Day 1: Departure for Yerevan.
Day 2: Yerevan – Echmiatsin – Zvartnots – Yerevan. First visit to History museum. Departure to Echmiadzin which is mere 20 km from Yerevan. Etchmiadzin Cathedral is known as the center of the Armenian – Gregorian Church and appears to be one of the world's first Christian churches. Legend has it that it was here that Jesus Christ descended from heaven to show were he wanted a church built.
So Echmiadzin means “The only – begotten descended”. The Church was built between the years 301 – 303 AD under the Armenian king Tiridates III and the first Armenian Catholicos, St. Gregory the Illuminator. Return to Yerevan with stop at the ruins of Zvartnots temple – the pearl of the 7th c. architecture(inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list). Overnight at Yerevan. Includes: (B).
Day 3: Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Yerevan. Visit to the depositary of ancient manuscripts the Matenadaran which contains historical documents from all over Europe and Asia throughout many centuries. There is also the first copy of the Bible in Armenian and the Gospels that fascinate with their beautiful miniatures. The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC.
A little part of the capital city's 3,000 – year history has survived: Central Yerevan was once dominated by huge Soviet – style buildings, but now, due to the nowadays active constructions, many modern – style buildings appear and are going to appear. Then we head to Garni, a pagan temple and a summer residence for Armenian royalty and heading to Geghard dating back to the 4th c. In the evening we return to Yerevan. Includes: (B).
Day 4: Yerevan – Khor Virap – Noravank – Yerevan. Sightseeing tour to Khor – Virap monastery 4 – 17th cc. 45 km. from Yerevan the monastery of Khor – Virap has a very rich history, both religious and secular. Khor Virap was built in Artashat during the reign of the Arshakids dynasty. It is situated in the Ararat valley against the biblical Ararat Mountain, were Noah's arch cast anchor.
The importance of it is connected with Gregory the Illuminator, who introduced Christianity to Armenia and is considered to be the first Armenian Catholicos. Here you will also have an opportunity to take a lit candle from the pit like His holiness Paul II did while his visit to Khor Virap. Continue tour to Noravank monastery – a great religious and cultural centre of 12th c.
On the way visit Areni wine factory to taste local wine made from special sorts of vines. Noravank (“New Monasterey”) is 122 km away from Yerevan and is located in an inaccessible location throughout the stunning nature. Come back to Yerevan. Overnight in hotel. Includes: (B).
Day 5: Yerevan – Sevan – Dilijan – Geo – Arm Border (Sadakhlo) – Tbilisi
After breakfast visit to the penisula for Sevan monasteries and nice view to lake Sevan. Start tour from Sevan to the North of Armenia through spectacular forested region of Dilijan, where you can walk through a museum street, with the buildings preserved from 19 c. with the ceramics workshop and woodcarvers’ studio. Early in the morning driving to the Armenian – Georgian border and after all the formalities entering to Georgia. Leading to Tbilisi the capital of Georgia. Includes: (B).
Day 6: Tbilisi. We have Tbilisi sightseeing tour today. The city offers a great variety of sights, most of them very ancient. All the places of interest in the Old Town are very close to each other, within a few minutes’ walk. We start our visit to Old Tbilisi from the point that looks to the beautiful panorama. Afterwards we continue to the Sioni Cathedral, then walk up to the brick – domed Sulphur Baths.
From the Baths we head up the hill to visit Narikala Fortress – one of the oldest fortifications in the city. This marks the end of the Old Town. Visit the stunning treasury of the Georgian National Art Museum, before taking a stroll along Rustaveli Avenue – the main street in Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi in a hotel. Includes: (B).
Day 7: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Kutaisi. In the morning we drive to the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia – Mtskheta and visit its historical places: Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, where the Robe of Christ is buried. Both Jvari and Svetitskhoveli are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Today we travel to Imereti province in West Georgia – the famous Land of the Golden Fleece where Jason and the Argonauts sailed.
We arrive in Kutaisi – the second largest city in the country and visit its historical sights – Gelati Monastery and Academy UNESCO patrimony. Visiting the beautiful grotto with amazing stalagmites and stalactites with the fascinating show of colours. Dinner and overnight in Kutaisi in a guesthouse. Includes: (B, D).
Day 8: Kutaisi – Gori – Gudauri. In the morning we drive to visit the town of Gori – the heart of Kartli region and its historical places: Uplistsikhe Cave Town (1st millennium BC), that’s the place where the Great Silk Road used to pass. This is an old and interesting complex with dwelling quarters, wine – cellars, bakeries, a three – nave basilica church hewn out in rock and even an antic theatre.
Photo stop near Stalin’s house. Then we will drive up the Georgian military highway and on the way visit Ananuri architectural complex (17th century). The two churches and the fortress overlook water reservoir. The carvings on the churches are one of the best samples of the Georgian art. The drive is very scenic through high Caucasus mountains. Arrive in Gudauri. Dinner and overnight in Gudauri in a hotel. Includes: (B, D).
Day 9: Gudauri – Kazbegi – Tbilisi. In the morning a stunning drive from Gudauri along the Tergi River will bring us to Kazbegi – the main town in the region. From Kazbegi a leisurely 1.5 hours walk up through beautiful valleys and woodland leads us to Gergeti Trinity Church located at 2170 m. Weather permitting you may catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – Mt Kazbegi (5047 m). Then we take the same way back to drive to Tbilisi. Includes: (B, D).
Day 10: Tbilisi – Kakheti Region – Tbilisi. We drive to Kakheti region well known for its wine producing. We enjoy super views of Great Caucasus Mountains and valleys of Kakheti; Acknowledge traditions and culture of the country and region, taste wines and delicious food. Drive to fortified town of Sighnaghi (18th century). The town preserved its original image and now offers visitors stunning views of the surrounding Caucasus Mountains.
We pass by a farmer’s house to see an old wine – cellar. We get acquainted with the Georgian way of wine – making, quite different from the European one and drink typical Georgian wine straight from the clay jars. Before returning to Tbilisi visit wine factory to taste and acknowledge modern technologies of wine – making. Re enter to Tbilisi. Includes: (B).
Day 11: Departure. Early in the morning leading to the airport and departure.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Georgia Armenia Local Culture Cultural Journey Archeology/History
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