8 days tour through sights & culture of Armenia
So what to do and what to see in Armenia? I think that nobody would stay indifferent after the tour to this amazing country! We will explore the whole country and see its sacred and ancient places. Did you know that Armenia is the first country in the world that accepted Christianity as state religion? That is why when Armenians came to live to any area – they started to build a church first of all, and only because of church they could save their culture and identity through centuries! Every ancient monastery here is a silent keeper of different secrets and amazes view with its beauty and magnificence!
But Armenia is famous not only with its monasteries and churches. Armenia has beautiful nature – mountains, caves and waterfalls and it has delicious food cooked with old traditional recipes. But the main treasure of Armenia is its nice and hospitable people! They value friendship and family ties and are ready to give their last piece to a guest! Here you will experience what is real Caucasian Hospitality which is impossible to miss 🙂 So be ready for long conversations, noisy and funny tableful and many good new friends which you will find for sure in this amazing country!
Day 1. We start our travel to Armenia! Excursion around Yerevan and Noah or Ararat Brandy factory.
– Today we will meet you in Yerevan and will explore the city. Different historical sources say that Yerevan is from 4000 to 6000 years old. But today Yerevan is absolutely modern and cozy city with wide streets, parks and fountains. Depending upon your arrival time we will try to visit as much as possible of Yerevan attractions. The Armenian genocide Museum – it is impossible to feel the culture of Armenians without knowledge about their strongest pain and sorrow. The Iranian Blue Mosque – the only mosque saved in Armenia after Persian period of Armenian history. If possible, we will walk around the city or visit pottery workshop to learn about Armenian pottery craft.
– Armenian Brandy which is called cognac here is a quality standard and a drink with long and interesting biography. Today there are 2 leading brandy factories in Armenia – Ararat and Noah. Years ago they’ve been a single factory but it was divided during crisis period. So Ararat has got a brand name and new building with equipment and Noah staid in old historical building where Armenian brandy craft was born. These 2 factories both are very interesting, but we will visit only one of them by decision of majority of our group. And of course it will be excursion with tasting ;-)
– In the evening we’ll have a welcome dinner in the cozy Armenian restaurant. After dinner we can walk around night Yerevan on the way to the hotel.
Day 2. Main attractions of Armenia – Garni Temple and Geghard monastery and real Armenian tableful with Armenian family!
– As I always say, real Armenia is experienced outside of big cities in its monasteries and villages. Garni Temple is a unique architectural monument, the only pagan temple around all Soviet Union countries that was not destroyed! Garni Temple is dedicated to Mitra, god of sun. We will learn about history of the Temple and teleport somewhere to Ancient Greece or Roman Empire as Garni architecture is very similar to ancient period of these Empires.
– Coming from Roman Empire back to Armenia we’ll walk to unique natural monument – “Basalt Symphony” or “Stone Symphony”. This natural attraction is breathtaking! Huge basalt sticks are so scenic that look like a giant stone organ! And you start to imagine that orchestra conductor will appear, flap with his stick and the rock will start to sing with its thunder voice!
– Geghard Monastery is a unique place, because majority of its rooms are made right inside of the rock! Geghard monks made really huge efforts for us to admire the beauty of Geghard Monastery today! It has unbelievable acoustic and if we will be lucky enough, we will hear the singing of Geghard chorus singing.
– This evening will become the most exciting memories of the tour! Today we will meet big Armenian family and will have real Armenian tableful with a lot of guests, wine and delicious food! We will cook shashlik (traditional Armenian barbecue) and see the culture and lifestyle of Armenian family from inside! Those some of you can help with cooking or maybe with milking a cow :-)
Day 3. Amberd fortress at the Aragats mountain, Sevanavank Monastery and khachkar cemetery Noratus.
– In the morning we will visit Amberd Fortress. It is a military fortification of X-XIII century. Unfortunately it was damaged after several wars with Persians, Turks and Mongols and now we can see only ruins. But nevertheless it still has proud and majestic appearance. Its good location from military point of view is very beautiful, the fortress is surrounded by scenic gorges from 3 sides. Near Amberd Fortress there is a small but very cozy Vahramashen Church. The church together with fortress make a very beautiful scenery together!
– Lunch with a view of Sevan Lake. Armenian cuisine consists mostly of dishes made of meat, vegetables and fruits, but Armenians who live near Sevan Lake (so-called Armenian Sea) has plenty of dishes made of fish and cancers! That’s why today we’ll have an opportunity to taste legendary sigfish and cancer kebab!
– Then we’ll go to a beautiful Sevanavank Monastery of IX century. We will admire beautiful scenery of Sevan Lake from here and see unusual khachkar that was made during the period when Armenia was occupied by Mongols.
– Noratus cemetery could be a regular cemetery like many other in Armenia if not the fact that a lot of cemeteries were destroyed by Persians, Turks and Mongols during many wars. That is why Noratus is the only one ancient cemetery in Armenia that stayed undestroyed till now. It is also called Cemetry of Khachkars. Khachkar is a unique type of art that you can meet only in Armenia. It is a stone plate covered with national ornaments and has image of cross. People used them as decorative inserts in the walls of monasteries and houses, monuments in the streets and squares and tombstones. You will see a lot of different khachkars during our tour, but Noratus is the highest concentration of them! Here we can find khachkars that are around 1000 years old! Also here you will learn about interesting Armenian burial tradition – to make scenes of person’s life at his tombstone like character features, profession, etc. This is made for other people to know who this person was during his life.
– Then we are moving to Tsaghkadzor. In winter time it is very popular ski resort, in summer people come here to visit sanatoriums, but we are going to visit a beautiful Kecharis Monastery here.
