. Here we will have lunch and go on a little city tour. We will have an amazing opportunity to discover the 18th-19th century unique and indigenous architecture. Our tour in this city will help you to discover more of the historic flavor of Gyumri town and the lifestyle of its people. We will get acquainted with the significant religious structures of the city, see the local Monasteries of Hovanavank  and Saghmosavank.

After the excursion we will drive to Yerevan where we will have our night in the hotel.

Day 4. This day will be devoted to the city tour around Yerevan. Yerevan is one of the most ancient cities in the world and nowadays is the capital of Armenia. Today we will see the most important buildings and places in the town, will try to understand the moods and colors of it. We will visit: Erebuni Fortress, Saryan Park, The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, Matenadaran (the center of saving old documents which has the greatest collection of Armenian manuscripts), we will enter the Yerevan Brandy Factory. In the evening we will walk in the center of Yerevan and see the Cascade, Opera, Northern Prospect, Republic Square and will participate in the show of the singing fountains.

Overnight in the hotel. 

Day 5. This day we will go back to Tbilisi. We will cross the border as done earlier and go straight to the capital of Georgia. From there we will go to Mtskheta which is being one of the oldest cities in Georgia located only 20 km from Tbilisi. The "Historical Monuments of Mtskheta" became a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its historical significance. As the birthplace and one of the most vibrant centers of Christianity in Georgia, Mtskheta was declared as the "Holy City" by the Georgian Orthodox.

After the excursion coming back to the capital. Overnight in the hotel.

Day 6. In the morning we will get over the border with Azerbaijan and further to the Sheki which is called an “architectural reserve”. Sheki is located in the picturesque hills of Caucasus Mountains and being an interesting, original and beautiful city.  Today we will seу the Palace of Sheki Khans which doesn’t have any analogues in the interior decoration where you won’t find a single nail.

We will also go to the north from the town where we will see the ruins of once being mighty fortress “Gelersan – Gerarsan” which guarded the town for a long time.

Overnight in the hotel in Sheki. 

Day 7. This day we will drive to Baku. But going along the road we will stop at the town called Shemakha. This is one of the most ancient oriental trading cities. Local legend claims that the first French vines came from Shemakha and the wine tradition is quite old. The area has its own grape variety (Matrassa) which is used for dry red wines. In Shamakha we will visit a two-storied Deri Baba mausoleum built in15th century, Djuma mosque, Seven Domes mausoleum, Gulustan fortress and the ruins of ancient city "Sheher Gah". In the city there is a number of workshops where you can purchase different kinds of artefacts.

About 20 minutes drive from Shemakha and we will be in the Tusi astronomic observatory named after the 13-th century Azeri astronomer and which has the biggest mirror telescope in the CIS. We will definitely have an excursion around here.

Drive to Baku and overnight in the hotel. 

Day 8. This day we will begin with the excursion in Old Town - "Icheri Sheher". Visit of Dzhuma Mosque, see the Palace of the Shirvans (dating to the middle of XV century); the Maiden's Tower (according to the latest researches it is being the largest Zoroastrian temple in the world) and the Carpet Museum.

After lunch we continue the tour: Will see Martyr's Cemetery, located on the higher slopes of the city's west-end. Here is also the best place for viewing the city and the Bay of Baku. We will walk in Naberezhny park and along Baku Boulevard. On Boulevard we will take a boat and make a trip along Baku Bay.

Evening flight to Ashgabat  the capital and the largest city of Turkmenistan which is translated as the "city of love". Upon arrival transfer to the hotel. Overnight. 

Day 9. Ashgabat   is located in the extensive oasis at the foothills of Kopet-Dagh, on the very edge of the desert. Not many people know that in 1948 Ashgabat was completely wiped off by the earthquake which took the lives of about 110 thousand people and it needed a long time to reconstruct all the damage, but today you won’t get even a sign of that tragedy, nowadays Ashgabat is a modern city with wide  and light streets and avenues. The main sights which we are going to see are: Arch of Neutrality with the gold statue of Turkmenbashi? the Presidential Palace, the complex of Academy of Sciences, the Academic Theater of drama, Mekan Palace, the orthodox church of Aleksandr Nevskiy (XIX century) and Ertogrulgazy mosque the largest mosque in the country with the enormous dome and 4 minarets.

