Tour MTH 09. Silk and Spices of Bukhara

Silk and Spices of Bukhara

The Festival "Silk and Spices" of Bukhara will take place from 26 to 28th of May 2017

Periods: May
Accommodation: Hotels 2,3*
Group: 2 - 12 persons

Mysterious caravan route and ancient vay of communication of peoples, the Silk Road continues to hide its secrets ... For several millennium, spices from India, and costly silk, who’s secret was jealously guarded during several centuries by Chinese emperors, delight the eyes of all of us. Even if tens of centuries have passed, history respects the value of silk and traditional knowledge workshops Uzbek silk. At the heart of the desert between the red sand dunes, one of the real emerald of the Silk Road survives: the city Bukhara. This pearl is ready to dazzle the eyes of travelers for three beautiful days of summer, thanks to the festival Silk and Spice, where you can discover the legendary city of Bukhara, and the phenomenal beauty of the East. It is a festival of handicrafts where will be shown the masterpieces of the best professionals from all over the country. Also, thanks to folklore groups, theater companies and musical performances, the city will be bathed in a festive atmosphere that will prevail you. During these few days, the beauty of the mosaics, minarets and joyful music will harmonize with the mood of spring. We invite you to come see the festival, which will leave on you unforgettable memory of the bright color of silk and subtle taste of spices.

Price :
2 - 3 pax: 897 €/pers
4 - 9 pax: 798 €/pers
10 - 12 pax: 734 €/pers
The price includes:
• Transportation on comfortable air-conditioned transportation, including all airport transfers;
• Accommodation based on double room sharing at the hotels 2, 3* and B&B, breakfasts included;
• Full board lunches and dinners including dinners-spectacle;
• Local English speaking guide from 3-4 pax;
• Sightseeing tours in all cities according to programme;
• Participation at festival;
• Entrance tickets to the museums, mausoleums and other sights.

The price doesn’t include:
• 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;
• Additional room payment Single: 95€
• Visa consular fees;

Day 1: Arrival to Tashkent
Early morning arrival to Tashkent - the capital of Uzbekistan. Transfer to the hotel and accommodation. Breakfast in the hotel. Rest after a long flight. Lunch in  the city. Afternoon city tour with local guide: Old part of the city: the architectural complex "Khazret-Imam" City tour: Barak-Khan Madrasah (16th c.), The Kaffal-Shashi mausoleum (15th c.), Kukeldash Madrasah (16th c.), the Juma mosque (9th c.), Chorsu gigantesque oriental bazaar on the right of the square Chorsu. O/n at hotel.

Day 2: Tashkent - Urgench - Khiva
Early breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to airport. Departure to Urgench on flight HY1051 at 07:00. 08:40 arrival in Urgench - the administrative centre of the Khorezm region. Transfer to Khiva - the only "Museum under the open sky" in Central Asia that has been completely preserved up to the present day (35 km, 30 min). Accommodation in a hotel, located inside or nearby Ichan-Qala - the historical center of Khiva which has been inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List. City tour around the architectural complex "Ichan-Qala" (12-19th cc.): Kunya-Ark khan's castle - the inner citadel of Ichan-Qala (16-17th cc.), Kalta Minor Tower (Short minaret) that would have become the biggest and tallest minaret in Central Asia (19th c.), Muhammad Amin-Khan - the biggest  medieval medressa in Khiva (1845-1855 yy.), Djuma Mosque with 220 wooden columns and a minaret 32,5 m height (10th c.). Lunch at local restaurant. Following tour of Khiva :Tash-Hauli (Stone courtyard) palace looking like a fortress with a high battlements, towers and fortified gates (19th c.), Ak-Mosque (White Mosque) - a small quarter mosque by the  gates of Palvan-Darvaza (1838-1842), necropolis of Pahlavan Mahmud - the cultic center of Ichan-Qala (1810-1913 yy.), residence of Islam Khodja (1910 y.) - the vizier of the last khan. Ensemble consists of the smallest medressa in Khiva and a minaret whose top platform has a height of 45 m and is the highest observation point in town. O/n at hotel.

