This 14 days cultural tour is an attempt to reveal to you the beauty of Armenia and Georgia. Within the frames of this tour we will manage to get acquainted to Armenian and Georgian culture and nature. This tour includes both cultural and adventure elements. Armenia and Georgia are situated on the cross way of two cultures, so visit here will make you feel the mixture of these two (European and Asian).The visitors will have the chance to have the city tours in both Tbilisi And Yerevan. This tour includes visiting the cultural and historical monument of the both countries. We will have chance to be present at cultural events in Georgia and Armenia, as well as visit the natural treasures of these two countries. The first five days will be devoted to the discovery of the cultural and natural sightseeing in Armenia and the last several days will be spent in Georgia.
Duration: 14 days / 13 nights
Best Season: From April to October
Mode of travel: 4WD vehicles, minibuses, buses
Tour Support: Cultural tour guides in both countries
Included: Accommodation for 13 nights in tourist hotels
All activities as per itinerary with all entry fees and local guides
Travel permits in protected areas
Excluded: Optional activities
Depending on the time of the arrival we will try to do our best to get acquainted to Yerevan. We will move to the hotel, and then have free time in Yerevan and city tour. We will visit Matenadaran. Matenadaran is one of the oldest and richest book-depositories in the world. Its collection of about 17,000 manuscripts includes almost all of the areas of ancient and medieval Armenian culture and sciences – history, geography, grammar, philosophy, law, medicine, mathematics, cosmography, theory of calendar, alchemy, chemistry, translations, literature, chronology, art history, miniature, music and theatre, as well as manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Greek, Syrian, Latin, Ethiopian, Indian, Japanese and others. Street tour is also included. Street tour includes Republic Square, Yerevan State University, Victory Bridge, Tsitsernakaberd (1915 Genocide Memorial), Sports & Concerts complex, Kiev Bridge, Parliament, Palace of President, Academy of Sciences, Opera house. Depending on time we will also have a chance to visit State Museum of History of Armenia: The Museum was founded in 1919 by governmental decree of the First Republic of Armenia. The doors first opened to visitors in 1921. It is one of the world’s greatest repositories of Armenian art. Its vast collections, comprising about 400,000 items, represent Armenia’s material culture from the remote past to the present day. Transfer 15km. Overnight in Yerevan
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to St. Echmiadzin (Holy See). En route – Hripsime Church:
This is a masterpiece of architecture and a marvelous example of cross-cupola architecture of the 7th century. Weddings and baptisms are performed here on Saturdays and Sundays. Remnants of very old constructions were discovered under the temple in 1959 while the temple was being restored. Virgin’s tomb lies here in the crypt of the church.
Cathedral of St. Echmiadzin (UNESCO World Heritage). Liturgy (on Sundays only).
This oldest Christian temple was founded in 301 and is one of the first churches in the Christian World. Holy Mass takes place on Sundays in the Cathedral. It is an architectural monument of early Christianity. It houses a unique museum of religious artifacts. There is a small altar in the centre of the Cathedral where, according to legend, Christ descended from Heaven and with a golden hammer pointed to the site upon which the Cathedral was to be built. The remnants of a pagan temple have been discovered during excavations made inside the Cathedral. After visiting Echmiadzin the group will head to Amberd, one of the most amazing buildings of the land of Armenia. The fortress(13th-14th century) surrounded by volleys and deep gorges leaves a deep impression on the visitors. Return to Yerevan. En route – Zvartnots temple (UNESCO World Heritage): Zvartnots, built as Armenia’s main cathedral in 641-661, was to suppress Echmiadzin Cathedral by its grandeur and extraordinary artistic splendor. The building consisted of three polyhedrons with rich ornamentation of outer walls and capitals. Zvartnots collapsed as the result of an earthquake in 930 and was never restored. A few years ago the columns of the first floor were restored. The international airport Zvartnots is only a few kilometres from the area where the “angels have fallen down”.
Transfer 100km. Overnight in Yerevan
Breakfast at hotel. Half-day trip to Garni Pagan Temple and Geghard Monastery. This pagan temple of Garni was built in 1st. c. AC and was devoted to one of the Armenian Pagan Gods – Mitra. Garni was destroyed when the Arabs conquered Armenia but was rebuilt in the beginning of the 10th c. Its final destruction came in 1638 during the Turkish invasion. A violent earthquake buried what remained from it in 1679. The complete restoration of the temple began in 1970 and was over in 1978. The temple consists of dwellings and bath quarters built in the 3rd century in the Roman style. The fantastic landscape of Garni canyon shakes human imagination.
Proceed to Geghard Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage):
Geghard was initially known simply as Ayrivank (Cave Monastery). The present buildings comprising it date back to 10-13th cc., at which time it was renamed as Geghard meaning “lance” (spear) in Armenian. The name refers to the biblical lance used by a Roman soldier to pierce Christ’s body to find out if he was alive or not. The lance was kept in Geghard for a long time before being moved to the museum of Return to Yerevan.
