Very Exciting Trip to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh Region
Breakfast at the hotel. The excursion will start with the panoramic view of the city and acquaintance with theCenter of the city, the sightseeing of Opera and Ballet building, the Parliament and Residency of the President of Armenia, Cascade complex.
Visit to the fortress ruins of Erebuni, founded during the Urartian Kingdom by the King Argishti in 782 BC and the Erebuni museum (1968) with the Urartian period exhibits. Erebuni has been renamed Yerevan since at least the 7th century A.D., when it was the capital of Armenia.
Visit to Matenadaran – one of the world’s largest depositories of ancient manuscripts, pride of Armenian culture. Depository’s collection holds about 17,000 manuscripts and includes almost all the areas of ancient and medieval Armenian culture and sciences, as well as manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Greek, Syrian, Latin, Ethiopian, Indian, Japanese and others.
Visit to Tsitsernakaberd -a Monument to the Armenian Genocide Victims, as well as the Genocide Victim’s Museum, commemorating the 1.5 million Armenians who perished during the first Genocide of the 20th century in the Western Armenia and in the territory of Ottoman Empire.
Visit to the local market. Stop for shopping at “Dalma Garden Mall”.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Etchmiadzin City which is used to be the ancient capital of Armenia. Visit toEtchmiadzin Cathedral. The 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. It was founded in 301 A.D. by St. Gregory the Illuminator.
Visit to St. Hripsime’s Church (7th c.), and St. Gayane Chruch (7th c).
Drive to Zvartnots, 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. Тhe ruins of this cathedral still speak about the rare beauty of it. The Zvartnots Archaeological Site is a unique example of Armenian architecture of the early Christian period. Zvartnots is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List (2000).
Drive back to Yerevan. O/N in Yerevan.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive Saghmosavank monastery located on the edge of the precipitous gorge of the Kasakh river.
Drive to Alphabet park – a location where all letters of Armenian alphabet made from tuff of human-size are scattered around volcanic stones.
Drive to Amberd which means a “fortress in the clouds” in Armenian. It is a fortress complex with a church built XI-XIII centuries on the slopes of Mt. Aragats at 2,300 meters above sea level. Amberd stands on a rocky eminence, again one of the impregnable fortresses of medieval Armenia. The fortress was founded in the 7th century A.D. during the rule of the Kamsarakan princes. Visit Karmravor Church (7th century).
Drive to Oshakan – typical Armenian village with preserved traditions and lifestyle. The major sightseeing spot of Oshakan village is St. Mesrop Mashtots Church. The relics of Mesrop Mashtots, the founder of the Armenian alphabet (V c.), lie here. Mesrop Mashtots was canonized by the Armenian Church in the V c. Initially, the chapel was raised on the gravestone of Mesrop Mashtots and later in the XIX c. the temple was erected.
Drive back to Yerevan. O/N in Yerevan.
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit to Khor Virap Church-the holy place of imprisonment of St. Gregory the Illuminator who stayed here in the small dungeon for 13 years without any food, neighbored with scorpions and snakes. However the punishment from on high came down and King Trdat turned into swine. After king repented, he came back to human appearance and freed St. Gregory. In that same period, in 301 A.D. the king was christened with the people near the river Aratsan. Christianity was adopted as a state religion throughout Armenia. Khor Virap Church became one of the holy places for the Christian world. It was built on the dungeon and now you have a chance to go down into the dark pit yourself. St. Gregory became one of the Saints of the whole Christian world.
Drive to Noravank Monastery complex (XIII- XIV cc.), a major religious and cultural center, is closely connected with Gladzor’s famed university and library. The most ancient monument of Noravank is St. Karapet Church (IX – X cc.). The Church, completed in 1339, is said to be the masterpiece of Momik, a talented sculptor and a miniaturist. The burial site of the Orbelian dynasty (XIII – XIV cc.) is located north to the main temple. Тhe Church decorations include: Mother of God, the Father, crucifixion of Christ, as well as number of engraved stonecrosses.
Drive to Stepanakert. O/N in Stepanakert.
Breakfast at the hotel. Tour to Stepanakert – the capital of Artsakh. Today it is a beautiful clean green city with modern buildings surrounded by mountains and forests. The symbol of the city is a monument called Papik – Tatik (Grandfather and Grandmother), symbolizing an indestructible will to live and a commitment to family values. The city plan was made by a group of architects led by famous Armenian architect Alexander Tamanyan. The town was named in honor of the Armenian revolutionary Stepan Shahumyan.
Trip to Gandzasar, which is located in the heart of Artsakh (the historical Khachen province). The word “Gandzasar” means “treasure mountain”. Gandzasar Monastery was founded by Prince of Khachen.
Visit to Tigranakert – one of the former capitals of ancient Armenia. This is one of 4 cities founded by King Tigranes and received his name in honor of him. The excavations made in 2005, found a well-preserved acropolis fence, mausoleums, shopping street, the Basilica of the early Christian church. Date of capital refers to the I BC.
