Day 1: Visit Institute of Archeology and Ethnography. Visit village Agarak-where bronze era monument has been excavated in 2002-2003. Your visit also includes a trip to the village of Oshagan, home of St. Mesrob Mashtots, the 4th century monk who invented the Armenian alphabet. You will visit his tomb as well as a church built in the 5th century and reconstructed in the 19th century. A seminary is located nearby. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 2: Khor Virab - The site where St. Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned by an Armenian king for preaching Christianity. You can climb down into the dark pit on foot and upon climbing back up treat yourself to the most spectacular view of the glorious Mt. Ararat. You will also visit the remains of the city of Dvin Dvin is situated on a hill where a settlement, turned into a fortress in the antique epoch, had existed since the third millennium B.C. In the reign of Khosrov II (330—338) Dvin became the capital, and since the middle of the fifth century till the middle of the 13th century, it was a major trade, handicraft and cultural center of Armenia known in the countries of Asia Minor and Europe. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 3: Erebouni - Walk through the Erebouni Museum where you will find hundreds of artifacts from Erebouni, Karmir Blur, and Armavir, the three principal Urartian cities in the Ararat valley. This small two-story museum is located on the western slope of the Erebouni elevation where hundreds of artifacts were dug out during the excavations in 1950.
The old settlement of Shengavit – This substantially chalcolithic (transition from stone to the use of metal) settlement is of great scientific significance vis-à-vis the history of the entire region. It is perched on the slope on the far side of the Yerevan Lake. There you will find the crumbling circular foundations of a number of rubble and mud-brick houses, once surrounded by a stone fortification wall and underground passage leading to the river. Four settlement phases have been identified here, from the end of the 4th millennium BC to the beginning of the second millennium BC.
Garni is the only pagan temple currently standing in Armenia. This 1st century pre-Christian structure, with its classical Hellenistic lines, is situated in a picturesque mountain locale offering a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding valley. Geghart - This ancient monastery was carved out of solid rock. Geghartavank is the monastery of the spear that was said to have wounded the chest of Christ on the cross. The latter designation is derived from the relics, which were conserved for many years in the monastery and are currently found in the Edjmiatsin museum. A visit to Geghart is truly a spiritual experience. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 4: Visit Trchunneri Cavern - it is one of the rarest and best- preserved late Copper Age. Monuments in the South Caucasus. Visit the monastery of Noravank, a 13th century structure with beautiful stone crosses. The main church of St. Karapet was built in 1227. Two console stairs on both sides of the entrance take you inside the church. Aghudi - A nice monument on the road to Vorotnavank, Aghudi is 1,500 years old. The sixth century mausoleum of Aghudi arouses more curiosity and admiration than any other monument of the same kind. Take a short drive to Karahundje, where you will see a formation believed to have been used as an astrological device. Wander upon Armenia’s ancient enigma and visit the complex grouping of stones, which date back to 7500 BC, making it older than England’s famous Stonehendge! Dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Goris.
Day 5: Check out from your hotel in Goris. Enter the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh and visit the Historical Museum of Artsakh. Visit the site of excavation of Tigranakert. Dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Karabagh.
Day 6: Check out from your hotel in Karabagh. About 8 km. from Goris is the cave village of Khndzoresk, a picture-perfect valley with a stream running through it, where many caves and rock formations are waiting to be explored. Drive to Yeghegnadzor. Visit Tanadeh Monastery. This monastery is located near the village of Vernashen where historical Gladzor university existed. You will visit the Museum of Gladzor University in the village of Vernashen. Dinner at Guesthouse. Overnight in Yeghegnadzor Guesthouse.
Day 7: Check out from your guesthouse in Yeghegndzor. Zorats Church in Yeghegis-Bishop Stephen Orbelian built it in 13th century. The church of St. Stephen or Zorats is completely unique in Armenian churches. There are no surviving structures like this. Instead of closed space with vaulted or domed ceiling, Zorats has no inner hall; the only roofed spaces are the eastern altar apse and it’s flanking annexes, all of which are open to a western yard. In addition, the altar is raised more than usual, at about the height someone to dismount from a horse, which is indeed why it was built in such way.
