Ayelet's Traveling University
the Jewish Heritage of Uzbekistan
March 19-29, 2024

Tour Rates & Dates:

There are no Departure Dates available for this Package.
*Please note that all rates displayed are based on standard room double occupancy.
All rates above are in US Dollars, and are based on full payment by credit card unless otherwise noted.
If check payment discount is available for this tour, it can be selected after clicking "BOOK" above.
(Deposit can still be paid by credit card).
Upgraded room categories may be available to book later in the booking process.
If Land & Air price is displayed, the air portion includes tax and fuel surcharges, which are subject to change until ticketed.

Register by February 1, 2024 and SAVE $150 per person!

*Click here to read more about your tour leader Yale Strom.

Tour Overview:

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According to tradition, the Bakhara Jewish community was founded at the start of the Babylonian exile, following the destruction of the First Temple. Other origin stories allude to Jews fleeing Persian persecution more than 1,500 years ago. For more than a millennia Jewish artisans and merchants in the region have ridden out periods of prosperity and persecution marked by invasions from Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, the Persians, the Turks, and the even the Chinese.



3 total nights Hilton Tashkent City, Tashkent
3 nights
Shahriston Hotel, Bukhara
3 nights
Movenpick Hotel, Samarkand
All touring and sightseeing in a deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach with an expert English-speaking guide
Musical performances by Yale Strom & Elizabeth Schwartz
Breakfast daily, lunch and dinner daily, including Shabbat dinner in Bukhara
Visits to mosques, madrasas and mausoleums throughout
Jewish community tour in Bukhara
Navruz celebration (change from winter to spring)
Purim celebration
Airport transfers if arriving, departing with the main group
Entrance fees per itinerary
Bottled water on the bus
Whisper headsets


1 night
Ayaz-Kala Yurt Camp, Ayaz-Kala
1 night
Farovon Hotel, Khiva
Breakfast daily
2 lunches
2 dinners
Entrance fees per itinerary
Bottled water on the bus
Airport transfers


Roundtrip airfare, departure taxes and fuel surcharges
Border taxes or visa fees (all travelers must purchase a single entry visa prior to departure for Uzbekistan; approximately $20 per person
Tips to guide, driver and dining room personnel ($25 per person, per day; pre-collected)
Meals not listed above
Items of a personal nature
Travel insurance (recommended -
group policy available)
Any costs associated with Covid-19 testing or vaccinaton

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Tuesday, March 19, 2024: OUR JOURNEY BEGINS

• We depart the United States on our overnight flight to Uzbekistan.

Day 2: Wednesday, March 20, 2024: WELCOME TO UZBEKISTAN!

• O'zbekistonga xush kelibsiz - welcome to Uzbekistan! We arrive at the Islam Karimov Tashkent Airport, where we are greeted by an Ayelet Tours representative and assisted through customs and baggage claim.
• We transfer to our hotel to check in and freshen up. (transfers included for all arriving on this day)
• Our journey begins together at 12:00 with an excursion through Old Tashkent to visit the religious complex Khast Imam, which consists of Kafal Shashi's Mausoleum (15th century), Barak Khan Madrasa (16th century) and Muy-Mubarak Mosque, which houses the well-known Koran of Khalif Osman and gold hair of the prophet Muhammad. We will also see Dzhuma Mosque of Khodja Akhtar Vali.
• We stop for lunch at a local restaurant along the way.
• We continue through the new part of the city to visit the State Museum of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan, the Monument of Courage built to honor the fallen in WWII, as well as the Square of Independence.
• We return to our hotel for a chance to relax before our welcome dinner at a local restaurant tonight.

Overnight in Tashkent (L, D)

Day 3: Thursday, March 21, 2024: THE MADRASAS OF BUKHARA

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• Early this morning, we board our train to Bukhara, the 7th largest city in Uzbekistan and the capital of the region. Located on the Silk Road, the city has long served as a center of trade, scholarship, culture and religion. The majority of people here speak Tajik, a dialect of the Persian language.
• Upon arrival, we transfer to our hotel to check in.
• This afternoon, we set out for a city tour of Bukhara. We begin at Ulugbek (Ulugh Beg) Madrasa, named for the astronomer-king and grandson of Timur, ruled from 1447-1449. We also see Madrasa Nodir Divanbegi from the 17th century, Abdul Aziz Khan Madrasa built in 1652 and an integral part of Bukhara's architecture, as well as Magoki-Attori Mosque.
• We stop to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
• We continue our city tour with visits to Lyab-i Hauz ensemble and Kosh Madrasa emsemble, consisting of two opposing architectural ensembles - one in honor of Abdullah Khan's mother and one for Abdullah Khan himself. We complete our city tour at Chor Minor, a historic gatehouse for a now-destroyed madrasa now consisting only of four minarets.
• This afternoon, we stroll through the streets of the old Jewish community, visiting the synagogue and the master of musical instruments.
• This evening, we enjoy dinner and a Navruz celebration (the change from winter to spring), along with a demonstration of how to make plov, similar to a rice pilaf, in an old Jewish home.

