This 15 days cultural tour includes Armenia, Georgia and Eastern Turkey. The tour includes visiting the most attractive places of Armenia, Georgia and Turkey. This tour includes both cultural and adventure elements. Armenia and Georgia are situated between Europe and Asia. So culture here is influenced by two different styles, making it amazingly unique. With this tour to Armenia and Georgia we will discover all the treasures of these countries. We will also visit Eastern Turkey to see the contrast in the cultures of two neighboring countries, as well as to see the Armenian cultural heritage saved on the land of Turkey . We will have chance to be present at cultural events in Georgia and Armenia.
Duration: 15 days / 14 nights
Best Season: From May to November
Accommodation: Tourist hotels
Mode of travel: 4WD vehicles, minibuses, buses
Tour Support: If group size is 1-3 persons, English knowing guide-driver. If group size is more than 3 persons, bus or minibus, guide required language.
Included: Accommodation for tourist hotels
All activities as per itinerary with all entry fees
Travel permits in protected areas
Excluded: Optional activities
Arrival, Yerevan 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 .
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, State Museum of History of Armenia.
Overnight at Yerevan.
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to St. Echmiadzin (Holy See). En route – Hripsime Church:
This is a masterpiece of architecture and a marvellous 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 artefacts. 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. Return to Yerevan. En route – Zvartnots temple (UNESCO World Heritage): Zvartnot was built as Armenia’s main cathedral in 641-661. 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.”
Return to Yerevan. Evening free or walking in the city centre. Cultural event in the evening.
Overnight in Yerevan.
Breakfast at hotel. Half-day trip to Garni Pagan Temple and Geghard Monastery.
Garni was built in 1st. c. AC and was devoted to one of the Armenian Pagan Gods . After Armenia converted to Christianity in the 4th c., the rulers of the country used the temple as their summer residence. King Khosrov stayed there often as the area was his favorite hunting ground. 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. Overnight in Yerevan. (Transfer 80km)
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.
Areni (tasting wine)
Areni is a village in the Vayots Dzor Province. It is best known for its wine production, although the majority of wine produced locally is from the nearby village of Getap. The church of S. Astvatsatsin is a single-nave two-aisled domed Armenian church completed in the year 1321, and is located atop a plateau overlooking the Arpa River and Areni. It was designed by the architect and sculptor Momik Vardpet who is best known for his high-relief carvings at the monastery of Noravank (located approximately 6 kilometres southeast from Areni). Nearby are also the 13th century ruins of lord Tarsaitch Orbelian of Syunik’s palace, moved from Yeghegis to Areni during that time. Ruins of a 13th century bridge built by Bishop Sarkis in 1265-1287 are to the northeast of the church one kilometre. At the same location are the remains of an older bridge.
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 tympanum 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 sepulchre church built in 1339. This tomb monument can be traced to the 4th or 5th centuries. 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.
Then we move to Sisian.
Overnight in Sisian. (Transfer 220km)
Tatev monastery complex (UNESCO World Heritage).
Monastery of Tatev is a 9th century Armenian monastery located in the Tatev village in Syunik Province in southern Armenia. The term “Tatev” usually refers to the monastery. The monastery performed an important role in the history of the region, becoming its political, spiritual and cultural centre. According to tradition, the monastery was named after Eustateus, a disciple of St. Thaddeus the Apostle.
From Tatev to Halidzor by ropeway – WINGS OF TATEV
Wings of Tatev is a 5.7 km (3.5 mi) cableway between Halidzor and the Tatev monastery in Armenia. It is the longest reversible aerial tramway built in one section only. Construction was finished in 16 October 2010.The link allows year-round access to Armenia’s ninth-century Tatev monastery complex, one of the country’s most important religious centres and a major tourist attraction. It runs from the village of Halidzor near a highway connecting the Armenian capital Yerevan to the village of Tatev, within walking distance of the monastery. The cable car travels at a speed of 37 kilometres per hour and a one-way journey takes 11 minutes. At its highest point over the gorge, the car travels 320 m (1,050 ft) above ground level. It has two cabins, each capable of carrying up to 25 passengers On the 23rd of October 2010 it was officially recorded in the Guinness World Records book.
Then we move to Vanadzor.
Overnight in Dzorages hotel. (Transfer 310km)
Early in the morning we move to Tbilisi. Accommodation at a hotel, city tour.
Open Air Museum of Ethnography, The Art Museum of Georgia, Anchiskhati Basilica, the oldest surviving church in Tbilisi. Built in the 5th-6th centuries. Sioni Cathedral, Georgian Orthodox cathedral. Built in the 6th-7th centuries. Sameba – Holy Trinity Cathedral, the largest religious building in Georgia and South Caucasus. Called as “Millennium Building”. Metekhi church (XIIIc); Abanot-ubani (natural sculpture springs, bath –houses built in XVI-XVII cc); Narikala church (the church, first was built in IV c. and in XI it was destroyed. Finally, it was rebuilt in late XX c. There is a great view of old district of Tbilisi from this church); Karvasla: where you can see ancient Georgians clothes and hand made goods. Souvenir shopping (optional). (Transfer140 0km)
Breakfast at hotel. Trip to Kakheti region.