Jewish cemetery in Yeghegis – about 40 tombstones survived in the cemetery and 30 were found nearby. 10 tombstones bear inscriptions in Hebrew or Aramaic. The cemetery belonged to Jewish community which lived I Yeghegis in the 13-14cc. In medieval Armenia numerous structures were built along commercial routes with the purpose of providing accommodation for travelers. Prince Chesar Orbelian built one of those, the Caravanserai of Selim, in 1332, as inscribed on site in Armenian and Arabic. This building is an excellent example of Armenian secular architecture in the middle Ages.
The lakeshore community of Noraduz, located northeast of Gavar, is famous for the biggest cemetery of khachkars (stone crosses) in Armenia, dating back to the 9th-10th centuries. Lunch on the road. St. Karapet and St. Arakelots monasteries. No trip to Armenia is ever complete without a visit to Lake Sevan, one of the largest of the highest lakes in Eurasia at about 1,900 meters above sea level. At Lake Sevan you will visit these monasteries. Check into Daravand guesthouse in Dilijan. Dinner at the guesthouse. Overnight in Dilijan guesthouse.
Day 8: Check out from the guesthouse in Dilijan. Dilijan- Located in the northern part of Armenia, this region is famous for its forests and health resorts, its spectacular scenery and cultural centers. You will drive through a plush forest to reach the Haghartsin Monastery, an 11th-13th century church situated deep in the woods, about 18 km from the town of Dilijan. You will also visit the beautifully landscaped 12th century monastery of Goshavank. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 9: Amberd - Visit the family castle of the Pahlavooni Princes, one of the few castles in Armenia that has been preserved. Tour the church and fortress of Amberd, built on a rocky promontory in the 10th-13th centuries and situated near Mt. Aragat. The domed church was built in 1026 and is one of the most unique churches of its type in Armenia. Haridj - The main church is a domed hall built by the Zakarian Princes in 1201. The porch was added later in the 13th century. Horom - This is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Armenia, particularly in the spring when the massive volcanic stones of the fortress are set off by brilliant green grass. Potsherds and obsidian flakes are strewn everywhere. You will then continue on to Marmashen. This complex is composed of three churches, the principal structure being a domed hall built in 986 through 1029 by Vahram Pahlavooni. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 10: Edjmiatsin Monastery - Visit the Edjmiatsin Cathedral, the most ancient Christian temple in Armenia and the Holy See of the Armenian Apostolic Church. According to tradition, St. Gregory the Illuminator saw a vision of the “Only Begotten” descend from heaven and indicate the spot where the church should be erected. In 303 AD, two years after Christianity was declared as the State Religion, construction of the Mother Church of the Holy See was completed. It has since been rebuilt once around 480 and renovated several times. The main dome was rebuilt in 1627. Years later in 1720, the interior murals were painted by Nagash Ovnatan. The Cathedral is surrounded by beautiful gardens bejeweled by stone crosses, better known as khachkars.
Visit Medzamor – Take a trip through time to a place that boasts 6,700 years of continuous inhabitation. The Medzamor culture survived through the Bronze and early Iron Ages when it was integrated into the Urartu Empire in the 7th century BC, and later continued under the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantine, and Ottomans until the 18th century, when it was abandoned. Zvartnots - Visit the magnificent ruins of the Cathedral of Zvartnots, built in the 7th century by Catholicos Nerses III. Here once stood a mighty three-tiered circular structure with a glorious central dome. The Cathedral was decorated with sculptured floral and geometric patterns and decorative pillars and arches, the ruins and remnants of which can be seen on the grounds. Zvartnots is considered to be the masterpiece of Armenian Church architecture. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 11: Transfer to Airport. Departure Bon Voyage.
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