Overnight in Bukhara (B, L, D)

Day 4: Friday, March 22, 2024: MAUSOLEUMS/PURIM IN BUKHARA

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• We set out again today to continue our discovery of Bukhara. We begin just outside the historic center at the Ismael Samani Mausoleum, the tomb of members of the Islamic Samanid dynasty that ruled the Samanid Empire from 900 to 1,000. Considered to be an iconic example of early Islamic architecture, it is also known as the oldest funerary building of Central Asian architecture. We also visit the nearby Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum (Job's well), named for Job (Ayub) who visited this place and made a well by striking the ground with his staff.
• After time for lunch together in a local restaurant, we view the Bolo-Hauz Mosque, the Citadel Ark (a city within a city), and the Poi Kalon ensemble (Pedestal of the Great), the religious heart of Sacred Bukhara consisting of Minaret Kalon, Kalyan Mosque and Miri Arab Madrasa.
• We return to our hotel for time to relax and freshen up.
• This evening, we enjoy Shabbat dinner together with members of the Jewish community and celebrate the beginning of Purim!

Overnight in Bukhara (B, L, D)

Day 5: Saturday, March 23, 2024: THE OUTSKIRTS OF BUKHARA

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• This morning, we set out to visit the memorial complex of Bakhouddin Naqshbandi, one of the most important and revered shrines in the Muslim world. Bakhouddin was a theologian in the 14th century and founder of the Sufi Order “Naqshbandia”. The complex houses his grave as well as that of his mother and teacher, Said Mir Kulol. Muslims from all over the world make pilgrimage to this Central Asian mecca to ask for the fulfillment of wishes and healing and visit the Sufi museum here.
• Next we head to the Chor Bakr memorial complex, built on top of the burial site of Abu-Bakr-Said, one of four descendants of Muhammad. The complex includes the necropolis of family tombs and courtyards inside enclosed walls.
• We stop for lunch along the way.
• This afternoon, we visit the site of the former summer palace of Sitorai Mokhi Kohsa located in the outskirts of Bukhara. This palace was where the last emirs of Bukhara resided. Built by Emir Narulla Khan and named for his wife, no parts of the original palace is in existence today, however a palace was rebuilt by his grandson in the mid-19th century. Again, his son and the last Emir of Bukhara, built a new summer palace, which is what we can see today.
• We return to our hotel to refresh before dinner together this evening.

Overnight in Bukhara (B, L, D)

Day 6: Sunday, March 24, 2024: SHAKHRISABZ

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• This morning, we depart Bukhara and begin our 4-hour drive to Shakhrisabz. Upon arrival, we enjoy a city tour, including:
The ruins of Ak-Saray Palace - built at the beginning of the Timurid period between 1380 and 1404 under the reign of Timur; declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000
The Dor-ut Saodat complex - built in 1376 now consisting of several buildings, including the Khazratiy Imam Mosque and Johogir Masuoleum, as well as tombs and facilities for pilgrims
Dor-it Tillavat memorial complex - formed after the death of famous Sufi religious leader Shamseddin Kylyal, spiritual father of Taragay and Tamerlane; we will see the Gumbazi-Seiidan and the Kok Gumbaz Mosque
• We continue on our 2-hour drive to Samarkand to check into our hotel and enjoy dinner together tonight.

Overnight in Samarkand (B, L, D)

Day 7: Monday, March 25, 2024: GETTING TO KNOW SAMARKAND

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• Today is dedicated to discovering Samarkand. We begin with a visit to the Mausoleum Guri Emir, the tomb of Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur (also known as Tamerlane) and an important piece of Central Asian architecture that served as a precursor on later Great Mughal architecture.
• Our next stop is the Siab Bazaar, the largest market in Samarkand, where locals purchase all of their daily necessities such as Samarkand naan. It is also popular to domestic and foreign tourists, and we will have time to explore on own here.
• We head to the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand, Registan Square, the hub of the Timurid Renaissance, where people gathered to hear royal proclamations coming from enormous copper pipes, but also a place of public executions. Here, we view the three madrasas: Madrasa Ulugbek, Madrasa Shir-Dor and Madrasa Tillva-Kori.
• After lunch together, we visit the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, one of the most important monuments in the city and one of the largest and most awe-inspiring mosques in the Islamic world in the 15th century. While only a large ruin of it survived into the 20th century, major parts have been restored.
• We continue to Shah-i-Zinda (“the living king”) necropolis made up of more than 20 buildings. The complex includes mausoleums and other ritual buildings from the 11th to 15th as well as the 19th centuries and is the burial site of a cousin of Prophet Muhammad.
Optional ($40/person): We complete our day with a wine tasting at Bagizagan Wine Factory.
• This evening, we enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant.

