Lost And Found Treasures in West Armenia
- Duration : 10 days / 9 nights
Meet and greet at the airport. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 2/Yerevan city tour
After breakfast at the hotel, the pink and ancient and at the same time cheerful city will welcome you in all its modesty and luxury. Yerevan is 29 years older than Rome. The city is situated on the left bank of the river Hrazdan, rushing across the Ararat valley. It is impossible to imagine Yerevan without the famous Opera and Ballet House, The Republic Square with its colorful fountains and the Government House. Mount of Ararat forms an indispensable part of Yerevan. An unforgettable view can be enjoyed just on top of the Cascade monument. From here the whole city seems to be in your hand. Ararat is straight ahead and the quadruple peaks of Mount Aragats right on the left. After a bit of morning fresh air it will be the exact time to taste traditional Armenian dishes. After which we will get acquainted with the techniques of weaving, dying, restoring Armenian rugs and carpets in Megerian carpet weaving factory. Armenian rugs and carpets are famous all around the globe. A ten minutes’ drive from the suburbs of Yerevan will take us back to the city center to pay a visit to the Manuscript Depository Matenadaran. The 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. The manuscripts include almost all of the areas of ancient and medieval Armenian culture and sciences in different languages. The building guards the most ancient parchment book that is the Gospel of Lazarus written in 887. Visitors can also see the biggest and the heaviest Armenian manuscript, weighing 34 kilograms. Matenadaran is probably one of the rare museums in the world illustrating manuscripts. Welcome dinner with a folk show. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 3/Yerevan – Lake Sevan – Dilijan – Haghpat – Dsegh – Dzoraget
After breakfast at the hotel we will drive to the pearl of Armenia – Lake Sevan. Located at about 2000 meters above the sea level, it is one of the greatest freshwater high-mountain lakes of Eurasia. Walking up the stairs on the semi peninsula, we will appear in the former summer residence of the Armenian king Ashot the Iron, who received his name thanks to the numerous glorious victories. During the 8th century a few monks settled on the former island of Sevan and began to build their churches. Due to the strategically good location, many others came here. With the time the walls of the monastery were destroyed and in 1930 the last monk left the monastery. A thirty minutes’ drive will take us to the wonderfully forested region of Tavush to enjoy 19th century appearance of the town. This wonderfully green 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.” The next stop will be in a lovely village, called Haghpat. The village is proud with its magnificent Monastic Complex of Haghpat (UNESCO) built in the 10th century by the Queen Khosrovanush during the reign of the king Ashot Bagratuni III. We will then pay a visit to the house museum of a renowned Armenian writer Hovhannes Tumanyan in the fairytale village of Dsegh. The house is a typical example of an old Armenian village life life. Dinner and overnight in Dzoraget.
Day 4/Dzoraget – Ani – Bayazet
After an early breakfast at the hotel, we will drive to the Armenia – Georgia border Bavra, pass through the regions of Javakhk and Akhaltskha, then cross Georgia – Turkey border. A drive along beautiful mountains and forests will take us to the city of Kars, then Ani, which is known as the “city of a thousand and one churches”. Between 961 and 1045 Ani was the mighty capital of the Armenian Kingdom. Walking in the city we will see powerful walls and towers, streets, luxurious temples (Mother Cathedral, St. All Saviour, Tigran Honents, Gagikashen, St. Arakelots), all surviving from the Middle Ages. We will continue the tour driving to Bayazet. Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Bayazet.
Day 5/Bayazet – Van – Aghtamar – Mush
After breakfast in the morning we will enjoy a nice view to the Mount Ararat. We will depart from Bayazet, and driving through Tondrak Mountain Pass, we will appear in Vaspurakan. On the way we will have a stop at the picturesque waterfall of Berkir. In Van we will pay a visit to the 9th century BC Van Fortress. The impressive cuneiform inscriptions and tombs of the Kings Sardur and Argishti (it was the king Argishti who founded Yerevan) have been preserved here. We will then drive to the port near Vostan-Guevash and will cruise to Aghtamar – a nice island in the azure lake, where the incomparable 10th century church of St. Cross is situated. St. Cross is considered to be the masterpiece of the Armenian and world ecclesiastical architecture in the middle ages. From outside it is covered with engravings of religious themes, from inside walls are covered with paintings. We will have a rest in Aghtamar and enjoy swimming in the lake. During lunch we will taste Chalcalburnus tarichi – the only fish living in the lake. Driving through Tavros Mountains, Datvan city, Nemrut Mountain, we will get to Mush valley. Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Mush.
