09 DAYS PEARLS OF ARMENIA

Note : click titles for details of program
Meet and greet at the airport. Transfer to the hotel. Check in at the hotel. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
After breakfast at the hotel we will walk to explore the ancient city of Yerevan, which is 29 years older than Rome. This pink and cheerful city welcomes all its visitors in all its modesty and luxury. The city has witnessed four settlement phases from the end of the 4th millennium BC to the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. Lying on the main trade routes between East and West, Yerevan was constantly fought back and forth during the course of the time. We will enjoy our time in the fascinating weather of the sunny Yerevan while walking around Cascade Monument. It has 2780 stairs designating the 2780 anniversary of the capital city. If we walk up the “huge staircase” of 500 meters height and 50 meters width, we can enjoy the wonderful panorama of the city with the spectacular Opera House, Mount Ararat as well as the view to the whole city. We will then pay a visit to the depository of ancient manuscripts Matenadaran. This unique institution is a major center for study and preservation of Armenian works of ancient literature. Now it protects about 16477 surviving materials and around 300,000 archive documents, among them about 2500 fragments collected in the depository. Later we will drive to the Castle Museum Erebuni. Later we will taste the legendary Armenian cognac in the Yerevan Brandy Factory to learn the history and techniques of cognac production in the homeland of cognac. Dinner in the most favorite traditional restaurant with a folk show. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will explore the most ancient cathedral in Armenia and one of the oldest cathedrals around the world - Holy See of Armenian Catholicos (UNESCO) - 4th century. As the seat of the Armenian Catholicos, the cathedral protects miraculous relics of the Armenian church – the Lance, the hand of St. Gregory the Illuminator, the hand of the Apostle Thaddeus, a finger of St. Jude, a drop of St. Hripsime''s blood, many more. The place where the Cathedral sits is not an occasional one. It is said that Gregory the Illuminator had a vision in his dream that Jesus descended from heaven and pointed to the place where the Cathedral of Echmiadzin is currently situated. Thus, the name Echmiadzin means “the coming of the only begotten”. After lunch at a most traditional environment, we will drive to the city of Ashtarak to enjoy “Tonacuyc” open air theatre and will take part in the illustration of traditional customs and traditions. We will drive back to Yerevan with a stop near the 7th century Temple of Zvartnots (UNESCO). The structure stands out among others with its unique architectural solutions. In Yerevan we will pay a tribute to the victims of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire in 1915. During these mass killings more than 1.5 million people were massacred and many more were spread around the world, thus, forming a huge Armenian Diaspora. Now there is a Genocide Museum on Tsitsernakaberd Hill, telling generations about that horrible part of the history. Dinner at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
After breakfast at the hotel we will pay a visit to the Monastery of Khor Virap, where we can enjoy the best view to the Biblical Mount Ararat. This is the very place where Christianity was spread in Armenia in 301 AD, and the very place where the first Armenian Catholicos Gregory the Illuminator was jailed for long 13 years for disseminating Christianity in Armenia. Drive to Areni Wine Factory for degustation of delicate Armenian wine. Armenia is famous with its deeply rooted wine making culture. Thus, the tradition of wine making in Armenia comes from times immemorial and the secrets of this marvelous country are still being explored. The discovery of 6100 year old winery in this region is a perfect proof for that. The winery discovered in the village of Areni quite recently in 2007 is the oldest proved winery facility in the world. The archaeological expeditions in this area have discovered numerous relics of wine producing culture in Armenia including various fermentation vats, wine press, storage jars, pottery shards of different sizes, metallic and stone artifacts, remains of clothing and many other things referring to wine making and the household of those times. In fifteen minutes’ drive we will appear in a most unusual and peaceful spot – Noravank Monastery. The whole magic of Noravank (13th century) trip attracts a traveler just at the point of turning the road to the Monastery. The narrow road leading to the monastery is blocked by beautiful rocks on both sides. And after a few minutes’ drive we will appear on the rock where the complex is situated. Once there high above the main road we have the impression as if we are in heaven, and if we stretch our hand we will touch the sky. Continue driving to Goris town. Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Goris.
After breakfast at the hotel we will start the tour in the captivating nature of Syunik Province, 8 km away from the town of Goris. Here we can find ourselves in the past and see the cave dwellings that the primeval people lived in. Surprisingly though, people still lived there some 60 years ago notwithstanding the development of science and life in general. The sight is called Khndzoresk, a place where a visitor can feel as if the time stopped at some point in the past just for us to admire all the beauty of the wildness. The caves, many of which were carved by men, were used not only as dwellings, but also as a military base. According to an Armenian Catholicos, the houses were situated 20-30 meters far from each other and the inhabitants had to go up and down with the help of ropes. The roof of each cave house was kind of a garden for the other making the impression of a block of flats. Continue the tour to the 9th century Tatev Monastery. Perched atop the Vorotan River Gorge, this monastic complex was an important political