Overnight in Samarkand (B, L, D)

Day 8: Tuesday, March 26, 2024: SAMARKAND

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• Today, we begin with a visit to the Hudzhum Carpet Factory, where we watch as silk carpets are handmade.
• Next, we see Ulugbek Observatory, which was built in the 1420s by Timurid astronomer Ulugh Beg. The observatory was destroyed in less than 30 years later and rediscovered in 1908.
• After lunch together, we visit Afrosiab Museum located on an ancient site that was occupied from 500BC to 1220 AD before the area was invaded by the Mongols in the 13th century. Excavations of Afrasiab frescoes are located in the museum next to the archaeological site.
• On the outskirts of Samarkand on top of a high kill, we will find the Mausoleum of Saint Daniyat (Saint Daniel), who is revered by those of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith.
• We complete our tour today at the museum of Abram Kalantarov, the head of Bukharian Jews and one of the richest merchants of tzarist Russia. The museum, built in the early 1900s. We also visit a synagogue nearby.
• This evening, we enjoy dinner together.

Overnight in Samarkand (B, L, D)

Day 9: Wednesday, March 27, 2024: SAMARKAND/RETURN TO TASHKENT

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel and store out luggage.
• We continue touring Samarkand today, including lunch together.
• In the early evening, we board our train back to Tashkent.
• We arrive in Tashkent and check into our hotel, then set out for dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Overnight in Tashkent (B, L, D)

Day 10: Thursday, March 28, 2024: CHIMGAN

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• Mid-morning, we depart for Ugam-Chatkal National Park in the Chimgan Mountains. The highest mountainous settlement of Chimgan is 5,400 feet above sea level. The mountain valley with its northern slopes and is a unique skiing resort in Central Asia. We'll enjoy the pure mountain air, salted with healthy minerals and the variety of flora. Chimgan is one of the few vacation resort areas offering services in both summer and winter, where people flock to ski. We stop to visit Amirsoy Resort for lunch and ride a cable car.
• Late this afternoon, we drive back to Tashkent, passing by Charvak Lake.
• After time to relax and freshen up, we set out for our farewell dinner and reminisce about our journey together.

Overnight in Tashkent (B, L, D)

Day 11: Friday, March 29, 2024: FAREWELL

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• We transfer to the Tashkent airport for our flights back to the United States, landing later today.


*Itinerary subject to change

A college for Islamic instruction.
Mausoleum: An external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the internment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or people.
Ensemble: A grouping of multiple mausoleums, madrasas and mosques.

ABOUT PROF. STROM: Professor Yale Strom is an acclaimed violinist, composer, filmmaker, writer, photographer, playwright and a pioneer among revivalists in conducting extensive field research in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans among the Jewish and Romani communities. Initially, his work focused primarily on the use and performance of klezmer music among these two groups. Gradually, his focus increased to examining all aspects of their culture, from post-World War II to the present. For more than 3 decades and 75 such research expeditions, Strom has become the world's leading ethnographer-artist of klezmer music and history. In addition to his klezmer research Strom has researched, composed and played Jewish music that was influenced by various Arab cultures. This influence can be heard even in klezmer music. Strom will have his thirteenth book published (Shloyml Boyml and His Purim Adventure) in spring 2023. It will be a children's illustrated book (English/Yiddish) based upon his ethnographic research he did in Romania. Strom has lectured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and taught at NYU for 4 years, where he created the course “Artist Ethnographer Expeditions”. At present he is a professor in the Music Dept. at San Diego State.

ABOUT ELIZABETH SCHWARTZ: Elizabeth Schwartz has been called “The Edith Piaf of Yiddish” and “a revelation” with a superb mastery of klezmer ornamentations. As the vocalist for Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi and as a soloist, she has performed at festivals, synagogues and concert halls throughout Europe, Asia and North America. Her myriad acclaimed recordings of Yiddish, Ladino, Hebrew and English have been released on the Naxos World, Arc Music UK and Transcontinental Music record labels. On March 18, 2012, Schwartz was invited to become the first woman in history to sing at the 125-year-old Eldridge Street Synagogue in Manhattan, effectively breaking the ban of kol isha in this landmark cultural venue. Schwartz is the subject of the Romanian documentary film, "Searching for Schwartz", by Radu Gabrea (z”l). As a writer, Schwartz co-created the award-winning audio dramas “The Witches of Lublin” and “Debs in Canton” for Suemedia Productions. She contributed a chapter on klezmer vocal technique to “Shpil: The Art of Playing Klezmer” (Scarecrow Press). For more information, visit www.elizabeth-schwartz.com.