Erebuni Fortress also known as Arin Berd is a fortified city from the ancient kingdom of Urartu, located in what is present-day Yerevan, Armenia. It was one of several fortresses built along the northern Urartian border and was one of the most important political, economic and cultural centers of the vast kingdom. The name Yerevan itself is derived from Erebuni.
Agricultural produce market and Vernissage (souvenirs, arts and crafts market). Evening free.
Transfer 80km Overnight in Yerevan
Breakfast at hotel. Tour to South Armenia: Khor Virap Monastery.
Khor Virap is a place of pilgrimage for Armenians all over the world. According to history annals, Armenian pagan king Trdat imprisoned Saint Gregory the Illuminator in a cave which became known as Khor Virap. He was the first Patriarch of all Armenians. From here one can enjoy the majestic view of Mount Ararat (where Noah’s ark landed according to the Bible), not too far from the Arax river. Khor Virap is the closest point to Mount Ararat from the territory of Armenia, the most convenient place for observing and taking pictures of the biblical mountain.
Proceed to Noravank Monastery Complex:
Noravank monastery is considered to be the pulpit of Syunik bishops. The main church of St. Karapet was built in 1227. The reliefs on the entrance door and the windows on the western facade are very interesting from an architectural point of view. To the south of the complex one can see a two-storied sepulcher church built in 1339. To the right of the entrance of the tympanum, one can find recently discovered stalactite caves. The monastery had been completely reconstructed and reopened in 1999. The magnificent landscape of mountains, surrounding the monastery, displays a beautiful array of colours from the sun’s reflection.
Overnight in Eghegnadzor
In the morning the group has its breakfast in the hotel and we head to Sevan. On the way we visit Noratus, the medieval cemetery. Surrounded by beautiful landscape the area impresses a lot. The we proceed to Sevanavank, near Lake Sevan and get acquainted to the architectural style of this region. Sevanavank dates back to 8th century. It is a monastic complex located on a peninsula at the northwestern shore of Lake Sevan. Next point is Haghartsin in Dilijan. Dilijan is a famous spa rich in curative mineral springs, some of which are comparable to those at Vichy in France and Davos in Switzerland. The surrounding mountains are covered by forests and Alpine meadows. The climate is rather mild with cool summers and warm sunny winters. Armenians believe that if there are woods, mountains and mineral springs in paradise, then paradise has to look like Dilijan. Its picturesque locality, healthy climate, mineral springs and rich flora attract many tourists. Then we move to Haghartsin, a 13th century monastery located near the town of Dilijan in the Tavush Province of Armenia. It was built between the 10th and 14th century (in the 12th under Khachatur of Taron); much of it under the patronage of the Bagratuni Dynasty. Then we continue to Goshavank Monastery. Complex.
The monastery can be reached by a road near Parz (Limpid) Lake which originates in Dilijan. Goshavank was built in the 12th c. by Mkhitar Gosh, the famous scientist of medieval Armenia, famous author of fables. The oldest construction of the complex is the Virgin church (1196). There are monumental cross-stones (khachkars) next to the main church.
Overnight in Dilijan
In the morning we proceed to see the three famous churches of Armenia.
Monastery Complex of Haghpat (UNESCO World Heritage).
The construction of this monastery is associated to the glory of the Bagratouni Royal Family. The oldest structure of the monastery was built in 977-991 and was called the Holy Cross church. Holy water fills the small pool in the church. Believers say this water has curative qualities for people with poor health. Many cross-stones are built on the ground of the churches. A three-storied bell tower built in 1245 is part of the complex.
Monastery Complex of Sanahin (UNESCO World Heritage).
Sanahin is a monastery complex the most prominent structure of which is the Savor’s Church (956-967), built by architect Trdat for princes Gourgen and Smbat from the Kyurikian Kingdom. The eastern part of the church holds a bas-relief depicting the two princes holding the miniature copy of the actual church. The former village of Sanahin is located on the right side of the gorge. It has become a part of the town of Alaverdi. The Sanahin Monastery had many feudal properties, a great number of estates, lands, vineyards, oil-mills and factories.
The last point is the Akhtala monastery.
Akhtala is a 10th-century fortified Armenian Apostolic Church monastery located in the town of Akhtala. The picturesque view of the monastery on the edge of the gorge leaves a deep impression.
In the evening the group moves to Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi
Here the tourists have free time to spend in Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi
In the morning the group has its breakfast and moves to David Gareja a rock-hewn Georgian Orthodox monastery complex located in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia, on the half-desert slopes of Mount Gareja, some 90–100 km southeast of Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. The complex includes hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living quarters hollowed out of the rock face. The next point is Bertubani church which also shocks with its style and architectural design. At the end the group proceeds to Udabno. The caves of Udabno were churches or chapels or rooms, and their inner walls still bear frescoes painted by the renowned fresco school that flourished here between the 10th and 13th centuries. The monastery’s refectory, where the monks had to kneel to eat at low stone tables, is decorated with beautiful light-colored frescoes, the principal one being an 11th-century depiction of the Last Supper.
