Tour MTH 07. Navrouz in Uzbekistan

Itinerary:  Tashkent—Urgentch—Khiva—Bukhara—Gijduvan—Samarkand  - Urgut — Tashkent

Tour rate from 660 Euros!

Duration: 10 days / 9 nights
Accommodation: in hotels 2, 3, 4 *

Navrouz (Spring holiday) in Uzbekistan
The most cherished public holiday is Navruz ('new day'), the Central Asian new year that falls on March 21 in Uzbekistan. During this two-day festival of spring renewal, look for singing, dancing, the parading of seven special dishes beginning with's', plus sumalakh (a wheat bran pudding cooked during an overnight party), kurash wrestling by burly pafoans, dorboz tightrope walkers, kopkari horse races and epic poetry recital by wandering bakshi minstrels. Streets and bazaars fill with crowds seeking national dishes and handicrafts, and the festival culminates with a ritual plugging of the first furrow of the year by the most respected aksakal in the village.
Tour Description

DAY 1. Tashkent—Urgench—Khiva
Meeting in the airport. Transfer and accommodation in hotel. Breakfast in hotel. Free time and leisure in hotel. Check-out. Visit of the Museum of Applied Arts (where items of traditional Arts & Crafts both antique and contemporary are displayed). Lunch in local restaurant. Transfer to airport. Flight Tashkent—Urgentch. Arrival to Urgentch, transfer to Khiva and accommodation in hotel. Dinner in hotel. Overnight in Khiva

DAY 2. Khiva
Breakfast in hotel. Visiting Khiva : Ichan Kala: Kunia Ark, Mukkhamed-Amin medresseh, Seyid Alaouddine mausoleum, Pakhlavan-Makhmud mausoleum, Jami Mosque, Tashkaluli Palace, Alla Kuli medresseh. Lunch in one ancient medresse or in hotel with folklore of Khorezm. Proceed the visit of Khiva. Visits of Kurnych Khana, Ak Cheikh Bobo, Mukhammed Rakhim Khan et Islam Khodja medresse. Dinner in Khiva. Overnight in Khiva

DAY 3. Khiva—Bukhara
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer Khiva—Bukhara (470 km). Lunch picnic in desert restaurant. Arrival and accommodation at hotel. Overnight in Bukhara

DAY 4. Bukhara
Excursion over Bukhara: Arc fortress, complex Bolo Khauz, Chashma Ayb, mausoleum of Ismail Samani. O/n at hotel

DAY 5. Bukhara
Breakfast. Continuation of city tour: walking through the old streets, Chor Minor (18th c.). Tour outside the city: Emir's Summer Residence Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa (19th c.), memorial necropoles Chor Bakr (10th c.), visit to the Bahouddin Nakshbandi mausoleum (16-19th c.), to the sepulchers of his mother and his preceptor (14th c.). Dinner with folklore show at Nodir Devon Begi (or in hotel — due to climate conditions). O/n at hotel

DAY 6. Bukhara—Gijduvan—Samarkand
Breakfast in hotel. Continuation of excursion over Bukhara: Sitora-i-Mokhi Khosa Palace — the former residence of Emirs, mosque. Transfer to Gijduvan (40 km from Bukhara) Visit of ceramic workshop. Tourists can see the proves of the ceramic production, assist in the preparation of festive dinner, taste the national uzbek cuisine which prepares only during the Navruz period: “sumalyak”, “khadisa”. Festive lunch in Gijduvan. Drive to Samarkand. O/n at hotel

 DAY 7. Samarkand
Breakfast. City tour: Excavations and museum of the ancient city of Afrosiab, Architectural complex Shakhi-Zindeh (11-15th c.), Mausoleum Guri Emir — Tamerlane's Tomb (14—15th c.), Bibi-Khonum Mosque, market place. Dinner in traditional Uzbek house with folklore concert. Overnight in Samarkand.