Interesting place is the Sunday market “Tolkuchka” which represents all the colors of Turkmen traditions with a huge variety of goods. It stretches along the desert outside the town for several kilometers and is mostly known for Turkmen carpets which are brought to here from all the remote places of the country. If we have time we will visit the museum of carpets which doesn’t have any analogues in the CIS countries; this museum has the biggest carpet in the world and the carpet of XVII century.

Overnight in the hotel. 

Day 10. Morning flight to Mary located in the oasis of the Karakum desert.

This day we will devote to the sightseeing of the ancient Merv. Despite the absence of origin facts of this town the first written references can be found in Avesta VIII-VI c BC.  The ruins include more than five ancient settlements:  Sultan-Kala, Erk-Kala, Gyaur-Kala, Bayram-Aly-Khan-Kala and Abdulla-Khan-Kala surrounded by wall and ruins of other fortification constructions. Majority was destroyed and only hills remained. But Merv still remains to be one of the most unique historical monuments. It is introduced into the list of UNESCO world heritage as the most well preserved ancient center of the Great Silk Road.

Coming back to Mary. Overnight in the hotel. 

Day 11. Today we will head to Bukhara. First we will stop at Turkmenabad for having lunch and then continue our way to the border. We will get over all the border formalities and drive to Bukhara where we will stay for the night at the hotel. 

Day 12. Bukhara is the real pearl of Central Asia, the sacred Muslim town which carefully saved its monuments, the beauty of small ancient streets and the romance of centuries-old houses and walls. Today we will walk around Lyabi-Haus square. The oldest part of this complex is Kulbaba-Kukeldash Madrasah which counts 160 cells and is the biggest in Bukhara. Nadira Devanbegi Madrasah was built by Nadir-Devanbegi  which logically ended the Lyabi-Haus ensemble. The ancient Magoki-Attori mosque is located not far from the Lyabi-Haus ensemble and is built in best traditions of figure masonry made from polished bricks and carved majolica archaic ornaments. You are going to visit the trading domes  of Bukhara market that are still there from the times of the Great Silk Road; here you will have a chance to get some presents and souvenirs made by local artisans and craftsmen. Then the Poi-Kalyan complex will come to your view in which there are Kalyan mosque, Mir-i-Bab Madrasah and the famous Kalyan minaret (with the height of 49 m) – it has miraculously survived all the wars and invasions.

Overnight in the hotel.

Day 13. Today you will enjoy the tour to the country summer residence of Bukhar Emirs – “Sitora-I-Mihisosa”. Inspite of the palace being built less than hundred years ago and the architecture being influenced by European traditions, only here you may get the idea of Bukhar palace interior, the structure and mode of life of Royal court. After the excursion you will get back to Bukhara and after lunch will be transferred to Samarkand - the motherland of many known Eastern poets, sages and scientists. The road to Samarkand will take us about 5 hours and the town from afar will meet you with its famous blue domes!

Overnight in the hotel in Samarkand. 

Day 14. Samarkand is one of the most famous Central Asian pearl and one of the main towns on the way of Great Silk Road. It’s going to be a fascinating trip to a real once called by philosophers and poets the “Eden of East”. The survey will start from Central Square “Registan” which means “Sand Place”. Registan Complex is an ensemble of three magnificent buildings, being the studying institutions: Ulugbek Madrasah, Sher-Dor Madrasah and Tillya-Kari Madrasah the facades of which are faced to the central square and though they were built in different times and epochs they still harmoniously complement each other. You will visit the Amir-Temur shrine called "Gur-Emir" only the central construction of which has persisted till our times. Inside of the complex the black jade tomb of Timur will rise in front of you, but the real burial is in the basement of this complex.

