Day 1: Arrival – Yerevan – Echmiatsin – Zvartnots - Yerevan. Arrival at Zvartnots (Yerevan) airport (early morning). Meeting in the airport and check-in in the hotel. Greeting Breakfast. A sightseeing tour around the city: Republic square, «Haghtanak» park, Mother Armenia» monument, Cascade. Lunch. A visit to St. Echmiatsin, one of the first Christian churches in the world (303 A.D.), founded by Gregory the Illuminator. It is the Holy Seat and the centre of the Armenian Apostolic church. It’s included in UNESCO World Heritage List. The temple of Zvartnots («Vigil forces», «Celestial Angels») VII century. Cultural program: Visiting Youth Art and Craft workshops. Back to Yerevan. Booked dinner in the restaurant. Free time.
Note: (The first day and the last day of the tour program will be adjusted based on your actual arrival and departure time).
Day 2: Yerevan – Amberd – Byurakan – Harich – Gyumri. Breakfast. A trip to the southern slope of Mount Aragats in Aragatsotn province. From the road leading to Ashtarak there is a wonderful panorama of the extinct volcanoes Aragats and Arailer. Near the town of Ashtarak there opens a beautiful view on the gorge of the Kasakh River. Visiting Amberd, which means «a fortress in the clouds» a fitting name given its elevation (2300 m.). It is located on the slopes of Mt. Aragats.
The Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory, founded by scientist-astrophysicist V.A.Hambartsumyan, is located in Byurakan. Visiting the museum of V. Hambartsumyan. On the way visiting cooper smelter dating back to Bronze Age (III-II c. B.C.). Lunch in the restaurant. The trip continues along the Shirak plateau. Visiting the Monastery Harichavank (VII-XIX cc.) – The largest religious and cultural center of Shirak province, which is famous for its monastery school.
Continue to Gyumri - the center of Shirak province and the second largest and economically important city of the Republic. A walk through old Gyumri, site of a devastating earthquake in 1988, still rebuilding. Tourists will see the restored city, old and new churches, and the Monument of the outstanding French singer-songwriter Charles Aznavour. Cultural program. Dinner and lodging in hotel in Gyumri.
Day 3: Gyumri – Marmashen – Dendro Park – Vanadzor. Breakfast. Visiting Marmashen Monastery (IX-X cc.) nested in Akhurian Valley. The monastery has four churches, two rebuilt and two in ruins - part of a fortress area erected by Vahram Pahlavuni from 988-1029. Standing in the complex, one can imagine the pastoral beauty and enormous wealth that poured into this monastery, a center of learning, manuscript production, prayer and contemplation. From Shirak Region the trip will continue to Lori. Lori is located on Armenia’s northern border, the largest in area of Armenia’s eleven regions. Armenia’s third largest city, Vanadzor, is the administrative centre of Lori. Lunch in the restaurant. A visit to the lovely Dendro Park at Gulagarak, Armenia’s only European tree preserve. Dinner and lodging in a hotel in Vanadzor.
Day 4: Vanadzor – Dsegh – Sanahin – Dzoraghet. Breakfast. The road goes through the deep gorge of Dzoraghet River (500 m) and is surrounded with wonderful rocky banks. A trip to Dsegh, birthplace of popular Armenian poet Hovhannes Tumanyan (1869-1923). Once the village was called Tumanyan after the poet and maintains the Tumanyan’s House-Museum. Lunch in the restaurant. Visiting Sanahin Monastery - an outstanding monument of medieval Armenian architecture of X-XIV cc., which was religious and cultural center in the period of Kiurikid kingdom (X-XIIcc.) in medieval Armenia. Dinner and lodging in «Tufenkyan» hotel.
Day 5: Silk Road. Tufenkyan – Haghpat – Goshavank – Sevan. Breakfast. Visiting Haghpat Monastery (X-XIV cc.) - a medieval Armenian monastery complex in Lori province. Haghpat monastery was called the Holy Cross church. Holy water fills the small pool in the church. Believers say this water has curative qualities for people with heart conditions. Lunch in the restaurant. A trip to Tavush Province. Lunch in Ijevan town. The route will lead to Goshavank, founded by Armenian cleric Mkhitar Gosh in the XII-XIII cc.
