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7 days / 6 nights
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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 the Genocide Memorial, dedicated to the Victims of 1915 and the Genocide Museum. 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 the 7th century and is widely appreciated by history and art amateurs and professionals.
Visit Armenian Hand-made Carpet Factory. Excursion in the factory, watching handmade waiving process, introducing painting technique with natural materials. Continue to the small museum of ancient carpets.
✔ Cooking master class with one of the famous chief Mr. Sedrak Mamulyan, Founding Member and President of Armenian Non-Governmental Organization for Preservation and Development of the Armenian Culinary Traditions. After during the lunch you will taste a variety of Armenian-traditional dishes, many of which have been recovered by the chefs of the restaurant in the old Armenian inscriptions of Lazar Island in Venice.
Visit to the 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 the top of which you can enjoy the panoramic view of 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 cafes surrounded by beautiful sculptures, redolent flowers shining brightly with magic colors. It is also a popular place for open air concerts at the summer season.
Visit to Armenian central market where quite an impressive colorful selection of dry fruits, nuts will impress you. Other parts of the market include butchers with famous Armenian prosciutto ,, Basturma’’, bread, cheese, pickles etc.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Etchmiadzin City, which is used to be the ancient capital of Armenia. Since the 4th century, it is the largest religious center, the residency of Catholicos of all Armenians. Etchmiadzin cathedral is 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, founded in 301 A.D by St. Gregory the Illuminator. Later, it was rebuilt and currently it stands as a complex including the Cathedral, Spiritual Academy, residency of the Catholicos of all Armenians, Synod of Armenian Church and a library. The museum of the Cathedral, located behind the Altar, has a collection of religious artifacts about Holy Mass, subjects made of gold, silver, precious stones, decorations, colossal silver boiler for making the myrrh and legendary Holy spear.
✔ Cooking master class with TV-cooking-show star Zara Karapetyan. You will be involved into making Armenian spaghetti ,,Arishta’’ and Armenian dessert ,, Gata’’. In Gata there will be an opportunity to try a luck by placing a coin into the cake, and later who gets the coin in his piece of cake/gata, will have lucky and successful year.
After a trip to one of the architectural wonders of Armenia – Zvartnots temple (641-661 BC), that got its name from the word “Zwart”, meaning “joyful and beautiful”. The remaining ruins give an idea of the rare beauty of this temple. The temple is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (2000).
Drive back to Yerevan.
Optional: Very interesting one hour tour around Armenian brandy factory offers tourists familiarization with the history of the plant, process of brandy preparation, showrooms and halls of storages. Visitors will also have degustation of 2 types of brandy in degustation hall. Brandy shop at the factory territory will be available for purchasing of these famous Armenian brandy directly from the factory.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to the only remaining pagan temple in Armenia devoted to the God of Sun – Myrth, in Garni, built in 77 AD by King Trdat (Arshakid Dynasty). Photo stop at Charentc Arc. 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.
✔ Family hosted lunch in village house with watching of Lavash (Armenian traditional flat bread baked in stone-make oven) making process. Tasting the hot fresh bread with local cheeses and greens. Lavash is included in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (2014). A large variety of local dishes will be served during lunch.
Drive to the unique cave temple St. Geghard (12th -13th cc.), the name of which means “holy spear” in 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).
Optional: Concert of liturgical songs in the monastery Geghard where amazing acoustics allows everyone to enjoy crystal-clear sounds.
Drive back to Yerevan.
Breakfast at the hotel. 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.
Optional: Small performance of Armenian national musical instrument ,,Duduk’’ (Tsiranapogh- means Tsiran- apricot, pogh- trumpet) in front of the panorama of Ararat mountain. After the local musician will describe the origin, nature, symbolism of Duduk and fully experience its rich and versatile music. One of the most famous performance of it was in the movie “Gladiator’.
Continue the road to Eghegnadzor passing by Areni village, one of the centers of wine production in Armenia. Recent archaeological findings makes place worldwide famous. In September 2010, archaeologists discovered a 6,100-year-old 5 winery and wine cellar in Areni (Vayots Dzor province) in Armenia. Within the underground wine cellar, a wine press for stomping grapes, fermentation and storage containers, drinking cups, grape vines, skins, and seeds were found. It is one of the earliest winery and wine cellars found to date.
✔ Cooking master class at local family Khalatyans. Miss Khalatyan will show the Armenian national dish ,,Tolma’’ making process. This is one of the most popular dishes. It is made from three types of meat: pork, beef and lamb and grape leaves as well as cabbage leaves. Traditionally it is served with matsun and pounded garlic. There is also a vegetarian dolma called “pasuts dolma”,it is made from beans and cooked legumes. We will try to do Tolma with grape leaves and also in onion. This family is keeping the old receipt coming from the generation.
After lunch drive to the small family winery “Old Bridge”. It was established in 1998. The owner of the winery is the uncle of Lilit, Mister Armen Khalatyan. He will present the wine history in Armenia. The vineyards are located in five different geographical locations on the banks of the river Arpa, 1200-1300 m above sea level. This boutique winery is specialized in producing wine using Armenian grapes such as Areni, Voskehat, Kakheti varietals.
Drive through the spectacular canyon between the red rocks toward Noravank Monastery (13th c.)., that the visitors can not resist stepping out of the vehicle and walk all the way to the Monastery with their cameras to enjoy and record the unique bizarre-shaped precipitous red cliffs. Drive back to Yerevan.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Sevan Lake, one of the greatest high mountainous freshwater lakes of Eurasia. 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 you can enjoy the unbelievable change of the surrounding environment and land shaft from the mountainous lake to the green and rich forest mountains.
✔ Culinary master class at the restaurant ,,Tava’’ with Miss Varda Avetisyan. Very famous lady in Dilijan, who managed to open 4 restaurants in Dilijan with intention to keep and share the Authentic cuisine traditions of Armenia. You will have the opportunity to participate in culinary class of making a special dish of Armenian cuisine – “Ghapama”. It is made from pumpkin and staffed with layers of rice, chopped pumpkin, nuts and dried fruits. Indispensable during Armenian weddings, Ghapama used to represent young life full of abundance. Lunch with local specialities and tasting of Ghapama.
After visit to Haghartsin Monastery complex, located in a 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 the 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. Small walking city tour in Dilijan, visit to the handicrafts’ street, where one can watch the preparation of different national souvenirs from wood, stone and ceramics.
Drive back to Yerevan.
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