Uzbekistan Navruz - New Year Festival Tour With Zulya Rajabova

Duration of this Trip 10 Days Priced From $4,120 per person

Navruz is one of the most important holidays on the Uzbek calendar signaling the start of spring and the beginning of the New Year. It's an incredible mix of Persian Zoroastrian tradition and Uzbek culture. Join Bukhara native Zulya Rajabova to explore Uzbekistan's soaring minarets, sprawling bazaars, and majestic mosques at the height of the celebratory season, enjoying round-the-clock Navruz festivities. This is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in an incredible land of hospitality. So grab some sumalak, don your doppi and sit down with a local Uzbek family to bring in the New Year like never before!

Here in the West, we associate New Years with winter, but ancient civilizations in Central Asia felt that the New Year actually began with the earth's renewal in Spring, when flowers start to bloom and the grape arbors are in leaf. Special feasts mark this holiday, and an infectious spirit of gratitude and affirmation spreads itself to all corners of Uzbekistan. What better time to visit the fabulous legendary cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand? Explore gems of medieval Islamic architecture, artisan workshops and fascinating traditional marketplaces. Visit with an Uzbek family to enjoy sumalak, a special grain pudding whose dark sweetness comes from long, slow cooking. Enjoy the holiday traditions and prepare to shop, sightsee, and party - Uzbek style!

The nine-day tour begins in Uzbekistan’s cosmopolitan capital city of Tashkent. Travelers will visit historic sites in the Old City and the huge Chorsu market where just about anything - from hand carved cradles and Koran holders to fine silks and wedding costumes --and much more-- can be found while inside the dome the business of food takes precedence.

The next day, fly to the walled fairytale city of Khiva, one of the prime stops on the Silk Road. Wander down its many side streets and soak up its history, its palaces, caravanserais and mosques, and end the day with a relaxed dinner on a terrace to watch the sunset spread over adobe rooftops, soaring minarets, and turquoise domes and catch the stars in the desert sky. The next stop:  Bukhara! Take the high-speed train between destinations or a leisurely sightseeing drive, stopping en route in the vast Kyzyl Kum desert, still home to nomads and yurt encampments.

In Bukhara travelers visit the heart of the old city: the 17th century Labi Haus complex. Historic buildings, and shady mulberry trees surround the pond here. A statue of the traditional humorist Khodja Nasriddin is here. He was part sage/part gadfly, and his stories are known throughout the Muslim world. A visit to the extensive domed markets is a must, to choose from a dizzying display of handicrafts including colorful ikat fabrics, ornate embroidery, ceramics, jewelry and metal work. It's in Bukhara that the festivities for Navruz will reach its peak. The city becomes a carnival for everyone, with dancing, singing, games, performances and street art... and of course, feasting.

The road to Samarkand is dotted with stops along the way at smaller towns and villages. The city itself never disappoints, even Alexander the Great was overwhelmed. Stately Registan Square continues to be the center of life here. The turquoise dome on the tomb of Emir Timur belies the splendor within, the ornate, tile-encrusted necropolis of Shah-I-Zinda once led to the city gates and the Bibi Hanum Complex was perhaps the most ambitious piece of religious architecture in Central Asia in its day. A spree of buying and bargaining or exploration of more of the sites here (don't forget to try the Samarkand plov) before you return to Tashkent via high-speed train.

Most Navruz trips are led by our own Uzbekistan native: award winning Conde Nast Travel expert Zulya Rajabova

At a Glance

Duration

10 Days

Priced From

$4,120 per person

Departures

 

March 15-24, 2022


Itinerary

Days 1-2: Arrive in the capital city Tashkent
Day 3: Tashkent-Khiva
Day 4: Khiva-Bukhara
Days 5-6: Bukhara
Day 7: Bukhara-Samarkand
Day 8: Samarkand
Fay 9: Samarkand-Tashkent
Day 10: Departure

Day 1-2 Tashkent

Arrival in Tashkent International Airport. You will be met by your personal guide and driver and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation.
Tashkent is cultural and economic center of Uzbekistan. Today we'll discover the Old City: Hast Imam Complex which consists of Medreseh Barakkhan, Friday Mosque Tello Shayh and the Mausoleum of Kaffal Shashi. Later we will visit the fascinating, 3,000 year old Chorsu Bazaar and then explore Independence Square.

Day 3 Tashkent-Khiva

Morning transfer to the airport for a flight to Urgench /Khiva. Explore the Ichan – Kala (The Inner City), with its palaces, mosques, medressahs, and caravansarais-traditional inns for merchants and caravans. Unique fortification have survived intact in this magnificent city: the Ata –Darvaza, the majestic blue-tiled Kalta Minar,Tower,  Mohammad Aminkhan and Khodja Islam Medresehs, the Kunya Ark (Ancient Citadel), Tash Hauli Palace (Stone yard, with view of the palace's harem), and the Juma mosque with 200 uniquely carved wooden pillars. Dinner. Panoramic view of Khiva in moonlight.