Overnight in Tbilisi
In the morning the group moves to its first point Ikalto. Ikalto is a village about 10 km west of the town Telavi in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia. It is mostly known for its monastery complex and the Ikalto Academy.The Ikalto monastery was founded by Saint Zenon, one of the 13 Syrian Fathers, in the late 6th century. It was known as one of the most significant cultural-scholastic centres of Georgia. An academy was founded in the early 12th century. Then the group visits Alaverdi monastery (11th century ) and moves to its final point Ananuri, a castle complex on the Aragvi River in Georgia. Built in the 17th century. It comprises a tower, small church, big temple and a bell-tower. It overlooks the artificial reservoir of Zhinvali.
Transfer 200 km.
Overnight in Tbilisi
After having the breakfast in the hotel at Tbilisi the group heads to Betania. The Betania Monastery of the Nativity of the Mother of God commonly known as Betania is a medieval Georgian Orthodox monastery in eastern Georgia, 16 km (9.9 mi) southwest of Tbilisi, the nation’s capital. It is a remarkable piece of architecture of the “Golden Age” of the Kingdom of Georgia, at the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries, and is notable for its wall paintings which include a group portrait of the contemporary Georgian monarchs. Then we move to Vardzia. The cave city of Vardzia is a cave monastery dug into the side of the Erusheli Mountain in southern Georgia near Aspindza on the left bank of the Mtkvari River. It was founded in 1185. The city included a church, a throne room, and a complex irrigation system watering terraced farmlands. The only access to the complex was through some well hidden tunnels near the Mtkvari River.
Overnight in Akhalcikhe
The first adventure of this day is Mtskheta one of the oldest cities of the country of Georgia (in Kartli province of Eastern Georgia),which is located approximately 20 kilometers north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Aragvi and Kura rivers. Mtskheta is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city (population 19,423 as of January 1, 2008) is now the administrative centre of the Mtskheta-Mtianetiregion. Due to its historical significance and numerous ancient monuments, the “Historical Monuments of Mtskheta” became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Next point is Uplistsikhe ,an ancient rock-hewn town, which is surrounded by rich nature and has a cave complex round by. After spending time here the group moves to its final destination Timothesubani an amazing church, deep in the woods.
Overnight in Kutaisi
Gelati is a monastic complex near Kutaisi, Imereti, western Georgia. It contains the Church of the Virgin founded by the King of Georgia David the Builder in 1106, and the 13th-century churches of St George and St Nicholas.
The Gelati Monastery for a long time was one of the main cultural and intellectual centers in Georgia. It had an Academy which employed some of the most celebrated Georgian scientists, theologians and philosophers, many of whom had previously been active at various orthodox monasteries abroad, one of which was the Mangan Academy in Constantinople. Among the scientists were such celebrated scholars as Ioane Petritsi and Arsen Ikaltoeli. The next point is the ruins of the Bagradi cathedral (11th-century). The Bagradi cathedral is located in the picturesque place in Kutaisi. After spending time here the group moves to Motsameta monastery which is also located Kutaisi. Motsameta is a small and very beautiful monastery with round turrets crowned with peaked tent-shaped domes. The monastery is standing above the rough Rioni river. According to the legend the monastery was constructed on the place where in the 8th century Muslim aggressors executed David and Konstantin Mkheidze, Georgian princes, who refused to accept Islam. After visiting these two marvelous places of this area we head to Sataplia. Sataplia State Reserve is a most multifarious and very rare monument. It is of complex character and contains geologic, paleontological, speleological and botanical monuments. The Sataplia Mountain is famous by its rarest and the most beautiful caves. This cave was firstly noticed by Kutaisi museum employee, pedagogues P. Chabukiani who was able to make organization of this valuable monument protection by the local government, and in 1933, there was found a dinosaur trace.
Overnight in Kutaisi
The sound rest at the hotel helps to get enough energy for the last day of the travelling. The first point is the monastery of Kintsvisi. The Kintsvisi Monastery complex consists of three churches, of uncertain origin. The central (main) central church dedicated to St Nicholas is thought to date to the early 13th century, in what is generally regarded as the Georgian Golden Age. A very small chapel standing next to it is dedicated to St George, and dates from around the same time.
The oldest church, dedicated to St Mary dates from the 10-11th centuries, but is mostly in ruins.
The site is currently listed by the World Monuments Fund as a field project. After visiting this monastery the group moves to Ateni. Ateni was a medieval city in Georgia, in the valley of the Tana River, on both banks of the river. Ateni was built in the 11th century by the Georgian king Bagrat IV. The city was secured with three fortresses located near Ateni: Ateni fortress, Vere fortress and Dektsikhe. In the 13th-17th centuries Ateni was still considered an important place in the country but in the 18th Century it began decreasing in importance and gradually the town became a village. The final point of this trip is Dzalisia one of the amazing places of Georgia. Later we continue our trip to Mtskheta, one of the oldest cities of the country of Georgia (in Kartli province of Eastern Georgia),which is located approximately 20 kilometers north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Aragvi and Kura rivers. Mtskheta is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city (population 19,423 as of January 1, 2008) is now the administrative centre of the Mtskheta-Mtianetiregion. Due to its historical significance and numerous ancient monuments, the “Historical Monuments of Mtskheta” became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. After visiting Jvary church we return to Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi