Day 1, May 21 Monday: Upon early arrival at Zvartnots International Airport you are greeted by your Tour Guide and immediately begin your unique journey with the Great Trains of Armenia; Transfer to the hotel; Check-in; Rest Time. Breakfast served.
Yerevan city tour: Republic Square, CITY TOUR of Yerevan, the rose-colored capital, so called because most buildings use a pink shade of "tuf" stone, quarried in Armenia. Let’s start our acquaintance with the Yerevan by stepping through its ancient history at the Erebouni museum and Fortress, founded in 782 BC.
Tsitsernakaberd memorial and museum to the 1915 Genocide, Sports and Concert Complex, Kievian Bridge, Bagramyan Avenue, Presidential Palace, Academy of Sciences, National Parliament, Opera Theater. Lunch in Yerevan.
The next stop is the Cascade, which is a huge white stairwell built on a Yerevan hillside in the 1970s, with water fountains running down the sides, all reminiscent of a natural river or stream cascading and Gerard Cafesjian Art Museum, which is Armenia’s largest repository of modern art with the Sculpture Garden at the base of the Cascade.
It connects the central district to Haghtanak Park -“Victory” Park to the center of the city. The structure has escalators so that it is unnecessary to manually ascend the stairs all the way to the top. Evening: Welcome Dinner in Armenian Traditional Restaurant.
Day 2, May 22, Tuesday: Breakfast served. We embark on our journey to the lands of ancient treasures in Christian history, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the religious capital of Armenia, and the seat of the Supreme Patriarch – the Catholics of all Armenians. The story holds that the place where Noah made the fire after the flood is the site upon which the main Cathedral, one of the earliest Christian churches, was built. Nowadays, it is located in the lower chamber, underneath the main Altar of the Cathedral.
Participation in Divine Liturgey (only on Sundays). Then, admire the Hripsime and Gayane Churches (7th c) named after faithful virgins of the 3rd century, followers of Christ who were martyred. St. Hripsime was a nun from the Church of Rome. Due to the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian, she and the other sisters of her order fled the empire with their mother superior Gayane, finding their way to Armenia. Their relics are housed in these churches. Lunch in Echmiadzin.
On the way back to Yerevan, visit the magnificent ruins of Zvartnots (celestial angels) Cathedral (7th c.). See the uniqueness of Armenian church architecture, at the site where once stood an impressive three-tiered circular structure with a spectacular central dome. Later in the afternoon we will round off our tour with a stroll through Vernissage, Yerevan’s bustling open air handicraft market. Evening: Dinner.
Day 3, May 23, Wednesday: Breakfast served. This morning we will travel to Garni, the location of the rare pre-Christian pagan temple maintained in Armenia. Later on, we will reach the Geghard cave monastery, an architectural complex (12-13th c.), carved out of one monolithic rock. Due to the extraordinary acoustics, when the local monk begins to sing in this chamber, it is hard to believe a large choir isn’t singing. With the participation of the Saghmos (Psalm) choir, we’ll have another chance to experience the ancient hymns and feel the extraordinary acoustics of the upper chamber.
A visit to Geghard is truly a spiritual experience. Lunch in Geghard. You will enjoy a tour of the most enigmatic of cities, visiting the remarkable Matenadaran Library and Research Institute of Armenia, one of the richest depositories of manuscripts and books in the world which houses about 17,000 rare manuscripts. The history of the Matenadaran dates back to the creation of the Armenian alphabet in 405. This center of manuscripts is centuries old and continues into the 21st century with modern upgrades. Evening: Dinner.
Day 4, May 24, Thursday: Breakfast served and Check out. Ashtarak – where you can find numerous churches or various ancient buildings at any step; Artashavan – New Complex of Armenian Letters: “It is difficult to express the deep feeling Armenians have for their language, which many regard as the lifeblood of their culture”; Saghmosavank Monastery perch on the edge of the precipitous gorge of the Kasakh river.