Day 3: Khiva – Bukhara
Breakfast. Starting drive to Bukhara (480 km, 8 hrs) through the Kyzyl-Kum desert along the course of the Amudarya River to Khiva. You’ll make a short stop at the sight of Amudarya (Oxus River) for a picnic. (We do recommend purchasing a lunch box in one of the Khiva cafes to feel comfortable on the way from Khiva to Bukhara). We arrive in Bukhara Arrival late this afternoon  in Sacred Bukhara - one of the most esteemed cities of Islamic civilization. Hotel accommodation.  Free time. Dinner. O/n at hotel.

Day 4: Bukhara
Discovery of Silk&Spices Festival with the ocean of turquoise domes, slender minarets and mosques with impressive facades decorated with ceramics of Bukhara. Theatrical procession of participants of festival from Khodja Nasreddine up to the place Po-i-Kalon, the religious center of the city. The architectural complex includes the madrasa Mir-i-Arab, the Juma mosque and minaret Kalon, the symbol of the city of Bukhara. You also pass by the Trading Domes including Togi Zargaron (domes changers), Togi Telpak furushon (domes hatters) and Togi Saraffon (domes jewelers). Puppet Show and Uzbek classical music concert. Visit of the site Lyabi Hauz with the madrasa Koukeldach, the Madrasa and khanaka Nodir Devon-Begui, located at the edge of the pool and surrounded by their ancient mulberry. Possibility of attending the exhibition of photographs "Images of Bukhara.

Day 5: Bukhara
Possibility of attending the fair of silks, spices, miniatures, carved wooden items etc. ... Visit the monuments of the city with the citadel Ark, ex residence of the Emirs of Bukhara, the mausoleum of Samanids, the first central Asian’s mausoleum and the mausoleum Chashma Ayub, or "Source of Job." Exhibition of famous Bukhara carpets and suzanis, panels of fabric embroidered with silk. Presentation of different spices and where you can enjoy green tea and nougat with spices, whose recipe dates from the seventeenth century.

Day 6: Bukhara
Following the visit by ensemble Koch Madrasa including the Madrasa of Ulug Beg and Abdoullaziz Khan. Show of documentary films about the history of Bukhara. Tasting of the best sorts of wines of Uzbekistan. Following the fair on the square Liabi Hauz and demonstration of traditional embroidery of suzanis and articles embroidered with thread of gold. Evening devoted to fashion shows and presentation of models of Silks from different regions of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan etc. ... Closing the festival Silk&Spices by the awards ceremony of craftsmen.

Day 7: Bukhara - Samarkand 270 km
Road to Samarkand, called "Royal Route", which, old times,  was an important route of the Silk Road, it connects the main cities of Transoxiana: Samarkand and Bukhara. Stopping in an Uzbek village and possibility to see raising silkworms. The silkworm with its form of caterpillar has a big appetite, it eats in effect day and night, only mulberry leaves. It takes 2 tons of mulberry leaves to feed throughout the life of 62 000 silkworm, which will give 100 kilograms of cocoons and 19 kilos of silk! En route to Samarkand, visit the atelier of a potter in Gijdouvan. The ceramics atelier of Gidjouvan is known throughout Uzbekistan and protected by Unesco, Lunch at the potter house, then we will make a stop at the ruins (in restoration) of Caravanserai Rabat-i Malik, dating from the XIth century and Sardoba (water tank for caravans). Continuation to drive to Samarkand. Arrival and accommodation at the hotel.

Day 8: Samarkand
First discovery of Samarkand, the pearl of the Orient, which evokes a magical name, an invitation to Asia as we dream of: famous Registan place lined with madrasas with towering gates, mausoleum Gur-i-Amir, with a beautiful ribbed dome and decorated by paper-mache inside, then the remains of the observatory of Ulug Beg, the first observatory in the East, where a huge sextant allowed to contemplate the stars.

