Discovering the Artisans of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan: A Tour of Local Crafts and Cultural Traditions


15 days

Price per person​

From 2790$


Tajikistan, Zerafshan, Fergana, Uzbekistan

Comfort level



Experience the best of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on this exciting 14-day tour. Discover the fascinating history and culture of Tajikistan with visits to Dushanbe, Iskanderkul, Penjikent, and Khujand. Marvel at the beautiful Iskander Waterfall, Old Penjikent ruins, and the ancient city of Istaravshan. Next, explore the treasures of Uzbekistan, starting in Tashkent and continuing to the old town of Khiva, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the historic city of Bukhara. Learn the art of local cuisine with cooking classes and explore the bustling bazaars. The trip ends with a folklore performance and a taste of Bukhara’s delectable cuisine. With luxurious accommodations and traditional music and dance performances, this tour is not to be missed.
  • Visit to National Museum of Antiquities with Sleeping Buddha
  • Tour of Navruz Palace decorated by artisans
  • Meeting master craftsmen at handicrafts centre
  • Visit to Iskanderkul and short hike to waterfall and Snake Lake
  • Cooking master class with local folklore show in Gazza village
  • Visit to Old Penjikent ruins and stay at Panjikent Plaza
  • Day trip to Seven Lakes with hike to Hazorchashma
  • Visit to Khujand and Istaravshan with rich history
  • Visit to Khast Imom Complex and Tashkent Metro
  • Meeting faculty members to discuss education for women
  • Visit to Chorsu Bazaar and Ichan-Kala in Khiva
  • Interaction with local women in preparation of dill-based noodles
  • Visit to Bukhara with historical monuments
  • Visit to master of miniature painting and Jewish quarter
  • Visit to Ark Citadel, Poikalon Complex, and house of embroidery master.


Upon your arrival mid-day, you'll be greeted at the airport by our representative and transferred to your luxurious 5 star hotel. Take a moment to settle in and get refreshed before stepping out to explore the vibrant city. Your hotel, the Serena, is located in the picturesque Ismoili Somoni avenue surrounded by lush green trees. Make sure to take a dip in the rooftop pool for a truly relaxing experience.

Later in the evening, join us for a welcome dinner with a music and dance performance that will give you a taste of the local culture. Get ready to be entertained and enjoy a delicious meal with new friends.

Accommodation: Serena Hotel.

Meal: B, D

Our city tour will start with a visit to the National Museum of Antiquities with its famous Sleeping Buddha, excavated from the Buddhist monastery at Ajina Teppa. Our next stop is the Navruz Palace, an

extraordinary modern building decorated by hundreds of artisans from all over Tajikistan. Most of the rooms are now used for official government meetings, or for international conferences, but one room is open to the public and used as a popular wedding venue. This is a unique opportunity to tour the interior of this ornate contemporary palace. Afterwards, we will visit the handicrafts centre to meet master craftsmen, including those involved in the creation of the Navruz Palace. 

After lunch, we will visit the statue of Ismail Somoni in Rudaki Park. This large monument commemorates the 1,100th anniversary of the Samanid State, a Golden Age of the Tajik nation, when science and arts flourished. From there we will walk through pretty Rudaki Park, which is dedicated to the great Persian poet Rudaki, who also lived during the Samanid period, in the 10th century. 

Accommodation: Serena Hotel.

Meal: B, L

It’s a moderately long but scenic drive out of Dushanbe to Iskanderkul. We will stop on the way to have lunch in Sarvoda. By early afternoon we will reach Iskanderkul, the triangular lake named after Alexander the Great (“Iskander” is the Persian form of Alexander). It is considered to be one of the most exquisitely beautiful lakes in all of the former Soviet Union. In addition to admiring the views there will be time for a short hike to Iskander Waterfall and Snake Lake before dinner. We will spend the night in cottages on the lake shore, where the rooms have private bathrooms.  

Accommodation: Cottages (2,195m)

Meal: B, L

After breakfast we drive toward Penjikent region. We reach Gazza village we will have a lunch at the guesthouse. On arrival to the village you can rest at the guesthouse or walk and explore the village. For the dinner we will have an opportunity to have cooking master class with local folklore show either in here or in Penjikent. Altitude: 1900m (15km, 7 hrs, +750/-1100m).

