Incredible Armenia – South-North, 2021

DISCOVER THIS ANCIENT LAND THROUGH YOUR EYES

11 nights/12 days

 

Day 1

 

On arrival, you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

 

Day 2

 

Breakfast served

YEREVAN CITY TOUR!

Picture1Republic Square, Yerevan, the rose-colored capital, so called because most buildings use a pink shade of “tuf” stone, quarried in Armenia.

Let’s start our acquaintance with the city of Yerevan by stepping through its ancient history at the Erebouni museum and Fortress, which was founded in 782 B.C.,

Republic Square, Sports and Concert Complex, Kievian Bridge, Bagramyan Avenue, Presidential Palace, Academy of Sciences, National Parliament, Opera Theater;

The next stop is Cascade, which is a huge white staircase built on the Yerevan hillside in the 1970s, with water fountains running down the sides, all reminiscent of a natural river or stream cascading. It connects the central district to Haghtanak Park –“Victory” Park to the center of the city. The structure has escalators so that it is unnecessary to manually ascend the stairs all the way to the top.

Today you will enjoy a tour of the most enigmatic of cities, visiting the remarkable Matenadaran Library and Research Institute of Armenia which houses about 23000 rare manuscripts. This is one of the richest depositories of manuscripts and books in the world. The history of the Matenadaran dates back to the creation of the Armenian

Alphabet in 405.

Free time in Yerevan

 

OVERNIGHT IN YEREVAN

MEALS: Breakfast/Lunch

 

Day 3

 

Picture2We embark on our journey to the land of ancient treasures of Christian history – Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin (UNESCO) the “religious capital” and the seat of the Supreme Patriarch-Catholics of all Armenians. The story holds that the place where Noah made the fire after the flood is the site upon which the main Cathedral, one of the earliest Christian churches, was built. Nowadays, it is located in the lower chamber, underneath the main Altar of the Cathedral.

Then we will admire the Churches of Sts. Hripsime and Gayane (7th century) named after the faithful nuns, these churches are dedicated to these virgins, 3rd century followers of Christ who were martyred.

Next visit is to the Zvartnots Cathedral. The ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral are located on a flat plain within the Ararat Plateau between the cities of Yerevan and Etchmiadzin. Built in the middle of the 7th century, under the instructions of the Catholicos Nerses the III. 

OVERNIGHT IN YEREVAN

MEALS: Breakfast/Lunch

 

Day 4

 

Breakfast served

Picture4During this day we’ll see one of the most beautiful mountains in Armenia, Mt. Aragats. There are four summits Between South and East summits the crater wall is broken, and a stream flows down to the village of Aragats. A sharp ridge descends south from the South summit. Between the other summits are high saddles with sweeping views. 

After we’ll walk on the shores of amazing mountainous Lake Kari. Lake Kari a small crystal-clear lake, nestled close to the southern peak of Mt. Aragats at a height of 3207 m and covered mostly by snow and ice.

We’ll visit the medieval fortress of Amberd which is a fortress complex with a church built on the slopes of Mt. Aragats at 2,300 meters above sea level in the 11-13 c.c. The church is slightly down the hill from the fortress, nearer to where the two streams join.

Artashavan – New Complex of Armenian Letters: “It is difficult to express the deep feeling Armenians have for their language, which many regard as the lifeblood of their culture”.

Next stop is Saghmosavank Monastery (Monastery of the Psalms) – is a 13th century Armenian monastic complex, situated atop the precipitous gorge carved by the Kasagh river. Their silhouettes dominate the adjacent villages and rise sharp against the background of the mountains crowned by Mount Aragats.

Today there is an opportunity to visit one of wineries of Armenia – ARMENIA WINE which is the icon of modern Armenian winemaking. In constant pursuit of improvement, at the winery they strive to balance ancient traditions with the newest technology. The visit of winery will be with testing and enjoying of variety Armenia wines … 

Armenia white dry, Armenia Red dry and Armenia Pomegranate Semisweet served with cheese and meat platers.

OVERNIGHT IN YEREVAN

MEALS: Breakfast/Lunch

 

Day 5

 

Breakfast served

Picture5We’ll depart Yerevan this morning and travel south, through the plains of Ararat to visit Khor Virab Monastery– the beginning of the History of Christianity in Armenia, magnificently set against the towering slopes of Biblical Mount Ararat.

The monastery is the site where St. Gregory the Illuminator was incarcerated and is a place of pilgrimage for many Armenian Christians. We also aim to visit the site of Noravank Monastery. Situated on a hill overlooking a twisted gorge, this is not only a place of breathtaking beauty, but also an architectural delight, that dates from the 13th and 14th centuries.

Our Jeep tour takes you places to explore, and leaves you with unforgettable memories of the landscapes and wildlife of Vayots Dzor. Learn about the red rock geology of the area, admire the most iconic and historic structure such as Noravank Monastery while taking in the breathtaking panoramic views of the monastery and the Noravank Canyon.

Close by is the village of Areni, famed for its wine and surrounded by a landscape of towering peaks, and we’ll have time to sample some local produce of this delightful mountain community.

Returning to the main highway we shall start driving south to Goris.

OVERNIGHT IN GORIS

MEALS: Breakfast/Lunch

 

Day 6

 

Breakfast Served

Picture8Serpentine road brings us to explore Tatev Monastery (UNSECO), which provides a spectacular view of mountain ranges.

The Aerial Tramway of Tatev – spanning 5.7 kilometers across the spectacular Vorotan River Gorge, offers a spectacular journey with breathtaking views of the river gorge below. Most importantly, it will link you to one of the jewels of Armenia’s medieval legacy – Tatev Monastery as well the Tatev Aerial Tramway – the longest passenger aerial tramway in the world – is poised to be one of southern Armenia’s most popular attractions. The picturesque monastery is nestled at the top of an impregnable plateau, crowned by the ramparts walls from the upper part of the territory. Afterwards, you will have time to discover the interior of the monastery which was founded in the 4th cent., becoming an important religious and educational center of medieval Armenia in 9-10th cc. 

On this day we will also travel to Khndzoresk village an ancient village in the caves, a truly awe-inspiring scenery.

After we will continue our trip to Yeghegis Village.

OVERNIGHT IN YEGHEGIS

MEALS: Breakfast/Lunch

 

Day 7

 

Breakfast served

We will start our hike from Yeghegis village which was one of the richest medieval cities in Armenia. A peaceful hike leading us to one of the best destinations where we’ll experience with breathtaking views and magical doors of Smbataberd fortress.

186513700_766943284186999_8782701603151149578_nSmbataberd is an impressive 5th century fortress located on the crest of a very high hill. With steep cliffs guarding three of its sides, the makers of Smbataberd clearly understood the location’s advantage; the fortress remained unconquered for around 600 years! 

From the fortress one can enjoy a magnificent view of Mount Teksar.

  • Length of the route – 12 km
  • Difficulty level – moderate

Return back we will stop to the Jewish cemetery at the outskirts of the village of Yeghegis – is a unique witness to the existence of Jewish communities in medieval Armenia.

OVERNIGHT IN YEGHEGIS

MEALS: Breakfast/Lunch

 

Day 8

 

Breakfast Served

Picture6We’ll depart this morning and travel north, which is passing via one of the principal routes of the “Great Silk Road” – Vardenisyan (Selim) Pass, linking the southern region of Vayots Dzor to the eastern region of Gegharkunik.

After we have another stop in one of the ancient Orbelian’s Caravanserai from 14th century. Continually on the way, you will admire a splendid view of the area.

Not far from Hayrivank Monastery on the shore of Lake Sevan is the settlement of Noraduz famous for its khachkars (crosses-stones) cemetery. There are about 900 khachkars of various styles and epochs there. Noraduz Cemetery became one of the most visited and popular sights of the Gegarkunik region because there is one of the largest collections of Armenian khachkars. The prominent feature of the majority of khachkars is the cross with a solar disk under it.

Our final visit of the day is unique in its own right… the Mikayelyan Cheese Cellar, is where we will have a chance to oversee the production of Gourmet cheeses and taste a variety of wonderful flavors complimented by a glass of wine.

Our next stop is Dilijan: “A piece of Switzerland in Armenia” – Earth and sky, woods and fields, rivers, the mountains are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn otherwise…

OVERNIGHT in DILIJAN

MEALS: Breakfast/Lunch

 

Day 9

 

Breakfast served

Picture7“Old Town Dilijan” complete with craftsmen workshops, small shops with traditional Armenian products and crafts, museum, showing typical 19th century living with all its local customs and handmade wood furnishings…..