Day 9: Samarkand
Following visits: Bibi Khanum Mosque, the largest of its time throughout the Central Asia, necropolis Shakh-i-Zinda, a true pearl of the architecture of Samarkand of XIV-XV centuries, unique complex, where we find all the artistic processes of decoration of Islamic buildings. Walk through the picturesque Siab bazaar, the busiest and most colorful place.

Jour 10: Samarcande - Tachkent   320 km
Departure to Tashkent via the "Steppe of Hunger", largely irrigated by the river Syr-Darya, and where cotton is grown, "white gold of Uzbekistan". Arrival and installation at the hotel. Visit the capital, rich in parks, fountains, squares and historical sights: the Independence Square, Amir Temur Square, Alisher Navoi Opera and beautiful metro stations of Tashkent.

Day 11: Tashkent
Morning breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport. Departure according to the schedule of the international flight.

Tashkent :       Shodlik Palace 4*/Uzbekistan 4* 
 Khiva :        Orient Star 3*/Malika Khiva 3 *
 Bukhara :       Avicenna  3*/Labi Khauz  3*
Samarkand :     Latif  3 * / Malika Classic 3 *

 Our extensions to this program:
 Life in a yurt
What better way to experience the nomadic lifestyle of sleeping in a yurt in the middle of breathtaking paysage. We suggest you stay in yurt with full board from Samarkand or Bukhara.
(2 days / 1 night from 75 € / person).

Sintob and mountains
Explore Sintob valley, overlooked by the beautiful mountains, you walk along the river Sintob Soy, crossing numerous farms on steep slopes, which leave little room for the little shepherds' huts. The villagers are always very welcoming. 
(2 days / 1 night from 65 € / person).

Ferghana Valley
Fergana Valley is the heart of Uzbekistan. It was the kingdom of Davan who was originally the opening of the Silk Road linking China to Rome. Today this area is the most populous, industrialized and most fertile farming thanks to intensive irrigation. Kokand is the historical capital of the valley, Margilan, former center of silk production, Richtan, who is known for its traditions of ceramics.
(2 days / 1 night from Tashkent – from 72 € / pers)

Chakrizab and KashkaDaria Valley
Besides the beautiful road that led from Samarkand, Chakrizab is known for being the birthplace of the ancestors of the Emperor Tamerlane , who would pay tribute throwing excessive work. There are so many relics such as Ak-Serai (the "White Palace"), or the mosque Kok Gumbaz ...
(2 days / 1 night from Samarkand - from 72 € / pers)

Nukus and museums
Capital of autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan, Nukus is primarily known for its exceptional fine arts museum classified by UNESCO ... and around this city, you can find some attractions.
(2 days / 1 night from Khiva - from 77 € / pers)

This program may change or improvements according to technical criteria, the number of participants
Please note, this information is communicated to help you plan your trip. If changes of date or price intervene, it would be notified when registering.