Visit to Lori region; Vanadzor City – the historical and modern center of the province of Lori; Alaverdy town in a canyon between Yerevan and Georgian - is famous for its copper mines. We proceed to the outstanding masterpiece of Armenian architecture Haghpat and Sanahin Monasteries (World UNESCO Heritage) in which artistic merits transcended the limits of the national culture. Lunch in Alaverdy. Dinner and Overnight in Alaverdy.
Day 5, May 25, Friday: Breakfast served and Check out. Arrival to Bagratashen/Sadakhlo border and formalities. Tbilisi – the capital of Georgia - stands on the banks of the river Mtkvari, in a valley surrounded by hills! Tour over the old city of Tbilisi, which stretches along the of the Mtkvari river within the ancient walls and citadels: Fortress Narikala (4th century), church Metechi (13th century) and the statue to Vakhtang Gorgasali – the powerful king of the 5th century who founded the capital of Georgia in the city of Tbilisi, basilica Anchiskhati (6th century).
Sulfur bath-houses renowned for centuries for their curative quality; Sioni cathedral, the main cathedral of Georgia, where services are held by the archbishop of Georgia each Sunday. Sameba cathedral - tallest church in the Caucasus. – Lunch in Tbilisi. Statue to Mother of Georgia (“Kartlis Deda”) - the symbol of powerful and friendly Georgian nation; walk on the Rustaveli Avenue – the main street of Tbilisi with its entertainment centers, museums and the governmental house. Dinner and Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 6, May 26, Saturday: Breakfast served. Drive to Uplistsikhe is the large complex of natural caves which has been inhabited from pre-Christian times and it served as an important trade center on the historic Silk Road until 12th century.Drive to Gori-city-birthplace of Joseph Stalin. Visit of house where Joseph Stalin was born.
Mtskheta - the ancient capital of Georgia is situated 20km from Tbilisi. Scientists date the town back to the 2nd millennium B.C. Mtskheta was the capital of Georgian Kingdom of Iberia during 500BC - 500AD. Here Georgians accepted Christianity in the beginning of 4th century.
Visit Jvari (Holy Cross) Monastery (6th c.). Visible for miles and it makes the importance of this religious site for all Georgians and overlooks this religious site for all and overlooks the confluence of two major rivers, the Argavi and the Mktvari. Svetitskhoveli (“The Column of Life”) Cathedral (11th c.) was built on the site of the former Zoastrian temple, to mark Georgian conversion to Christianity in 337AD. Drive to Tbilisi. Dinner and Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 7, May 27, Sunday: Breakfast served. After breakfast drive to the North! The Ananuri fortress stands beside the famous Georgian Military Highway overlooking a large lake. Its high, turreted stone walls protect two churches, a watch tower, a spring and reservoir. Drive back to Tbilisi and Lunch.
CITY TOUR! Sioni cathedral, the main cathedral of Georgia, where services are held by the archbishop of Georgia each Sunday. Sameba cathedral - tallest church in the Caucasus. Statue to Mother of Georgia (“Kartlis Deda”) - the symbol of powerful and friendly Georgian nation; walk on the Rustaveli Avenue – the main street of Tbilisi with its entertainment centers, museums and the governmental house.