DAY 8. Samarkand—Urgut—Samarkand
Breakfast. Coach trip to Urgut (50 km). Participation in Traditional uzbek Games “Kopkari” (Buzkashi/Kupkari/Ulok) and celebration of Navruz (due to climate conditions). Tourist can participate in the Navruz festival. They can see the uzbek national puppet-show, traditional uzbek music, performance of artists and clowns, rope-walkers (due to the climate conditions). HoliDAY lunch with national dish plov. Come back to Samarkand. Dinner in hotel. Overnight in Samarkand.

DAY 9. Samarkand—Tashkent ( 330 km)
Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to the railway station at 10.30 AM. Arrival in Tashkent at 14h40 PM. Lunch panier repas in train. Transfer to the hotel. Visit of local "Broadway". Dinner at restaurant. Overnight in Tashkent.

DAY 10. Tashkent.
Breakfast. Transfer to Tashkent Airport for flight to next destination.

Rates in Euro per person:

10-14 +1 FOC*
Single room Supplement 
Option A ( Hotels 3 - 4*)
Option B  ( Hotels 2-3*)

*1 free of charge in double room for trip leader:

The price of the tour includes:
• Accommodation based on double room sharing at the hotels 3, 4* and B&B, breakfasts included
• Local air flights Urgench –Tashkent
• Train ticket Samarkand – Tashkent
• Full board lunches and dinners including soft drinks per day
• Transportation for the whole period of the tour on comfortable air-conditioned transportation, including all airport, railway station  transfers
• Foreign speaking guide from 3-4 pax for the whole period of the tour.
• Visa support for Uzbekistan
• Entrance tickets to the museums, mausoleums and other sights
• Sightseeing tours in all cities
• Porter charges at airports and hotels

The price of the tour excludes:
• International  flight
• Additional services in the hotels
• Video/Camera fees of museums, monuments (approx 15 USD per person for all cities)
• Luggage in excess of 20 +5 kg,
• Airport taxes
• Insurance
• Visa consular fees
Payment: The cost of the tour can be paid via bank transfer or using other options which can be discussed through communication with us.

Cancellation fees:
• Cancellation prior 30 days – no charges apply
• Cancellation prior 15 days – 50% charge of the tour price
• Cancellation prior 7 days – 100% charge of the tour price

AC sedan “CHEVROLET NEXIA, LACETTI” (Air-conditioned, 1-3 pax)
Minibus “HYUNDAY STAREX” (Air-conditioned, 3-4 pax)
Minibus “ISTANA SSANG YONG” (Air-conditioned, 5-6 pax)
Middle-size bus “TOYOTA HIACE” (Air-conditioned, 7-8 pax)
Middle-size bus “TOYOTA COASTER” (Air-conditioned, 9-14 pax)
Media bus “Yutong” (Air-conditioned, 9-20 pax)

NAVRUZ Holiday
Navruz is the most ancient and favorite national holiday of our nation we are waiting with impatience. It is not just a date in a calendar. The 21st of March is the day of spring equinox, the beginning of a New Year. It was known in ancient times, as celebrating the holiday people organized mass festivities. For example, Navruz celebrations are mentioned in the literature monuments of the past along with ancient customs and traditions. There are much information on this holiday in historical sources, works of scientists and thinkers as Beruniy, Kashgariy, Rabguziy, Omar Khayyam and others. According to the old men, in the past the preparations would start long before the holiday. It was snowing and the wind was blowing, but every family waited for the spring, sewing national costumes. The last night before the holiday was the most important and exciting. Everywhere one could hear the ringing of beads and bracelets. Girls plaited their hair, made up eyebrows with usma and penciled eyes with dye. Everyone would wait for the sunrise. As soon as it began to dawn, the gate were opened wide and people went outdoors. Everywhere one could hear the rejoicing sounds of karnays and sunrays as the boisterous doira set the pitch. The central festival venue was especially decorated; usually it was in the open air. There were hearths of coppers where the pilaf and other traditional meals were cooked. The holiday was flaring up and the dances of young girls to dutar and tambourine became more and more exciting. It was the kind of contest, a hot and inspired contest: the talent resisted the talent, the beauty opposed the beauty. In this spring day all the best appears before the thousands of eyes. The preparation to the celebration of Navruz that united people of more than 100 nationalities living in Uzbekistan was the illustrative evidence.There are trading fairs, holiday meals prepared. And traditional sumalak in nice bowls is always the major adornment of the holiday table. The love for Navruz helped save the richest heritage of its splendid traditions and customs. By the way, the preparation of sumalak, a meal cooked at the firewood from flour and germinated seed of wheat, remains the central tradition of Navruz. The germinated seed is a symbol of life, warmness, prosperity and good health. As a rule, sumalak is cooked by all the mahalla with the songs and cheerful couplets. It is believed that this meal endues people with the physical and spiritual forces, and the more people taste it, the richer will be the mahalla in the next year. This tradition that came from the ancient days even today unites people and gives them the brightest impression of holiday. The nature meets the morning of a year, when everything awaits its full blow. People also wait for the spring. That’s why this time found its reflection in the folklore, poetry, prose, painting and music. The celebration of Navruz has its particularities in every nation. But wherever it is celebrated, it carries the valuable qualities inherent in our nation – the kindness and clemency.

