For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life.
- John 3:16
Day 1: Arrive at Zvartnotz International Airport Meeting; Transfer to Hotel. Check in. Rest.
Day 2: Breakfast served. Dying, you destroyed our death; raising you restored our life. Save us by your cross, Christ our Redeemer. Feast of exaltation of the holy cross. Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is the last one of the five major feasts of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is the most important feast among the feasts dedicated to the Holy Cross, as it is dedicated to the history of the return of the Holy Cross from imprisonment, its elevation and glorification. For Christians the Cross is God’s power and strength and pride of all prides, on by which Christ’s innocent blood was shed. By means of the Cross Jesus proved His love towards mankind, and the Cross became for us the symbol of hope, love and salvation.
Today we embark on our Journey to the lands of ancient treasures of Christian history. Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, you will also participate in the DIVINE LITURGY of Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It's the "religious capital" of the country and the seat of the Supreme Patriarch-Catholics of all Armenians. It has 4 main churches, including the Cathedral. Built in 303AD, the cathedral is a masterpiece of Armenian classical architecture and considered to be one of the world’s earliest Christian churches. Admire Hripsime and Gayane Churches (7th c) named after faithful virgins. Lunch in Etchmiatsin.
Day 3: Breakfast served. Ashtarak – where you can find numerous churches and various ancient buildings at every turn; 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. Oshakan – most famous as the last resting place of Mesrop Mashtots; Lunch and traditional table/lavash making: "Eat thy bread with joy"; with a local family, where you will experience the true hospitality of Armenian people.
Day 4: Breakfast served. Yerevan rose-colored capital as well most of its buildings use a pink shade of "tuf" stone which is quarried in Armenia. This is the most prominent feature of Yerevan to be "Pink Yerevan..."
Acquaintance with Yerevan should start with Erebouni museum and Fortress which was founded in 782 B.C., 29 years before Rome, the “Eternal City”, was built; Republic Square, Yerevan State University, 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; Cascade and Gerard Cafesjian Art Museum, which is Armenia’s largest repository of modern art with the Sculpture Garden at the base of the Cascade.“Victory” Park with panoramic view of Yerevan and Mt. Ararat. Lunch in Yerevan – Armenian Traditional Restaurant.
Day 5: Breakfast served. Visit to Lake Sevan – the emerald of Armenia, a beauty under the sky. Lake Sevan is considered to be one of the biggest lakes in the world with sweet water situated at the altitide of 1,897 meters above sea level. This gorgeous view to Lake Sevan is opened from the peninsula atop which Sevan Monastery which is nicely nestled, dating to the 9th century; Dilijan: “A piece of Switzerland in Armenia” - Earth and sky, woods and fields, rivers, the mountains are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn otherwise… The old approach in the new century ... “Old Town Dilijan” complete with craftsmen workshops, small shops with traditional Armenian products and crafts, museum,showing typical 19th century living with all its local customs and handmade wood furnishings 10-13th centuries Haghartsin Monastery; Lunch in Sevan.
Day 6: Breakfast served. Khor Virap Monastery (St. Gregory the Illuminator’s underground pit); amazing view of Biblical Mt. Ararat: “The blessed Mountain for Armenians Driving via the fertile plains of Ararat valley you reach “Areni Winery” as in Armenia: “Wine is bottled poetry”; you'll taste and enjoy a guided tour of the winery. After this we take the path through the narrow gorge, you reveal “Human-and-natural-created wonder” - Noravank Monastery. Lunch in Noravank.
Day 7: Breakfast served. Free day. Armenia Independence Day. Independence Day celebrates the birthday of the Second Republic of Armenia. Founded on September 21, 1991, after 70 years of Soviet rule, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Armenia will celebrate it's 19th anniversaries this year (2010). The 21st of September is a time for the Red, Blue and Orange. A time for Parades and Marching Bands and "Bombs Bursting in Air." So join us for this birthday celebration of Armenia.
Day 8: Breakfast served. Matenadaran - Depository and Museum of ancient manuscripts, The museum of Sergei Parajanov's works - his graphics, dolls, collages, photographs, 23 screenplays and librettos of unrealized productions in cinema, theater, ballet. It is an adornment and pride of any city. “Vernissage”– outdoor market featuring hand made arts and crafts. Lunch in Yerevan.
Day 9: Breakfast served. Garni the rare pre-Christian pagan monument maintained in Armenia; wonderful canyon of Garni, where you can see magnificent sheer vertical cliffs, which look manmade; Geghard (Cave monastery) architectural complex in the 12-13th century, cut in one monolithic rock. Lunch.
Day 10: Breakfast served. “Noy” ARARAT Brandy, Wine Factory: “…one does not drink brandy, one derives pleasure from it.” Just let's do it in one of the oldies factories in "Noy" Yerevan Brandy factory; “Megerian Rugs” Factory & Show room: Which brings together time-honored traditions and a rang of exquisite aesthetics to create objects of art for modern living; Pak Shuka - a covered bazaar where you can taste the rich yield of our Blessed Ground such as luscious fresh and dried fruits, flavorsome vegetables and delicacies; Lunch in Yerevan.
Day 11: Breakfast served. Vanadzor City – the historical and modern center of the province of Lori; Alaverdy is called a town in a canyon, between Yerevan and Georgia - it is famous for its copper mines. Dsegh Village beautiful and magnificent mountains, rolling green hills, singing brooks, streams and rivers accompany you until the village where is situated the Home/Museum of famous Armenian writer Hovhannes Toumanyan; Lunch; We proceed to another outstanding masterpiece of Armenian architecture Haghpat Monastery (World UNESCO Heritage) in which artistic merits transcended the limits of the national culture.
Day 12: Breakfast served. Free day. Evening: Farewell Party Dinner in the restaurant with Armenian traditional cuisine and folklore live music.
Day 13: Transfer.
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