Armenia and Georgia
Day 1 : Arrival in Yerevan. Transfer to the selected hotel
Day 2 : City tour- hotel
Breakfast at the hotel. City tour- Yerevan sightseeing including City center, Republic square, State University, City panorama, Mother Armenia Monument, Parliament, President’s Palace, Opera, Sports & Concert Complex. Visit to Matenadaran (depository for ancient manuscripts, the collection of which is one of the biggest in the world). This outstanding collection includes manuscripts dating from 7th century and is widely appreciated by history and art amateurs and professionals. Visit to the Genocide Memorial, dedicated to the Victims of 1915 and the Genocide Museum. Lunch in a local restaurant. Visit to Armenian central market. Visit to Cascade complex, which is considered the modern art center of Yerevan, with art pieces displayed throughout the whole area: the boulevard and up the stairs, from top of which you can enjoy the panoramic view on the city and Mountain Ararat. Cascade is home to Cafesjan modern art museum. This place becomes even more charming in the evenings, when it is full of people, both locals and tourists from all over the world, enjoying the magic and the warmth of the capital. You will enjoy spending time in one of the cozy open-air caf es surrounded by beautiful sculptures, redolent flowers shining brightly with magic colors. It is also a popular place for open air concerts at summer season. Inspection of the hotels in Yerevan – 5*, 4* and 3*. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 3 : Echmiadzin – Zvartnots – Ararat Valley- Khor Virap – Areni- Noravank – Yerevan
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit to Zvartnots (included in the UNESCO World Heritage List (2000)) , a temple of Vigil Forces, built in 641—661 A.D. as Armenia’s main cathedral by the Catholicos Nerses III, is considered one of the architectural wonders and unique example of Armenian architecture of early Christian period. It was damaged by an earthquake in the 10th century. Тhe ruins of this cathedral still speak about the rare beauty of it. Drive to Etchmiadzin city, the ancient capital of Armenia. Since 4th century, it is the largest religious center, the residency of Catholicos of All Armenians..
Visit to Etchmiadzin Cathedral, one of the ancient churches in the Christian world, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List (2000). It is the center of Armenian Apostolic Church. It was founded in 301 A.D. by St. Gregory the Illuminator. Drive to Ararat valley. Visit to Khor Virap Church – the place of imprisonment of St. Gregory the Illuminator, who stayed here in the small dungeon for 13 years without any food, accused by the Armenian King of preaching Christianity. Khor Virap Church was built on the dungeon and now people have a chance to go down into the dark pit themselves. It is one of the holy places for the Christian world. It is also the best point to enjoy the most spectacular view of the gorgeous biblical mountain Ararat shining with its two white peaks. The hills adjoining Khor Virap were the site of the early Armenian capital – ancient Artashat built by King Artashes I, founder of the Artashesid dynasty, around 180 B.C. It is one of the few ancient towns, built by the special design of the famous Carthaginian general Hannibal. After the defeat in a war against Rome, he found shelter in Armenia…
Drive through the spectacular canyon between the red rocks toward Noravank Monastery (13th)
Lunch at the local restaurant with nice view on the canyon.
On the way visit local winery in Areni village – wine testing. Areni used to be one of the centers of wine production in Armenia. In September 2010, archaeologists discovered a 6,100-year-old 5 winery and wine cellars, a wine press for stomping grapes, fermentation and storage containers, drinking cups, grape vines, skins, and seeds were found. This is the earliest winery and wine cellar found to date. Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 4 : Garni –Geghard – Sevan – Dilijan
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to the only remaining pagan temple in Armenia devoted to the God of Sun – Myrth, in Garni, built in 77AD by King Trdat (Arshakid Dynasty). The temple is Greco-Roman style with characteristic pillars. It stands proudly on a rocky ridge with a deep canyon presenting a beautiful view. The temple was a summer residence for Arshakid dynasty. Visit to the ruins of Royal Palace and Royal bath-house nearby. Canyon of Garni – magnificent and outstanding scene which creates the image of falling crags. It obtained the name “Symphony of Stones” due to its view. The fantastic landscape of Garni canyon shakes the human imagination. Drive to the unique caved temple St. Geghard (12th -13thcc.), the name of which means “holy spear” in the honor of the long-preserved spear, the same spear that pierced the body of crucified Christ. It is now exhibited in the museum of Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Geghard Monastery is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list (2000). The monastery is hidden in the majestic rocks and this scene creates an impression that the rocks have been protecting the ancient monastery for ages.
Family hosted lunch in village house with watching of “Lavash” (Armenian traditional flat bread baked in stone-make oven) making process, testing authentic Armenian food, get acquainted with local village life.
Continuation to Sevan Lake one of the greatest high mountainous freshwater lakes of Eurasia. Climb on the peninsula from where the fascinating view on the Lake is open. Visit Sevanavank monastery, which stands in its greatness on the peninsula overlooking the lake for centuries.
Drive to mountainous resort Dilijan, or so called “Armenian Switzerland”, which is well-known for its forests as well as for its mysterious flora and fauna. During the drive one can enjoy the unbelievable change of the surrounding environment and land shaft from the mountainous lake to the green and rich forest mountains. Small walking city tour in Dilijan: visit to handicrafts’ street, where one can watch the preparation of different national souvenirs from wood, stone and ceramics.
Visit to Haghartsin Monastery complex which is located in the secluded place of the forest. Haghartsin dates back to 11-13th century and represent a magnificent piece of history, culture and architecture. The place is so unique and the scenery with the nature surrounding it is so breathtaking that most of visitors are in awe. Appearing unexpectedly, out of the dense forests, in front of the visitors, the Monastery creates a magical impression of a lost world. Complex includes Church St. Stepanos, St. Mary and St. Gregory’s Church, as well as famous refectory. Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 5 : Armenian – Georgian border – Tbilisi city tour
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Armenian-Georgian border. Passing the border formalities. Driving to Tbilisi. Tbilisi (literally “Warm Spring”) is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt’k’vari River, founded in the 5th century by Vakhtang Gorgasali. Tbilisi is a significant industrial, social and cultural centre of Georgia. Located strategically at the crossroads between Europe and Asia and lying along the historic Silk Road routes, Tbilisi has often been a point of contention between various rival powers and empires. The history of the city can be seen by its architecture. Tbilisi sightseeing tour includes: Old town: Metechi church and the statue of king Vakhtang Gorgasali (founder of Tbilisi -5th century); Sharden street and Mshrali Khidi (dry bridge). Visit to Trinity Cathedral, Metekhi Church. Ride by cable way from Rike Park to Narilaka fortress, walk down from Narikala fortress to Abanotubani, the ancient district of Tbilisi, known for its sulfuric baths.
Option: Opportunity to visit the famed sulphur baths and take spa procedures Walking tour along the Rustaveli Avenue – the main street in Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 6 : Mtsketa- Ananuri fortress – Zhinvali lake
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Mtskheta. Mtskheta is an old capital of the kingdom of Iberia (from IV cc BC to VI cc AD), this is how ancient Georgian tombs were called. Mtskheta is known to be the religious capital of Georgia, here is located one of most important cathedral – Svetitskhoveli. Svetitskhoveli can truly be accepted as the pearl of Georgian architect. The second destination during the trip is Jvari monastery, the church stands up on the hill, overlooking the town. The architect of the church has been retained from the VI cc and represents one of the most interesting monuments in whole Georgia. Visit Ananuri (17th century) is a castle complex on the Aragvi River. On the way to Ananuri short stop for Zhinvali water reservoir. Drive back to Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 7 : Sighnaghi – Bodbe – Tsinandali winery – Tbilisi
Drive to eastern part of Georgia Kakheti region, known almost exclusively for its vineyards and wineries. Visit Signagi, ancient city, also known as the City of Love, with stone-paved streets and the balconies in old – Georgian style. It is one of the beautiful towns of Kakheti region At the elevation of about 790 m above sea level, the town overlooks the Alazani valley and faces the Greater Caucasus Mountains. The town is walled with the remnants of 18th century fortifications.
Visit Bodbe Monastery. Originally built in the 9th century, it has been significantly remodeled in the 17th century. The monastery now functions as a nunnery and is one of the the major pilgrimage sites in Georgia.
Drive to Tsinandali – the land of wine. Tsinandali is noted for the estate and its historic winery, which used to belong to the aristocratic poet Alexander Chavchavadze. Wine degustation. Drive back to Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 8 : Transfer to the airport. Departure