Dilijan National Park is one of the four national parks of Armenia.

Goshavank Monastery and Cross Stones are remarkable due to their special type of handcraft work, called as “needle-made”- the pride of Armenian architecture.

Lake Sevan is considered to be one of the biggest lakes in the world with sweet water situated at the altitude of 1,897 meters above sea level. This gorgeous view to Lake Sevan is opened from the peninsula atop which Sevan Monastery which is nicely nestled, dating to the 9th century.

Back to Yerevan

OVERNIGHT IN YEREVAN

MEALS: Breakfast/Lunch

 

Day 10

 

Breakfast Served

Picture8Today we will visit to Garni, the location of the rare pre-Christian pagan temple maintained in Armenia, dating from the 1st century AD is a splendid example of ancient architecture.

Trip to Garni Canyon: “Symphony of stones” – some of the most dramatic scenery in Armenia. We may have an enjoyable walk down to the Garni gorge where one cannot help admiring basalt formations and natural beauty.

Today you will have the opportunity to follow the whole process of how one of the finest jewels of Armenian cuisine is crated in a tandoor from formless traditional table/lavash making: “Eat thy bread with joy”

Master Class of Traditional Armenian bread “lavash” being baked in tonir (ground oven). The preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional bread as an expression of culture in Armenia has been inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Picture9It is said that music has a way of speaking without words and can somehow speak directly to a person’s soul. Today’s visit will give us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share with feel this language of music and expresses it through the playing of Armenian musical instruments DUDUK which is arguably one of the most powerful of all instruments in its ability to move someone in their very core.

Then we will reach Geghard (Cave monastery) (UNESCO) architectural complex (12-13th centuries), carved out of one monolithic rock. Due to the extraordinary acoustics, when the local singer begins to sing in this chamber it is hard to believe a large choir isn’t singing… be aware it is only one man…

In Garni and Geghard, you can also see many natural sights, the Azat canyon and Khosrov reserve are wonders of nature. They appear to be a gigantic basalt “organ” in the rocks, where the stone symphony dies out.

Return Yerevan

OVERNIGHT in YEREVAN

MEALS: Breakfast/Lunch

 

Day 11

 

Breakfast Served

MUSEUM AND SHOOPING DAY IN YEREVAN

Visit to Tsitsernakaberd memorial and museum to the 1915 Genocide, which is one of the most impressive monuments in Yerevan.

Picture10Visit to “MEGERIAN RUGS” Factory & Showroom: Which brings together time-honored traditions and a range of exquisite aesthetics to create objects of art for modern living, and you will become acquainted with the ancient technology of Armenian carpet making.

Visit to “NOY” ARARAT Brandy, Wine Factory:  “…one does not drink brandy, one derives pleasure from it.” Just let’s do it in one of the oldies factories in “NOY” Yerevan Brandy factory, Tour and tasting

Free time in Yerevan, use it to explore the city by yourself.

Later this afternoon we will stroll through the ‘Vernissage’, the bustling open air handicraft market. The Vernissage is the perfect place to get a little taste of Armenia and a unique scenario to witness the fusion between national traditions with contemporary taste You can find almost anything in this weekend open market Vernisage. In just a few blocks, you will see, besides art, carpets, old collections of coins and medallions, jewelry, music, books, carved wood, lace, embroidery, ceramics, posters, food, tools, parts for electronics and even pets. It is open year round.

EVENING: FAREWELL DINNER IN A TYPICAL ARMENIAN RESTAURANT WITH LIVE NATIONAL MUSIC AND DANCE

 

OVERNIGHT IN YEREVAN

MEALS: Breakfast/Lunch

 

Day 12

 

Transfer to AIRPORT, Departure

Have a nice and safe flight!!!

SERVICES:

  • Full transportation and transfers in Armenia as specified in itinerary
  • Hotel Accommodation – 11 nights
  • Meals as indicated – Breakfast
    Entrance fee to all sightseeing destinations
  • English-speaking professional tour guide
  • Applicable taxes
  • Bottle water

 

**Itinerary is subject to change at any time