Overnight in the hotel. 

Day 15. This morning you will be taken to Bibi-Hanum mosque that was built in 1399-1404 by order of Timur after his Triumphal return from Indian campaign. The mosque was built in a very short period of time – 5 years in honor of his beloved wife Sarap-Mulyk-Hanym. Afterwards there is a visit of local market – Siab and Complex Shakhi-Zinda – the only Samarkand monument in which the 25 centuries’ history of ancient town is reflected. It is an ensemble of shrine rows of Samarkand nobles that as the time went by were built one nearby another like the turquoise beads of an expensive necklace put one to another. The logic end of the Samarkand excursion is going to be a visit of Ulugbek Observatory which is the most significant middle age astronomic institution. After that we will drive to Tashkent.

Upon arrival we will be accommodated in the hotel. Overnight. 

Day 16. Today you will see Tashkent, its modern beauty and majesty. Tashkent is one of the oldest towns in Central Asia and is the capital of Uzbekistan. It has to be mentioned that Tashkent is divided into two parts – Old and New towns. These names speak for themselves – Old town consists of Madrasah, mausoleums and the real eastern market, so to say the monuments of the past times, but in the New town there are green parks, squares, monuments and modern buildings. These two original places exist at the same time and don’t disturb each other, more than that they fulfill one the other. Excursion around Tashkent includes:

Old town: Madrasah Barak-Khan – great monument of 16th century located in the very heart of Old town on the Khast-Imom square encircled by old adobe houses. Here is the rich library of eastern manuscripts and in the special hall the famous Osman’s Koran is preserved which was written in VII century and is the primary source of the holy book of Islam - Koran. Mausoleum of Yunus-Khan (XV c) – a monumental structure built in XV century in honor of one of the Tashkent’s rulers. Mausoleum of Kafal-al-Shashi Mazar (XVI c), Kafal-Al-Shashi was a missioner preached shafiitizm. He was a poet-mystic. Died in 10th century and his tomb built in 16th century became a popular place for muslim pilgrims.  Kukeldash Madrasah (XVI c) is located not far from eastern market Chor-Su and up to today is working madrasah where the students live and study.

New town: Handicrafts museum. The Independence Square – the main square of the country located in the middle of the town. You may have a 15 minute walk from the Indipendance Square to the building of Uzbek National Opera and Ballet Theater. Further to Istiklol Square – the second biggest square of the town. The concert Hall is also located here which invites domestic as well as foreign variety art representatives.
Overnight in the hotel in Tashkent. 

Day 17. Morning flight to Bishkek is going to wait for us.

Upon arrival we will get to the town where we will have little rest and after lunch we will drive to Cholpon-Ata – the town which is located on the shores of one of the most beautiful lakes in Kyrgyzstan – Issyk-Kul lake. On the way we will visit the historical-architectural complex of Burana Tower. Burana tower (minaret) is located on the territory of an ancient settlement 90km far from Bishkek. The historians and archeologists proved that the settlement was once the capital of Karakhanid Khanate and was called Balasagun founded in 10th century AC. Burana tower is the central monument of this complex.

Upon arrival to Cholpon-Ata we will visit Cholpon-Ata petrogliphs (stone inscriptions) left on the stones by ancient artists. We will also visit the historical museum and cultural-architectural complex Ruh-Ordo.

Overnight in the hotel. 

Day 18. In the morning after having breakfast we will go to Grigorievskoe gorge and have a hike to the mountain lake. After having picnic on the shores of the lake we will head back to Bishkek where we will have a city tour.

Bishkek is the capital of Kyrgyzstan and the biggest town in the country. There are many places to see in the town. You will visit the Historical museum and the private ethnographic museum “Raritet”. In the center there are Opera and Ballet Theater, Russian and Kyrgyz drama theater, National Philharmonic and Government building which saved the atmosphere of Soviet times. Along with them you will see the modern Kyrgyz architecture, such as: Manas monument, Courage monument, different monuments for akyns (poets), manaschy (people who told the legend about Manas) and the local rulers of different times. What is really interesting is that Bishkek is the only town in Central Asia which still has the monument of Lenin on the central square.