Day 6/Mush – Erzrum – Sarighamish
After breakfast at the hotel we will visit the ruins of St. Mariam church in the old district. We will then leave for the river Yeprat-Aratsani, where we will see the famous Sulukh Bridge. We will pass through the Mush valley and will get to theHavatamk Mountains, where the ruins of the impressive St. Karapet church are situated. We will continue the tour to the North – Great Hayk, to visit Erzrum to see the castle of Teodupolis, the building of Sanasaryan College, Madrasa Chifte Minare. We will then leave for Basen and see the Basen Castle not far from the main road. We will have a stop at the bridge near the junction of the rivers Araks and Murts. A peaceful drive along the Araks River and the Red Porak Mountains will take us to Sarighamish. Dinner and overnight in Sarighamish.
Day 7/Sarighamish – Kars – Gyumri
After breakfast at the hotel, we will have an opportunity to breathe the fresh and freezing air of Sarighamish forests. We will continue the tour in Kars to see the beautiful buildings built by Armenians in the 19-20th centuries, as well as Kars Castle (the royal residence of the Bagratuni family), Vardan Bridge surviving from the middle ages, the ruinsYeghishe Charents house, the impressive church of St. Arakelots (10th century). We will then continue driving to the Turkish – Georgian border, pass through Akhaltskha and Akhalkalaki, cross Georgian – Armenian border, have dinner and overnight in the city of Gyumri.
Day 8/Gyumri – Amberd – Byurakan – Echmiadzin – Yerevan
After breakfast at the hotel we will have a short tour in the city of Gyumri. Gyumri was once the most pleasant, vivid and wonderful city of Armenia. It was also an education and art center for all Armenians around the world. The first Armenian opera performance was staged in Gyumri in 1912. Eleven years later the first theatre hosted the first spectators. Being the center of arts and entertainment, Gyumri was and actually still is the capital of humor. Many great artists originated from this city of warmth and sunshine. We will continue the tour to the Fortress of Amberd - a 7th-century fortress located 2,300 meters (7,500 ft) above the sea level, on the slopes of Mount Aragats, at the confluence of the Arkashen and Amberd rivers. The name translates to "fortress in the clouds" in Armenian. It is also the name incorrectly attributed to Vahramashen Church, the 11th-century Armenian Church near the castle. The village of Byurakan, where we are going to taste traditional dishes, is located 6.4 kilometres from the site of Amberd. On the way to Yerevan we will stop at the Mother See of the Armenian Catholicos – Echmiadzin Cathedral (4th century). According to most scholars, it was the first cathedral (but not the first church) built in ancient Armenia, and is considered the oldest cathedral in the world. Dinner and overnight in Yerevan.
Day 9/Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Yerevan
After breakfast at the hotel, we will visit Tsitsernakaberd Memorial and the Genocide Museum devoted to the victims of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire in 1915. A nice drive along the Avan Canyon will take us to the top destinations of Armenia: the Temple of Garni and the Monastery of Geghard. The fortress of Garni is thought to have been founded in the 1st century BC and was dedicated to the God of the sun Mihr. The temple is comprised of 24 columns and symbolized the 24 hours of the day. The temple remained standing until the sixteenth century, and was destroyed in 1679 because of the devastating earthquake in Armenia. The Monastery of Geghard (UNESCO) is another architectural complex of high value. The complex is situated on a wild narrow mountain gorge of unusual beauty. The Monastery of Geghard (geghard means “spear”) is a unique architectural construction. The chapel was built in 1215, but the monastic complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator, as the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. The monastery had thus originally been named Ayrivank, meaning “the monastery of the cave”. Nowadays nothing has remained of the structure of Ayrivank. The monastery was destroyed by the Arabs in the 9-10th centuries, and the architectural parts that survived, belong for the most part to the 12-13th centuries. According to the inscription on the west door, there is a church dating from 1215 inside the monastery walls. Drive to Yerevan. *Optional: wine and grape spa – a unique procedure in the whole world. Farewell dinner and overnight in Yerevan.
Transfer to the airport. Departure.
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The rates include*
- Accommodation at a hotel
- Transfer to. from the airport
- Transfer during the tours in a comfortable air conditioned car or bus
- Guide and driver services
- Meals (BB): Breakfast at the hotel
- Entrance tickets to all museums and attractions
- A bottle of water per person per day
- Company presents
- Porterage at the hotels 24 hour service
- Maps of Armenia and Yerevan
The rates do not include*
- Air tickets
- Travel insurance
- Meals except described
- Armenia visa fee
- Georgia visa fee
- Turkey visa fee Tips
- Medieval vocal concert in Geghard Monastery (lasts 30 minutes) – 150 EUR total
- Opera and Ballet Theatre – starting from 6 EUR per person
- Tonacuyc Theatre – 150 EUR total
- Cooking Master Class – 20 EUR per person
- Dinner (including wine) and big folk show in Ararat Restaurant – 50 EUR per person
- Lavash baking master class – 16 EUR per person
- One full day trip to Mount Aragats for unforgettable views and Armenian style breakfast
- Balloon flight - starting from 145 EUR