Accommodation: Guesthouse where rooms with private bathroom

Meal: B, L, D

After the breakfast we will be transferred to the one the most iconic and authentic village in the Zerafshan valley – Voru village. Vuro is a mountain village, it is located on the left bank of the Archmaydon river. The houses in the village are built in a steep gorge which allows for the rooftop of one house to serve as the yard for the house above. We will be hosted by them and have a chance to meet some of their family members. 

By evening, we will reach Penjikent – known as Pompeii of Central Asia. We check it at our hotel and start the sightseeing of Old Penjikent ruins. 

Accommodation: Panjikent Plaza 

Meal: B, L, D

Our day trip will start with a bumpy ride into the mountains to explore the area of the Seven Lakes. This mountain valley is not far from Penjikent, but due to the bad road conditions, the trip takes a full day. We will drive up the valley to the sixth lake. It is then a short and easy hike of about two hours (both ways) to the seventh and highest lake, Hazorchashma. There will be time to enjoy the scenery and wander along the lake shore before hiking back down to the sixth lake and returning by road to Penjikent. On the way down we will stop for a walk in a couple of villages and will have a lunch at guesthouse in Noffin village.

Accommodation: Panjikent Plaza 

Meal: B, L

It is time to leave the mountains behind and return to urban life, journeying to the city of Khujand in northern Tajikistan. Khujand is situated on the Syr Darya River in the Fergana Valley. It is an ancient city with a history dating back to Cyrus the Great and Alexander the Great. On the way we will visit Istaravshan, a city founded by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC which recently celebrated its 2,500th anniversary. Istaravshan’s artisans are highly regarded across Central Asia and the city is still well known in Tajikistan for its blacksmiths, who hand-craft knives of excellent quality. We will visit the blacksmiths’ workshops near the entrance to the city’s market, and also meet a woodcarver and a comb maker. There will be time to see the main historical sights – the Kok Gumbaz and the Hazrat Shoh Mosque – before continuing on our way to Khujand. We will arrive in the evening and check in at the hotel. 

Accommodation: Khujand Grand Hotel

Meal: B, L

After breakfast, we will visit Khujand’s main market, Panjshabe Bazaar, which is the largest market in Tajikistan. Our city tour will continue to the Maslihaddin Mosque, the Lenin Monument, and Arbob Cultural Palace, where we will also visit a small factory which produces traditional Tajik textiles. We will have lunch at Anora, a house museum where you can appreciate traditional design and experience the authentic atmosphere of a Tajiki house. The friendly family members are always happy to welcome guests from different cultures and to exchange experiences with interested travellers. After lunch we drive to our final attraction, to the women's factory Khujand atlas. Khujand Atlas was one of the leading textile factory that use silk for production of traditional Atlas textile. During our visit, we'll get an inside look at the production process and learn about the history of the factory and its significance in the local economy. We'll also have the opportunity to purchase some of the beautiful atlas products for souvenirs. Afterwards, we will departure to Tashkent which will take about 3 hours ride. 

Accommodation: Lotte hotel or similar 

Meal: B, L

Tashkent is not only the biggest city in Central Asia, but also one of the oldest. Unfortunately, most of its historic buildings were destroyed in a catastrophic earthquake in 1966, after which Tashkent was rebuilt as a model Soviet city. Amongst the historic buildings which did survive are those of the Khast Imom Complex, which is where we will head first today after breakfast. The complex’s library contains the Quran of Caliph Uthman, which dates from the 7th century and hence may be the oldest Quran in the world. In the same place is the mausoleum of an Islamic saint, Abu Bakr Kaffal Shashi. We will then take a ride on the stunningly decorated Tashkent Metro. After late lunch, meet faculty members at a university and talk about education for women in Uzbekistan. We will also visit the famous Chorsu Bazaar, the city’s main market.

Check-in at the hotel and later drive to the local State Opera and Ballet theatre to see the performance. Dinner after the ballet/opera in a local restaurant. 