The monastery played a prominent role in Armenia’s religious, cultural and educational life through the Middle Ages. Here stands the famous work of sculpture of Varpet (Master) Poghos, a masterpiece of «khachkars» - carved stone crosses. Visiting the «blue pearl of Armenia» - Lake Sevan situated at an altitude of about 2000 meters above sea level. Visiting the Monastery of Sevanavank (IX c) which is located on Sevan peninsula.
Dinner and lodging in hotel near the Lake.
Day 6: Sevan – Hayravank – Selim caravanserai – Jermuk. Breakfast. A trip to a village on the western shore of Lake Sevan 12 km from the town of Gavar. In the north-east of the village, on the shore of Lake Sevan, on a rocky promontory stands Hayravank (IX-XI cc). A trip through Selim caravanserai (a resting stop for caravans) to Jermuk. A part of the Silk Road from China to Europe passed through medieval Armenia. The best preserved caravanserai in Armenia was built there by Prince Chesar Orbelian in 1331. Lunch in the restaurant. A visit to the Jermuk health resort, to the mineral waters of Jermuk. The plateau, where Jermuk is located, is surrounded on three sides by mountains covered with fresh alpine verdure and forests. A wonderful panorama of the gorge of Arpa river and surrounding mountains. A walk through the town, Alley of National Heros. Enjoying the view of waterfall in the beautiful gorge. Dinner and lodging in Jermuk.
Day 7: Jermuk – Tatev – Khndzoresk – Goris. Breakfast. A trip to Syunik Province. Panorama of the Syunik Mountains and Vorotan river gorge (500 meters deep) take your breath away. A stop on the bridge called Satani Kamurj («devil’s bridge»), and site of mineral waters. A trip to the Monastery of Tatevavank (IX- XVII c.) – the spiritual and cultural center of medieval Armenia, which is famous for its university (XIV- XV cc.), an inspirer of the conquer of national-liberation of Syunik Armenians against Iranians and Osman Turk invaders (XVIII c.). Open air lunch with local dishes. Visiting Khndzoresk village, the panorama of cave town «Old Khndzoresk». Khndzoresk is a historic place, with very interesting caves and mysterious rocks. Since the Bronze Age and almost till the 20th century, these caves were used as homes. Dinner and lodging in Goris.
Day 8: Goris – Karahunj - Noravank – Yerevan. Breakfast. Visiting a stunning monument of the Bronze Age «Armenian Stonehenge» – Karahunj, which dates to the second millennium B.C. According to scientific consensus today, the arrangement of stones was most probably meant for astronomical observation. Karahunj is situated 3 km north of Sisian. Lunch in the cozy restaurant. On the way to Yerevan a trip to Noravank Monastery nestled in the spectacular mountains: the religious center of Syunik province. Back to Yerevan. Dinner and lodging in hotel in Yerevan.
Day 9: Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Matenadaran – Yerevan. Breakfast. A visit to Geghard-Ayrivank established in 4-th century by Gregory the Illuminator. The monastic complex was enriched with new reconstructions in the XII century. Its main church is partly freestanding and partly carved in the cliff with the series of chapels and caves hewn into the rock. The complex is a piece of perfect art of medieval Armenian architecture and is protected by UNESCO world heritage. Lunch.
- Concert (fragment) by the soloists of the National Academic Theater of Opera.
- A visit to Garni fortress, the summer residence of Armenian Kings. The fortress is situated on the rim of the Garni Gorge, near the Azat River. This is the only Pegan temple in Armenia built by the Armenian King Trdat the I in 77 A.D and was dedicated to the God of the Sun and Justice Mihr.
- Visit to Matenadaran – the repository of ancient manuscripts named after Mesrop Mashtots. Farewell dinner.
- National live songs and music. Overnight in the Yerevan.
Day 10: Yerevan – airport – departure. Breakfast. Check out. Departure/see off at the airport.
Acknowledgment: Itinerary could be changed /shifted in case of unfavorable weather or unforeseen circumstances with substituting adequate cultural value and significance destination.
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