Travel to Armenia is always an amazing discovery. Climbing tour to Mount Ararat will make the travel absolutely exciting. Mount Ararat is the symbol of Armenia, where according to Bible the Noah’s Ark is considered to stop. The area of Mount Ararat was situated on the cross-way of European and Asian cultures. Climbing tour to Ararat will include visiting the two camps on Mount Ararat and also reaching the peak of this Biblical mountain ( 5,137 ).As a combination of adventure and cultural tour this will enable you not only to conquer the snow-capped peak of this biblical giant but also travel in historical places where medieval Christian and Islamic civilizations confront. Climbing tour To Mount Ararat will also include the city tour in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, traveling through most beautiful places of Armenia and a city tour in Dogubayazit and visiting Noah’s Ark museum.
Duration: 11 days / 10 nights
Beginning and Finish: Tbilisi
Accommodation: Tourist hotels, camping tents
Food: All Meals
Mode of travel: 4WD vehicles, minibuses/trekking
Tour Support: If group size is 1-4 persons; English knowing trekking guide driver, horses in Mount Ararat for carrying luggage, if more than 4 minibuses or buses.
Included: All meals
Accommodation for 8 nights in tourist hotels, rent of tents and sleeping bags
All transfers, rent of horses
All activities as per itinerary with all entry fees
Travel permits in protected areas
Certificate for climbing on Mount Aragats and Mt Ararat
Excluded: Optional activities
After reaching the hotel and having rest we will start our wonderful trip around the capital of Armenia, Yerevan. The first day includes visiting Museum of history of Armenia which is the national museum of Armenia founded in 1919.Then we will have a walk in Yerevan and we will just admire the beauty of Yerevan which stretches under the gaze of biblical mountain Ararat. Our tour also includes visiting Erebuni fortress-museum which is a fortified city from the ancient kingdom of Urartu, located in Yerevan. It was one of several fortresses built along the northern Urartian border and was one of the most important political, economical and cultural centers of the vast kingdom. The name Yerevan itself is derived from Erebuni.
Overnight at hotel in Yerevan.
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. We will continue our tour to Cathedral of St. Echmiadzin (UNESCO World Heritage), the oldest Christian temple founded in 301. Holy Mass takes place on Sundays in the Cathedral. 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. Our tour also includes visiting Zvartnots temple (UNESCO World Heritage): the building consisted of three polyhedrons with rich ornamentation of outer walls and capitals. Return to Yerevan. Cultural event in the evening.
Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan (transfer 50km)
This pagan temple of Garni was built in 1st. c. AC and was devoted to one of the Armenian Pagan Gods – Mitra. After Armenia converted to Christianity in the 4th c., the rulers of the country used the temple as their summer residence. The fantastic landscape of Garni canyon shakes the human imagination. Proceed to Geghard Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage), which was initially known simply as Ayrivank (Cave Monastery). Hundreds of khachkars (cross-stones) and caves are built in the rocks surrounding the Monastery. We will also visit Monument and Museum of Genocide and Museum of S. Paradjanov.
Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan. (Transfer 80km)
We continue our tour to the peak of Aragats /4095m/. Aragats Mountain is shaped like an oval shield. A circle of four peaks rises in the middle of the shield. The highest of them has an elevation of 4090 meters. The others are only a few meters lower. This circle of mountains is the remains of a crater from a big volcano. The average temperature is -12 degrees C in winter but sometimes the absolute temperature reaches minus 40 degrees C. The snow never disappears during summer. Lake Qari with the Cosmic Rays’ Scientific Research Centre is situated on the mountain of Aragats. Here the highest working meteo-center in Caucuses is situated. Our second point is the castles of Armenia Amberd/10 century/. And the final point of our tour will be Saghmosavan Monastery. It is a 13th century Armenian monastic complex located in the village of Saghmosavan in the Aragatsotn Province of Armenia. Saghmosavank is situated near the Kasagh River.
Then we will return to Yerevan.
Night at the hotel. (Transfer 115km, trekking 15.5km, 7 hrs)
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. Then 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).
Overnight hotel in Kars. (Transfer 465km)
In the morning back to Dogubayazit, check in at hotel. This day is dedicated to cultural exploration and we start with a city tour of Dogubeyazit. We 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 Dogubayazit (Transfer 210km)
After breakfast at hotel, we transfer to Mount Ararat by minibus. We stop at Eli village at 2200m. Here a path with a slight initial grade will take us to our 1st camp (Green Camp at 3340m). On the way up to the Green Camp we meet nomads who live in these mountains, explore their lifestyle. The walk takes about 4 hours and the grade becomes steeper only for the last hour. Dinner at camp (weather permitting open-air), rest and good sleep to prepare for tomorrow’s acclimatization trek (horses are used to carry our gear).
(Transfer 18km, trekking 9 km, trekking time 4 hrs)
Overnight in camp.
Today’s plan is to trek on the south ridge to our camp at 4100m. From this camp, we have good views of the lesser cone of Little Mount Ararat (3896m) which rises up to the south-east, separated from its bigger neighbor by the so-called ‘lava plateau’. As the day before, we will take our lunch pack and start climbing. Weather may be chilly at 4200m and we can expect temperatures between 0 and -15°C on the summit. The luggage will be taken to the camp on horseback. When we reach the camp, hot drinks and soup will be ready for us. Before dinner, our guide will teach how to use crampons, ice axe and rope. We will rest in tents till midnight. Overnight in camp.
(Trekking 5km, trekking time 3 hrs)
We make an alpine start at around 3.00 am, and aim to set off at first light. Before the climb, we will get the latest weather report. After a few hours of climbing, we should see the huge shadow of the peak of Mount Ararat on the left. About 7-8 hours of climb and we will reach the summit of Mount Ararat. Everything seems mysterious and magical here, we can see 4 countries at once – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey. After celebrating reaching of the summit and taking photographs we will be back to our previous camp (4200m) for hot soup and tea. After rest for an hour we descend to the 1st camp at 3200 m and return to Bayazit.
Overnight at a hotel. (Trekking 13 km, trekking time 11 hrs)
We will visit Van fortress (9th century A.D). We will also have a chance to see Van Cats; they are special for their blue and yellow eyes. 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.
Overnight at the hotel in Van (transfer 240km).
Flight to Istanbul.