Accommodation: Lotte hotel or similar 

Meal: B, L

After a leisurely breakfast, departure from the hotel at 5:30 to the airport to catch the domestic flight to Urgench (07:05 – 08:35). From Urgench Airport it’s about 40 minutes ride to our hotel, which is located right next to the entrance to Ichan Khala, the old town of Khiva. 

Considered a gem of desert architecture, Khiva is one of the renowned capitals of old Khorezm. Locals believe that Shem son of Noah founded the city, when he discovered the sweet water spring in this middle of the vast desert. Archeologists believe the city was set up some 2,500 years ago. Today Khiva is the most architecturally intact Silk Road city in Uzbekistan. Its intense green and blue tilework ranks as some of the most luxurious in Central Asia. This open air museum is enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Khiva is full of amazing architecture – and today we will get a chance to see them all. We will visit the walled inner-city section of Khiva called Ichan-Kala. This historic town preserves more than sixty historic monuments and hundreds of old houses dating back hundreds of years. As you walk through the massive city gates, you are met by the gleaming Islamic architecture, the Kalta-minor Minaret. Explore the town on a guided tour that covers all of the city sites. At lunch, you are hosted at a local house so you can participate in prep work for dill-based noodles where also have interaction with the women of the family. continue touring, and evening walk on the walls to see the sunset. Evening dinner on a terrace with the amazing town view.

Accommodation: Boutique Hotel Zarafshan

Meal: B, L

At 07:00 transfer from the hotel to Urgenh airport to catch the short domestic flight to Bukhara (09:20 – 10:10). 

Bukhara was a key trading post on the Silk Road. This UNESCO enlisted city has many zigzagged backstreets, bustling bazars and historical monuments. Many call it “Bukhoroi Shareef”, that translates as Holy Bukhara for having hundreds of mosques and lots of mausoleums. The city has seen various dynasties battling for the influence as it has always stood as a center of trade, culture, and scholarship.

Today we visit the Ismail Somoni Mouseleum - a 10-century unique monument, where more than sixteen styles of brickwork adorn the face of this cubic memorial. Chashma Ayub Mausoleum - is a pilgrimage site for the locals, and is a unique place where locals believe prophet Job visited. We then will visit Boloi Havuz Mosque - a functioning central mosque of Bukhara. We visit also a master of miniature painting. Davlat Bronovich Toshev was born in 1975 in the city of Bukhara. In 1991, after graduating from school, he took up the matter of interest to him - he began to paint. To improve mastery, he studied with local artists. He achieved serious success and was admitted to the regional association “Hunarmand” - “Recognized Master” in 2004 as a mater - a miniature artist. In the evening we walk the Jewish quarter, and talk to the calligrapher and puppet maker.

Accommodation: Komil Boutique or Boutique Hotel Amelia

Meal: B, L

After breakfast today we visit Ark Citadel. It is the original fortress of Bukhara and likely dates back two thousand years or more. After lunch, we visit Poikalon Complex - the highlight of the city that includes the Kalon Mosque and Minaret, and the Mir-i-Arab Madrassah surrounds an open plaza teeming with merchants and local vendors. Next, we visit the house of an embroidery master, who is a famous artist of Uzbekistan. His name is Rahman and he is a 6th generation master of embroidery and stich work. His works are exhibited in galleries around the world. 

We will have lunch in a private room of restaurant with folklore performance of Bukhara. Local Bukhara Philharmonic Band will come with 2 or 3 musicians and 2 or 3 dancers. We will have music of 3 different regions of Uzbekistan (Fergana, Bukhara, Khorezm) performed live.

Accommodation: Komil Boutique or Boutique Hotel Amelia

Meal: B, L

Start your day with a leisurely morning in the charming old town of Bukhara. Stroll around the vibrant bazaar and indulge in some shopping, picking up souvenirs and trinkets that capture the essence of the city.Enjoy a cup of coffee and a delicious lunch at one of Bukhara's quaint cafes.

In the afternoon, we'll make our way to the train station and embark on a journey to the magnificent city of Samarkand. Upon arrival in Samarkand, you'll have some time to rest and hace a short evening walking tour of the city's illuminated Registan Square, a breathtaking sight that is sure to leave you in awe.