Learn more!
The Silk, the Pearl of Orient
A little history: According to Chinese tradition, silk was discovered by the Empress Leizu when a silkworm cocoon fell into her cup of tea. Wanting to extract it from her drink, she began to unwind the thread from the cocoon and then had the idea to weave. At that moment, the girl taught on his family the art of sericulture, and became in Chinese mythology, the goddess of silk. Since the seventeenth century BC, China develops the tradition of silk in absolute confidence. Faced with this carefully guarded secret, other civilizations sent spies and looters to capture the art of silk. Thus, the most popular goods in the world has become the key asset of traders and gave birth to the famous Silk Road that saw him pass caravans of camels laden with silk, spices, perfumes, jewelry, ... and contributing to trade and cultural exchanges between East and West. At that time, everything was made of silk : clothing of the nobility, the fabrics, the tents of the governor, covers, blankets, carpets... This material, as now, is a sign of wealth and luxury recognized worldwide. From the cocoon to fabric: textile fiber of animal origin, it emerged from the cocoon produced by the mulberry caterpillar Bombyx, commonly called silkworms. Sericulture, the raising of silkworms, is the first stage of manufacture. Females lay 300 to 500 eggs which are then placed in incubators with walls filled with hot water so they do not hatch. This is an adult with a size of about 10cm the caterpillar begins to spin its cocoon. Before transforming from chrysalis into a butterfly, they are immersed in hot water, then the silk thread is unwound and wound up with a spinning wheel. Natural silk is golden yellow and covered with a glutinous substance, but to get a fiber creamy white color that will subsequently dyed, it is washed several times. After passing the dye in large bath boiling and colorful, the threads of silk are dried and wound onto bobbins to prepare the chain. To obtain a thicker and more resilient thread, more threads are joined by twisting, what is called the fold. The weft thread passes between the chain of threads (threads tight on the entire length of the fabric), then packed using a comb by the expert hand of the weaver. After hours of work, fabrics, scarves and other confections may be presented. Local silk, silk elsewhere: From the smooth silk of China to the soft and wrinkled silk of Italy, she bears the mark of the country that produced it. As for Uzbek Silk, it has its peculiarity of being very natural.

Spices, a gift from the East.
Spices and their trade: with their colors, their tastes, their virtues and their smells, spices fascinate us since antiquity. Transported by camel from China to Egypt, the Ismailis merchants exchanged against gold, silver or precious stones. Controlled by the Arabs, the spice trade has spread to the Romans during their glorious, and these herbs have reappeared in northern Europe only in the Middle Ages. Until the fall of Constantinople, Venice controlled the market with the East. Trade routes cut, new had to be created to continue to bring spices to the Far East. The seaway is then chosen to continue this trade, and also marks the beginning of the voyages of discovery that breaks the monopoly. Already used in medieval times to flavor dishes, spices provide exotic, originality and invite to travel. The chefs have a habit of using only 10 spices to prepare their dishes, while there are over 150. You can also see on the Uzbek market, these spices mixed with other spices and condiments.

Saffron, the king of spices:
Its scientific name Crocus Stavius, this perennial herbaceous bulb of 10 to 30cm, which grows in autumn, is characterized by its bitter taste. The three purple petals and two orange-red stigmas that make up the saffron flowers are dried to allow staining and seasonings. Rare and little-known, this spice has its origins in the eastern Mediterranean basin and Asia Minor and is highly regarded for its powers dyes, taste, odor or medical. Saffron appears for the first time in a papyrus Eber which lists compositions and methods of use of over 700 potions, and it created a hieroglyph. It is a sedative which also has antispasmodic virtues but consumed between 10 and 12g, becomes a hilarious drug that causes increased heart rate, dizziness, hallucinations or paralysis of the nervous system. Sesame, the treasure of the East. This aromatic annual plant with growth up to 2 m has a square stalk and pink flowers in the shape of mouth of wolf. It is in its elongated capsules that are the seeds of light beige and black colours. Probably African in origin, sesame has been grown for millennium in Africa, Asia and now in all tropical regions. While in ancient Greece, they were used as energy stock, the Romans mixed them with cumin to make the hummus, and The Turks extracted its oil. High-calorie, its flavor is reminiscent of almond and hazelnut’s taste. Used in many recipes as zatar or Syrian halva, a pastry oriental, they scent pleasantly breads and salads. They are also used in making Chinese soups, soaps, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Basil, the herb of the Devil:
Annual in our climate and perennial in tropical climates, this plant has many varieties, and sometimes differs only by the composition of its oil. Cultivated in the Mediterranean and a native of India, the Basilica was for the Romans as a symbol of love, the variety sanctum  had a role more religious than culinary in India, or used to flavor the holy water at Greek Orthodox. In Western Europe, Australia and America the herb appeared only in the sixteenth century. Known for its antiseptic and digestive, basil also has the property to remove aphids, flies and mosquitoes.