Kakheti is synonymous with wine. There are hundreds of different grapes grown here, and every village has its own particular variety. Visit to Tsinandali-village that is a source of famous white wine. Tour to Teliani Valley wine factory with wine tasting and tour inside the factory. Museum of Alexander Chavchavadze in Tsinandali. Visit to Alaverdi Cathedral (VI c). The cathedral was originally founded as a monastery in the 6th century. This 50m tall building is one of the biggest structures of its time.
Trip to Omalo, Tusheti.
Tusheti is a historic region in northeast Georgia. Located on the northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, Tusheti is bordered by the Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan to the north and east, respectively; and by the Georgian historic provinces Kakheti and Pshav-Khevsureti to the south and west, respectively. The population of the area is mainly ethnic Georgians called Tushs or Tushetians (Georgian: tushebi). Historically, Tusheti comprised four mountain communities of the Alazani Valley. These are Tsova, Gometzari, Chaghma and the Piriq’iti Tusheti (formerly known as Pharsman’s Tusheti). Included in the present day Akhmeta raioni, Kakheti region, Georgia, the area comprises ten villages with Omalo being the largest.
Overnight in guesthouse or in camping in Omalo.
Breakfast at the guesthouse. Proceed to Telavi (main city of Kakheti).
Telavi is the main city and administrative centre of Georgia’s eastern province of Kakheti. Its population consists of some 21,800 inhabitants. The city is located on foot-hills of Tsiv – Gombori Range at 490 m above the sea level. First archaeological findings from Telavi date back to Bronze Age.
Stylized folk show, without speech, only songs and dance, about the complete history of Georgia, from the creation of the earth until today. Together with the spectacular show guests would be able to taste Georgian wine and traditional sweets.
Overnight hotel in Sighnakhi. (Transfer 300km)
Breakfast at the hotel. Trip to Kazbegi.
Historical province in eastern Georgia, on the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. Mtiuleti occupies parts of modern-day districts of Dusheti and Kazbegi.
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.
A small town in the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region of north-eastern Georgia.
Stepantsiminda is known for its scenic location in the Greater Caucasus mountains, and is a center for trekkers and mountain climbing. Local attractions include the famous Georgia writer Alexander Kazbegi Museum.
Overnight at a hotel in Gudauri. (Transfer 240km)
The Bazaleti Lake is a lake in eastern Georgia some 60 km northwest of the nation’s capital Tbilisi and 5 km south of the town of Dusheti. It is used for fish culture, irrigation and recreation. The nearby village and the historical district around the lake are also known as Bazaleti.
The surface area of the lake is 1.22 km. and its maximum depth is 7 m. The area around the lake housed a flourishing medieval town and is surrounded by many legends. In 1626, the Battle of Bazaleti between two rival Georgian factions took place there.
Currently, the area is a popular recreational area served by a modern tourist complex.
When returning to Tbilisi we will have a chance to have a walk and cultural event in Tbilisi.
Overnight at Tbilisi. (Transfer 140km)
Transfer to Turkey, Kars
We will pass through the beautiful mountains of Arsian and reach Kars. After resting in hotel, we will have a walk in Kars where you can see the 19th century Armenian and Russian monuments, we will also see the “Vardan” bridge, Araqelots church(10th century), the fortress of Kars which was the residence of Armenian kings.
Overnight in Kars. (Transfer 420km)
In the morning we will go to Ani. Ani was the capital of Armenia in 9-10th century and it was named “the capital of 1000 and 1 church”. Ani was situated on the cross way of Europe and Asia and was the cultural and trade centre of the time. We will see palaces of Armenian kings (17th century). After we continue our trip to Bayazet and start to visit magnificent Ishak Pasha Palace. Perched high on a cliff, this half ruined fortified palace is the stuff Arabian tales are made of. Continue to visit Noah’s Ark National Park, where we can see many fossils found at the site and visit Noah’s Ark Museum. Our last stop is the Meteor Crater. 60 m deep and 35 m large, the crater is the second biggest in the world. On the way to the crater, we pass by border checkpoints between Turkey and Iran.
Overnight in Beyazet. (Transfer 340km)
Van, Castle of Van, Lake Van, lunch, swimming. Early in the morning we move to Van. We will visit Van fortress (9th century A.D) where you can see the 9th century ornaments. Then we will move to Van Lake and see Aghtamar Island where Surb Khach church is situated (10th century). The church is illustrated with the scenes from Bible. We have a chance to rest and have free time here. In Vana Lake only “tarekh” fish can be found and we will have a chance to taste it.
Transfer to Istanbul, departure. (Transfer 250km)