End the day with a sumptuous dinner at a local restaurant, sampling the best of Uzbek cuisine. Savor the flavors of traditional dishes and mingle with the locals, gaining insights into the daily life and culture of the country.

Accommodation: Boutique Hotel Rabat or similar 

Meal: B, L

Sublime Samarkand was the capital of the empire of Timur, one of history’s greatest conquerors. His vast empire rivaled any, stretching across the Eurasian steppe, who ruled his kingdom with an iron fist while at the same time patronizing the arts and literature. Much of his architectural heritage has been preserved, allowing us to see how the city might have been at the peak of his power. 

We start the day with the visit of Gur-Emir mausoleum, where Timur is buried. We will hear the stories from his life and how did he start the construction of Samarkand. Then, we go to Registan Square – Samarkand’s and arguably Uzbekistan’s most famous landmark. The focal point of ancient Samarkand is framed by three beautiful madrassas (religious schools) – Ulugbek, Sherdor and Tillya Kori. Next, we will stroll through the spacious courtyard of the Bibi-Khanum Mosque—a structure that legend says was a gift to Tamerlane by one of his wives, and we will have time to explore the Siab Bazaar, where fruit and vegetables grown from the rich soil of the Zarafshan Valley are sold in a colorful market. For dinner, we drive to the local neighborhood, where the family of Farida Apa will meet us. After meeting with the family members, we may participate in the preparation of the famous Plov in an open fire. You are encouraged to participate in slicing the carrots, peeling the onions, and let’s make the meal together. Afterward, we sit around the table and enjoy the meal with our hostess. (Farida is a teacher at a primary school, our guide will help us to communicate with her in the local language) and at the end of the day we present guests the bowls they designed in Tashkent pottery school.

Accommodation: Boutique Hotel Rabat or similar 

Meal: B, L, D

We need more time to explore majestic Samarkand, so today is another full day in the city. We will start at Afrasiyab Museum, which showcases the ancient history of Samarkand (then known as Afrasiyab) before it was destroyed by the Mongols in the early 13th century. Then, we will go to the Shah-i Zinda, the family necropolis of the Timurid dynasty, which has the finest tilework of any site in Uzbekistan. At Ulugbek’s Observatory, you will learn about the Timurids’ sophisticated understanding of astronomy, and how Emperor Ulugbek used a huge sextant to enrich our knowledge of the stars. 

We will continue the day at a bakery in one of the backstreets of the Old Town, where a family bakes bread for the local community. You are welcome to try making a loaf of your own. Before dinner, we will watch a fashion show at Valentina Romanenko’s Ayesha Studio. Valentina is a well-known designer in Uzbekistan. She creates her stunning original designs from hand-painted silks, antique lace, and traditional suzani embroidery, enhanced with her secret, plant-based dyeing techniques.

In the evening we will go to the winetasting.  About Hovrenko winery: The wines of Samarkand have been famous since antiquity. However, modern commercial production of wine dates from 1868, when Dmitri Filatov, a Russian merchant, founded a small, largely experimental wine-producing enterprise in the vicinity of Samarkand. Within a few years, Filatov’s wines were winning gold and silver medals in international competitions in Paris and Antwerp. Today, the Khovrenko vineyards function as a commercial wine-producing enterprise, but also act as a museum for wine-making in the region. Some of the original Khovrenko wines from the 1920s and 1930s are still held in their cellars and connoisseurs are occasionally allowed to sample them. This evening we take high speed train back to Tashkent and before checking into our hotel we enjoy our farwell dinner.

Accommodation: Lotte Hotel in Tashkent

Your driver will transfer you to the international airport. 

Meal: B

Trip Information

  • English speaking guides/tour mangers
  • All Transportation 
  • Domestic flights (Tashkent – Urgench, Urgench – Bukhara)
  • Speed train tickets in Uzbekistan (Bukhara – Samarqand, Samarqand – Tashkent)
  • Early check in at Serena hotel in Dushanbe 
  • Meals indicated in the itinerary. 
  • Tour Leader related cost
  • All permits and entrance fee at all mentioned attractions and visits
  • Visa Assistance 
  • Alcoholic beverage
  • Travel Insurance
  • Gratuities to guides and drivers


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