Buzkashi, which literally means ‘goat fetching,’ is a traditional horse game of the steppe nomads in Central Asia. It has been played since the epoch of Genghis Khan, the 13th-century ruler of the Mongol Empire, and variations of the game are popular in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, northern northern Pakistan and Kazakhstan, as well as in Uzbekistan, where, having first found followers in rural villages, it is today a celebrated national sport. Buzkashi competition is fierce. It’s the kind of sport that requires dexterity, courage and force from the athletes, while also presenting a fantastic and fascinating show for spectators. Horsemen can compete in groups and divide the prize among each other. The prizes can be a TV, a carpet, national overcoat, a cattle or some amount of money. The object of Buzkashi is for one horseman, called the chovandoz, to carry a boz, or goat carcass, from the centre of a circle painted on the ground to a designated safe zone – another circle called the hallal, or ‘circle of justice.’ He must avoid losing the boz to any of a group of opponents along the way. What exactly is a boz? A few days before the game, a goat is beheaded. Its carcass is then soaked in cold water and sometimes salted, making it strong and heavy. The result is the cured trunk of a goat that weighs between 60 and 90 kilograms; merely lifting this boz from the ground and carrying the weight is a true feat of strength for the chovandoz. The curing process is necessary so that the boz survives the athletes’ rough handling. The rules of Buzkashi are rather simple. Without dismounting, a horseman must lift the boz from the centre of the painted circle and head toward the hallal goal zone. Meanwhile the other riders use both strength and strategy to attempt to steal the trophy boz. It is against the rules to tie the goat to the saddle, hit the rival’s hands in order to knock the goat carcass loose or use rope to unsaddle other riders. That’s why being a chovandoz is not easy – it requires pure sportsmanship: no cheap shots allowed. Despite the simplicity of the rules, Buzkashi is difficult and extremely technical. The riders need many years of long and persistent training. It is no coincidence that the most skilled chovandoz are in their 40s. Similarly intense training is necessary for the horses; generally they are prepared for no less than five years with special nutrition and care, and the value of prize Buzkashi horses is measured in thousands of dollars. Horses bred for Buzkashi all have particular characteristics and not just any horse can train to become a champion. For example, if a chovandoz falls during the game, the horse knows to stop in the dust cloud and wait for him.

How to Watch a Buzkashi Match?
If you’re planning on visiting Central Asia, be sure to catch a game of Buzkashi. The games are held throughout the year, usually for special occasions such as weddings and births. In Uzbekistan, there is an annual game every 21st of March. It’s the biggest competition, held during the celebration of Navruz, when local Uzbekistanis from all over the country (as well as foreigners and tourists) flock to Urgut, an area situated just 50 kilometres from Samarkand with one aim – watching this extraordinary, exciting and noble game of nomads.

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