Visit to Askeran located 4km from Stepanakert, near Karkar river. Askeran fortress is located in village Askeran. Since 18th century it has had important strategic meaning for defence. The village has for centuries been one of the most important military base at first for meliqs (princes) of Karabagh and afterwards for Persians. The walls of fortress, which was built in 18th century, have been preserved. It has played a big role during the Karabakh war, as its military position blocks the way to Stepanakert – the capital. Nowadays it is one of the biggest populated areas in Narogro Karabakh and the walls of the fortress give a unique charm to the village.
Return to Stepenakert. O/N in Stepenakert.
Breakfast at the hotel. Trip to Shushi, one of the political and cultural centers of Armenia, as well as one of the original territories of Artsakh Province of Great Armenia. Shushi is a fortified town situated on a mountain plateau (1400m). Initially an inaccessible fortress, Shushi became city in the middle of the 19th century. Its rapid growth made it an important religious center housing the beautiful Cathedral of Karabakh. The main attraction of Shushi is recently restored – Holy Amenaprkich Ghazanchetsots Cathedral of Karabakh and ruins of Shushi fortress.
Drive to one of the unique and beautiful monasteries in Armenia – Tatev Monastery. It is located on the steep of deep gorge surrounded with very strong settings. It was built during the 9-13th centuries as an Armenian intellectual center where philosophers, musicians, painters, calligraphers and monks lived.
Option: Ride on the longest ropeway (5,7 km) in the world over the canyons to the Monastery of Tatev and back.
Tour to “Areni” Winery/ wine testing. Areni is famous for its wine making. Recent archaeological excavations found 6000 years winery with 5 wine cellars. Within the underground wine cellar, archaeologists discovered a wine press for stomping grapes, fermentation and storage containers, drinking cups, grape vines, skins, and seeds.Though evidence of wine has dated back 7,000 years, this is the earliest winery and wine cellar found to date. The findings indicated large scale wine production, quite possibly the earliest retail winery. Archaeologists suggest that our early ancestors used wine in ceremonies to honour the dead. It is also thought as a gift, placed and consumed inside the tombs. Wine-pressing tools have been found installed into burials and tombs, and drinking cups around the graves. Illustrations from that time reflect this evidence. According to Armenian and US scientists these findings are the oldest and the most reliable evidence of wine production on the Planet dating back 6100 years. It is the first time that a complete archaeological site of wine production is discovered.
Drive back to Yerevan. O/N in Yerevan.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to the only remaining Pagan temple in Armenia devoted to the God of Sun – Myrth in Garni. According to some cuneiform records in Greek language, the temple was 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 the deep canyon presenting a beautiful view. The temple was a summer residence for Arshakid dynasty. The powerful earthquake in 1679 destroyed the place, later it was restored only in 1969-1974. The walls surrounding the temple, ruins from the king’s palace and the bathroom were retained. On the bath mosaic you can see the enigmatic Greek inscription: “Taking nothing we labored”. Don’t forget to take a photo in the stairs at the entrance. It will be one of the sweetest memories of the beautiful scene.
Drive to Geghard monastery dates back to XII-XIII centuries and presents itself a unique caved temple. The word Geghard means “holy spear” in the honour of the long-preserved spear, the same spear that pierced the body of crucified Christ, which were brought here by Apostle Thaddeus. It is now exhibited in the museum of Etchmiadzin Cathedral. The temple is located in the mountains of picturesque gorge of Azat river. This is a masterpiece of the Armenian medieval architecture with the main church, two caved churches as well as burial-vault. The cold spring coming out from the cliff is believed to be a holy water which heals from illnesses, rejuvenates people and grants beauty. Geghard Monastery is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list (2000). Opportunity to watch “Lavash” (Armenian traditional flat bread baked in stone-make oven) making process, testing authentic Armenian food, get acquainted with local village life.
Drive back to Yerevan. O/N in Yerevan
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Tsaghkadzor. Tsaghkadzor – means “gorge of flowers” in Armenian. It is well known for the shady forests and flowering meadows that entice large number of tourists and residents of Armenia. Tsakhkadzor with its beauty is considered to be “small Switzerland”, which can be glanced if you go up to the higher mountains on the 2500 meters long ropeway. In winter the snowy meadows are perfect place to ski. Reaching the second level of the ropeway, you can stop at the cafe to take a break, sip a cup of hot tea or coffee and then continue to climb up to 2500km. Wintertime is just right for the adventurous people who rent the scooters that will ride you down the hill on the round slope. Snowboards, sleighs and skis are also available for rent.
Drive to Lake Sevan is one of the wonders in Armenia. This blue lake is one of the greatest high mountainous freshwater lakes of Eurasia. On a clear and sunny day, the water is often of a deep turquoise colour. Visit the ancient Sevanavank Monastery (IX century), which stands in its greatness on the peninsula overlooking the lake for centuries.
Drive to mountainous resort Dilijan 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 landscape from the mountainous lake to the green and rich forest mountains.
Visit to Haghartsin Monastery (13th c.), located in the secluded place of the forest, which includes the group of Monastery buildings. Appearing unexpectedly, out of the dense forests, in front of the visitors, the Monastery creates a magical impression of the lost world.
Drive to Goshavank Monastery (11th -13 th cc), which was one of the spiritual and cultural centers of medieval manuscript.
Drive back to Yerevan. O/N in Yerevan.