– After Tsaghkadzor we will go to Dilijan city for dinner that became famous after Soviet movie “Mimino”. Here we’ll visit a monument to its main heroes and tell some funny things about the movie. After dinner we will move to the city of Alaverdi.
Day 4. UNESCO day: Akhtala, Sanahin, and Haghpat Monasteries and khachkar workshop.
– Today we will visit the Northern trinity of unique Armenian monasteries. Haghpat Monastery and Sanahin Monastery are under UNESCO protection and Akhtala Monastery that has non-typical architecture and the only monastery in Armenia with big volume of original murals on the walls!
– By this day you will see a lot of beautiful khachkars and learn about what they are. That is why today we’ll visit a khachkar master who keeps traditions of ancient masters and now make his own unique khachkars! We will visit his workshop and have nice chatting with this positive and kind person who loves his craft with all his heart.
– After that we will go back to Yerevan with a stop at the Armenian Alphabet Monument.
Day 5. Echmiadzin Cathedral, Noravank and Khor Virap Monastery with beautiful view to Ararat Mountain.
– Echmiadzin Monastery is the most sacred place and spiritual center of Armenians! During the tour we’ll visit a lot of monasteries but you won’t find such rich interiors anywhere but Echmiadzin! We will visit the treasury of Echmiadzin and see its main relic – the spearhead which Jesus Christ was pierced when He was crucified.
– Khor Virap Monastery is one of Armenian symbols that you will see at postcards and advertising brochures. And it is so expected because Khor Virap is located in unbelievably scenic place with amazing view of sacred Ararat Mountain – the main symbol of Armenia! Researches of historians and archeologists say that Noah’s Arc was landed right at the Ararat Mountain after The Great Float. Unfortunately, now Ararat Mountain is located outside of Armenian borders.
– After dinner we will go to another beautiful place – Noravank Monastery which is surrounded with red rocks! From Noravank we are moving to Goris, the very East of Armenia!
Day 6. Flying on the “Wings of Tatev” and secrets of the stone (cave) city Khndzoresk.
– In the morning we will walk around cave city Khndzoresk. The city was built at the slope of the mountain and people used to live in handmade caves before. It was easier to hide from enemies (the city was not visible from the top) and to defend the city in case of attacks. Khndzoresk was a real city and had more than 8000 citizens during its best time. The city had everything – churches, schools, hospitals, shops and barbershops. Later citizens of Khndzoresk relocated to the top as it was better for trading and easier to contact with the world. The interesting fact is that last family left the city around 50 years ago! We will visit a small museum here and to have an excursion from the head of museum who was born in Khndzoresk and lived in the cave with his parents in childhood.
– After Khndzoresk we will visit Tatev Monastery – another symbol of Armenia which is located in unbelievably beautiful area surrounded with mountains. We will reach the monastery flying on the “Wings of Tatev” – the longest funicular in the world! Its length is 5752 meters (around 19000 feet)!
Day 7. Bathing in geyser and the most beautiful waterfalls of Armenia – Shaki and Jermuk waterfalls!
– Today we are going back to Yerevan. On the way we will visit one of the most mysterious places of Armenia – Zorats Karer or Karaunj which is called Armenian Stonehenge. This is a place with concentration of sharpened stones dug in the ground. Some of these stones have holes at the top. The meaning of these stones doesn’t clear for 100% now, but most probable version is that Karaunj was an ancient observatory because placing of stones is very similar to placing of stars in the sky.
– After Zorats Karer we are going to visit the most beautiful waterfall in Armenia – Shaki waterfall!
– Armenia is famous with its clean and tasty water and there are a lot of places with sparkling water that flows from underground! One of such places is Jermuk and today there are a lot of famous sanatoriums there. We will visit the Water Gallery here to drink some healthy water.
– Jermuk waterfall is the most unusual in Armenia! Actually the water doesn’t fall here, but flows through the wide and steep slope. This is a very beautiful place and white flows of waterfall make them look like beautiful long hair of a young girl.
– Did you think that bathing in geyser is possible only in Iceland? Not really 🙂 We will go to real geyser not far from Jermuk with water temperature of 30°C (86°F) all year round! We will go there by real off-road car, just because there is no real road to this geyser! Just imagine, you are sitting in the bath made by nature and the real geyser flow beats right under you! These are very interesting feelings to experience!
– We’ll have a stop at winery village Areni for dinner to taste good food and homemade wine before going back to Yerevan.
Day 8. Good bye Armenia! Hope we will meet with you again one day!
– Today is the last day of our tour in small and hospitable Armenia! Depending of your departure time we will visit Vernissage – the market of traditional crafts or food market of Yerevan to buy gifts or Armenian delicacies for your relatives and friends. So be ready for long goodbyes, strong hugs, laughing, tears and promises that we will meet each other again in Armenia, in your country or somewhere else in the world!
WHAT IS INCLUDED:
- Group airport transfers on arrival and departure
- Transport on tour
- Accommodation in hostels or 3* and 4*-5* hotels accommodation in twin-rooms by your option.
- Food: Daily breakfasts, dinner in Armenia family.
- Entry fees to attractions, sightseeings and entertainments
- Photos and movie about your adventures in Armenia
- Russian / English speaking guide. If your group needs translation to another language – please, mention it when booking.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED:
- Airfare: Your city – Yerevan – Your city
- Interpreter to another language (if not Russian/English). If your group needs for translation in your language, please, mention about it when booking
- Travel medical insurance (if necessary)
- Visa fees
- Lunches and dinners that are not mentioned above and alcohol (10$ per day, 15$ with alcohol)
- Souvenirs, tips and other personal expenses
- Optional entertainments that are not included in program
- Individual transfers during free time
- Additional payment for single accomodation