Dinner and Overnight in Tbilisi
Day 8, May 28, Monday: Breakfast served. After breakfast we drive to a small town of Sighnaghi (16th c) - one of the most beautiful towns of Georgia. Its attractiveness is largely defined both by the age-old architectural sites and its natural characteristics: the Town is located on a hilltop and looks over the boundless area of the Alazani Valley and the snow-covered Caucasian mountains. We wonder along the cute streets of the town. Gverabi – ancient cave winery where you will have a chance to taste, purchase and enjoy fine Georgian wine. Lunch on the hill top. The Monastery of St. Nino at Bodbe. Originally was built in the 9th century. The monastery now functions as a nunnery and is one of the major pilgrimage sites in Georgia, due to its association with St. Nino, the 4th century female evangelist of Georgians, whose relics are shrines there. Dinner and Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 9, May 29, Tuesday: Breakfast served and Check out form the Hotel. Depart Tbilisi. Passing Georgian/Armenian Border we will continue our trip to the Southern part of Armenia. Continuing our journey across Armenia’s ever changing landscape, we will travel to the lush environs of Dilijan: “A piece of Switzerland in Armenia”. Old Town Dilijan is complete with craftsmen’s workshops, small shops with traditional Armenian products and crafts, and a museum showing typical 19th century living with all its local customs and handmade wood furnishings. 10-13th centuries Haghartsin and Goshavank Monasteries.
Lake Sevan: “The emerald of Armenia”, and the biggest lake in present-day Armenia. Set some 1900m above sea level, Lake Sevan is situated high in the mountains and is famed for its glorious and ever changing hues. Upon arrival, we will stop by the lakeside churches at the top of the peninsula, and have a chance to admire a spectacularly picturesque scene overlooking the lake and distant mountains. There is a story which tells us that a famous archimandrite had a vision, in which the twelve Apostles gave their blessing to this land and instructed the building of churches on this island. Indeed the vision became true. The churches were built and one of them was named after the apostles - St. Araqelots Church. Lunch in Sevan. Dinner and Overnight in Sevan.
Day 10, May 30, Wednesday: Breakfast served - Check out. Noraduz -“Forest of Khachkars - Cross Stones”: masterpiece of stone art; Selim Caravanserai the part of “Silk road” on the way from Gegharkunik to the Vayots Dzor, the unique inn was founded as a transit point along the most famous of the caravan routes of old. The Aerial Tramway of Tatev - spanning 5.7 kilometers across the spectacular Vorotan River Gorge, offer a spectacular journey with breathtaking views of the river gorge below, but most significantly, it will link you to one of the jewels of Armenia's medieval legacy - Tatev Monastery as well the Tatev Aerial Tramway - the longest passenger aerial tramway in the world - is poised to be one of southern Armenia's most popular attractions. Arriving Tatev you will see the picturesque monastery nestled at the top of an impregnable plateau, crowned by the ramparts walls from the upper part of the territory. After you will have time to discover the interior of the monastery which was founded in the 4th cent., becoming an important religious and educational center of medieval Armenia in 9-10th c. Lunch-picnic in the foothills, with the rare view of Tatev Monastery. Dinner and Overnight in Goris.
Day 11, May 31, Thursday: Breakfast served – Check out. Enjoy a shorter walk today in the town of Sisian to Karahunge - 7000-year-old Observatory, the “twin” of the English Stonehenge but more ancient; clouded in mystery, the ancient stone circle of Karahunge is an amazing feat of engineering and the most important pre-historic site in Armenia, but beyond its archeological significance and possible astronomical role, Karahunge is also holds a mystical charm. Karahunge continues to enthrall the imagination and captivate the heart of every visitor.
Noravank monastery (9th – 14th centuries): “Human-and-nature-created wonders” and unrepeatable view of the nature
Lunch in Noravank. Enjoy and taste a guided wine in the famous “Areni Wine Factory” as in Armenia: “Wine is bottled poetry”; Khor Virap Monastery (St. Gregory the Illuminator’s underground pit); amazing view of Biblical Mt. Ararat: “The blessed Mountain for Armenians”. Return Yerevan and Hotel accommodation. Evening: Dinner.
Day 12, June 1, Friday: Breakfast served. Free day in Yerevan. Use to explore the city by yourself. Evening: Say goodbye to Armenia at the FAREWELL DINNER in a classic Armenian Restuarant with live Armenian music and Folk Dances, capping off your journey with unforgettable memories.
May 13, June 2, Saturday: Transfer to airport.
Note: Itinerary is subject to change at any time.
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