Day 4  Khiva-Bukhara

Sightseeing drive to Bukhara, one of the most ancient cities of Uzbekistan. Stop by a yurt camp in the Kizilkum desert to explore nomadic life. Late afternoon arrival in Bukhara.
Bukhara is one of the most ancient and incredible cities in the world, listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Touring the city includes: the Labi Khaus Complex around the reflecting pool,and the Nadir Divan Begi Khanaka (old hotel for merchants). The Labi Khaus pond dates from the 17th century when it was the principal source of water. Enjoy tea in an ancient chaikhana (tea house) near the sculpture of humorist Khodga Nasriddin. We'll see the medieval architecture of the Magoki Attari Mosque, Poi–Kalon Complex with its legendary minaret, Mosque Kalon and the Miri Arab Medreseh, plus the extensive trade domes and markets of the old bazaar.

Day 5 - 6 Bukhara 

The festival celebrations start with traditional games, music and drama performances, street art, colourful fairs, joyful traditional dances, activities for children and adults, lavishly set tables with the most savory festive dishes, including a ritual meal sumulyak -a wheat bran pudding cooked exclusively for Navruz celebrations and thus available for tasting only once a year. The celebrations are marked with lots of merry partying and social visiting, with music, singing, and laughter to be heard late into the night.
One popular saying goes: "He who celebrates and has fun on the day of Navruz will spend his life cheerfully until the next Novruz celebration". We'll certainly do our best!

Day 7 Bukhara – Samarkand

Today we will find our own Golden Road to Samarkand through the Silk Road Villages and ancient towns in Uzbekistan. We'll stop at Vabkent to visit the minaret and mosque, and then at Gijduvan, the ceramics center of the region to enjoy lunch and Uzbek hospitality. We'll arrive in Samarkand in the early evening.

We travel not for trafficking alone;
By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
For lust of knowing what should not be known
We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.
James Elroy Flecker

Day 8 Samarkand

Enjoy a full day exploration of ancient Samarkand. Sightseeing tour to Registan Square, the main attraction of Samarkand and an impressive place for holding the world's finest traditional and modern music festivals and celebrations. The Shah i Zinda Ensemble, an ancient necropolis, is a true museum of tiles under an open sky. The Bibi Khanum Complex is the largest historic mosque in Central Asia. The splendid decoration of the Guri Emir Mausoleum was meant to reflect the policies of the Timurid dynasty. Special visit to one of the oldest wineries of Uzbekistan. Dinner.

Day 9 Samarkand- Tashkent

Explore Samarkand handicraft centers and exotic bazaars, the Khodja Ahror Vali complex and Al Bukhari Mausoleum, located just outside of Samarkand. Fast train to Tashkent.

Day 10  Tashkent

Early morning departure from Tashkent International airport

Land Tour Costs

From $4,120 for 6-10 travelers

Single Supplement

$630

Scheduled Departures

 

March 15-24, 2022

Trip Highlights

  • Experience the springtime foods and festivities of the Uzbek New Year, Navruz with your Zulya Rajabova, a native of Uzbekistan!
  • Visit with an Uzbek family, and savor the holiday treat of Sumulyak.
  • Enjoy this 3000 year old ritual, and prepare to shop for handicrafts, sightsee, and party, Uzbek style!
  • Visit ancient madrasas, stand next to soaring minarets, and enjoy a fantastic folk show as you discover Uzbek culture!

Visited Countries

Uzbekistan

Visited Cities & Places

Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva

Suggested Extensions

Treasures of Turkey

Reading Lists

  • Calum Macleod, Bradley Mayhew "Golden Road To Samarkand"
  • Lonely Planet Central Asia (2014)
  • Frances Wood "The Silk Road, Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia"
  • Peter Hopkirk "The Great Game"
  • Colin Thubron "The Lost Heart of Asia"

What's Included

  • Visa support
  • Local air tickets from Tashkent to Khiva
  • Ground Transportation and Fast train
  • English-speaking guide/escort
  • Hotel accommodation in double room
  • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
  • Entrance fees to museums and monuments
  • Wine tasting
  • Pre Departure Travel Packages along with Welcome Silk Road Gifts

What's Not Included

  • International Flights
  • Charges in hotels for additional services
  • Consular fee

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Scheduled Departures

 

March 15-24, 2022

Land Tour Costs

From $4,120 for 6-10 travelers

Single Supplement

$630