The town is known as one of the most ecological towns in the world, due to lots of green parks saving the shadow and coolness even in the hottest summer day.

Dinner, overnight in the hotel.

Day 19. This day we will go to Almaty. The road takes about 5 hours. After crossing the border we will drive into Kazakhstan. We will visit “Medeo” valley (25 km). From Medeo we can rise on the cable way up to "Shymbulak". Cable way "Medeo" is on the third place among Cable way in the world in its length. From the top we will see the mountains Zailiyskiy Alatau with tops of Abay (4010m), Komsomol (4376m), Shkolnik (3590m) and Chkalova (3892m). Our cabin will float above a dam.

Coming back to Almaty we will visit to the 28 Panfilov’s guardsmen park, the Cathedral church, Muslim mosque and the museum of national musical instruments.

Overnight in the hotel.

Day 20. This will be our shopping day as we will go to TSUM Mall, Mega Shopping center and Green Bazaar.

Overnight in the hotel in Almaty. 

Day 21. This is the day we will go to the next country – China. The road to Khorgos is quite long (350 km). After crossing the border we drive to Yili where we will spend the night.

Overnight in the hotel. 

Day 22. This day we will have a long drive to Urumqi (about 700 km) the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China which will take whole our day.

Coming to the city and overnight in the hotel. 

Day 23. Today we will go and explore Urumqi and its attractions. Urumqi is the city which raises a great interest in each of its guests. The acquaintance with this town strikes at first sight. Glass and concrete skyscrapers here neighbor with almost destroyed slums, every place here is full of life, and trade. After our exploring of the town we will go to a big market in Urumqi where you will be able to get a lot of different interesting products including the traditional Uighur silk and Chinese cotton, different types of nuts and dried fruits, herbs, essential oils ...
Overnight in the hotel in Urumqi.

Day 24. Drive to Turpan (200 km) in the morning. The geographical contrasts on the territory of Turpan basin are considered to be the most record on Earth. Turpan basin is the second deepest in Asia (and in the world) after the Dead Sea. The basin lies 130 m (plus-minus 30 m) lower than the sea level. It was a geographical furor, even the boldest geography theorists did not anticipate that, among the highest mountains of the world there may be such a lowering. Here we will visit a picturesque ancient settlement Tuek as well as the amazing caves with the name of Caves of a Thousand Buddhas “Baytszykelike”. Here they will tell us about the history of Buddhism spreading in Turpan. The surprise is waiting for us in Turpan, we will visit a hospitable Uighur family which will acquaint us with their unique customs and traditions, and will prepare for us their national Uighur dishes. 
Turpan is also known for its grapes as all the way of life of local people is connected with this fruit. The grapes are grown here for more than 2000 years. Even the main street of the Turpan is the Grape alley. And the drive ways and the sidewalks on both sides of them are like green tunnels. This vineyard goes for many kilometers. And of course we have to mention that the main feature of local architecture is the two-story adobe buildings with tracery laid out on the second floor. These are dryers where the collected grapes are hanged on special wooden hangers. All the further work is done by hot and dry air. Ready raisins are falling down themselves to the smooth clay floor. The only thing left is to sweep them from the floor and put them in the bags. These famous green raisins from Turpan can be found in any market throughout China and beyond.

Overnight in the hotel

Day 25. In the morning we will visit Jiaohe settlement - the former capital of the once prosperous nation South Cheshi. This greatly preserved clay town fascinates by its measures, age, which is more than three thousand years, and a very mysterious kind. In the twilight of day it is so quiet here that, they say, one hear the terrible horse clatter - an echo, which is still carefully preserved by the unbroken walls of the ancient city.

After lunch we will be transferred back to Urumqi for our flight home. End of the program.

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