stronghold and one of Armenia’s most advanced medieval universities hosting students in humanitarian sciences. Because of its forbidding location, it was once hard to access, but now a 5.7 kilometer long cableway (Wings of Tatev) has been built to take visitors to the monastery, offering an exciting journey with breathtaking views over the river gorge bellow. In about an hour drive, we will explore the oldest in the world Stonehenge (Karahunj or Zorats Karer), which is no longer in England. This archaeological site, which dates back to the second millennium BC, is spread on a rocky promontory near the city of Sisian in the province of Syunik 1770 meters high above the sea level. Thus, we can boast of having the oldest astronomical observatory ever found in the history even older than the British Stonehenge and even the pyramids in Egypt. This is another evidence of primeval civilization in Armenia existing from times immemorial, when neither Mesopotamia, nor Egypt, nor any other civilization on earth existed. Continue driving to Vayk town. Dinner and overnight in Vayk.
After breakfast at the hotel, start the tour exploring some Silk Road Trails. Driving along the rapid turns and enjoying the breathtaking view all around, up and down, we will stop at Selim Caravanserai. Built along the Selim Pass, the caravanserai once hosted the weary travelers and their beast of burden passing by. This unique architectural monument of Medieval Armenia is a splendid relic of the days when Armenia was a crossroad for economical, cultural and military affairs. Drive to Sevan with a stop at the village of Noratus. The village is famous for its cemetery of cross-stones, the largest one in the territory of Armenia. Many khachkhars in the cemetery of Noratus, date back to the 13-17th centuries, and the oldest one was carved in the 10th century. The cemetery is spread over a seven hectare field containing almost one thousand khachkars each of them depicting unique ornamentation. Several tombstones in the cemetery depict carved scenes of weddings and farm life. After a short drive, we will enjoy the pearl of Armenia, Lake Sevan. Lake Sevan has a unique combination of great size, high mountain location, and comparatively “soft water”. Lake Sevan is one of the greatest freshwater high-mountain lakes of Eurasia. It is located at about 2000 meters above the sea level. Here we will have an opportunity to taste the fish from the lake. We will then explore the summer residence of the Favorite Armenian King Ashot the Iron (Ashot Erkat) – Sevanavank Monastery (9th century). Drive to Dilijan. Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Dilijan.
After breakfast at the hotel, have a walk in the wonderfully forested region of Dilijan to enjoy the 19th century appearance of the town. This wonderfully forested region is rich in mineral waters. Some of them are compared with Wichi in France and Davos in Switzerland. Dilijan is “the Switzerland of Armenia.” Visit Haghartsin Monastery (10-13th c.c.). This monastery has its special place in the culture and architecture of Armenia. We will not notice the time pass when we will appear in the region of Lori to visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Armenia - Monasteries of Sanahin (10th century) and Haghpat (10th century). During the period from the 10-13th centuries, Sanahin was an important and reputable center of learning, where humanitarian sciences and medicine were taught. Scientific treatises were written, paintings and miniatures were created here. As for Haghpat, it was here in this holy site, that the great Armenian poet Sayat-Nova lived and created his wonderful songs and poems. Transfer to Yerevan. Dinner at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will then explore the top tourist attractions of Armenia: Garni Temple (a pagan temple built in 1st century, the only survival of the Hellenic epoch in the whole territory of the Caucasus) and the Monastery of Geghard (UNESCO). The monastery was first recorded in a document of 1250. Geghard is famous due to the relics, among which the most important one is the spear which had wounded Christ on the Cross presumably brought there by the Apostle Thaddeus. Here in Geghard, we can also watch the process of “lavash” baking in the traditional underground oven “tonir”, and enjoy the medieval vocal concert. We will then drive back to Yerevan with a stop at the Miracle Cave, a miraculous subterranean cave of 21 meters depth. After descending 80 stairs we find ourselves in a round hall, in a pavilion decorated with candles. Each person should enter here individually and making a wish they should light a candle. As the master used to say, a candle lit here by all means serves its purpose and the wish comes true. It took more than two decades to the Master to build this cave-shrine. This cave is often compared with the Noah’s Ark and considered to be the second ark which is to save the humanity not from flood but from fire. In Yerevan we will pay a visit to the carpet weaving factory of the famous Megerian Family. Here we will learn the techniques of dying, restoring, and weaving of Armenian carpets and rugs of the highest quality. Dinner by the most famous cook in Armenia right at the factory. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
Transfer to the airport. Departure.

Tour Includes

- Accommodation at a hotel on a DBL sharing basis.- Transfer to/from the airport in a comfortable air conditioned.- Transportation.- Transfers during the tours in a comfortable air conditioned.- Transportation.- Guide and driver services.- Meals (BB): breakfasts at the hotels.- 1 dinner.- Entrance tickets to all museums and attractions.- A bottle of water per person per day.- Company presents.- 24 hour service.- Maps of Armenia and Yerevan

Tour Does Not Include

- Air tickets.- Portage at the hotels.- Travel insurance.- Meals except described.- Armenia visa fee 3000 AMD (~7 USD)Tips

Available On Weekdays
Sunday
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Saturday

Available On Dates
1 March, 2017

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