Cultural tours 3

Artsakh

10 days/ 9 nights

Day 1 – Yerevan

Arrival at ”Zvartnots” International Airport, Yerevan. Meeting at the airport, transfer to the hotel.

 

Day 2 – Yerevan city tour

After breakfast in the hotel, tourists start their tour around Yerevan, one of ancient cities in the world. Yerevan was founded in 782 B.C. by the king of Urartu Argishti , it became the capital city for the first Republic of Armenia, later Soviet Armenia, and since 1991 it has been the capital of the current Republic of Armenia.

Tourist will have a bit of walking tour in the center of the city, seeing the main square of the city, the Opera and Ballet House, the new avenue called Northern Avenue, as well as other structures.

History Museum of Armenia – History Museum represents a coherent picture of the culture and history of Armenia from ancient times till nowadays.

 

The Cascade Complex – The Complex represents a structure made up from huge stairs, while numerous fountains leave the impression of a waterfall. Cafesjian Center for the Arts is also located here. In the Cascade Complex one can see works of modern sculptors like F. Botero, J. Brychtová,S. Libenský, J. Plensa and many others.

 

The Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial is dedicated to the memory of 1.5 million Armenians who were massacred by the Turks at the beginning of the 20th century.

 

Victory Park –here tourists can find the statue of Mother Armenia and the memorial complex dedicated to the memory of the soldiers who died in the Second World War. A magnificent view of the city opens up from here.

 

Accommodation in the hotel of Yerevan.

 

Day 3 – Echmiadzin

After breakfast tourist will be taken to Echmiadzin.

Echmiadzin is the center of the Armenian Apostolic Church, as well as the Holy See of the head of the church – the Catholicos. The city is considered to be the spiritual capital of Armenia and is located 20km from Yerevan.

Echmiadzin Cathedral was constructed in 301-303 by the founder of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the first Catholicos Gregory the Illuminator. It is considered to be the first Christian church in the world. Inside the church one can find the Treasury (museum) where church relics are kept, among which tourists can see a fragment of Noah’s Ark, Holy Lance that was used by a roman soldier to pierce the side of Jesus Christ and other interesting objects.

St. Hripsime and St. Gayane churches – Hripsime and Gayane were hermit nuns and they were persecuted in the Roman Empire because they were Christians. They found a shelter in Armenia. These churches were constructed exactly in the sites where they were killed. The church of St. Hripsime has a great architectural value as represents one of the first samples of Armenian Church architecture.

Ruins of Zvartnots Temple – Zvartnots was constructed in 643-652, had a unique structure which was different from typical Armenian medieval churches. However, unfortunately, it got destroyed approximately in the 10th century. The ruins of the temple were found at the beginning of the 20th century, and a very little part of it is reconstructed.

Return to Yerevan.

In the evening, visit the cognac factory of ”Noy.The factory has a rich history; it was a castle in the 18th century. Here we will have a tasting of brandy and wine.

 

Day 4 – Yerevan – Khor Virap – Noravank – Karahunj – Goris

After breakfast tourists start their tour driving to Ararat region.

Khor Virap is situated on one of the hills of the historic city of Artashat. Gregory the Enlightner, the founder of the Armenian Apostolic Church, was imprisoned here in the pit for 13 years. The monastery is considered to be a pilgrimage site for the Armenians. An incredible view on the symbol of Armenia – Mount Ararat opens up from here. Unfortunately the mountain now is not in the territory of Armenia.

We continue our tour towards Vayots-dzor region. After driving through the canyon of the river Amaghu we reach the Noravank monastic complex.

Noravank – Noravank was founded in the 13-14 centuries. The monastery is considered to be the pearl of the Armenian medieval architecture. The churches of the monastic complex have a specific architecture with majestic base-reliefs, one of which represents Father God which was a quite a brave action for medieval ages.

We will visit cave Areni 1 where different artifacts belonging to the bronze age were found in 2010. The oldest shoe in the world (5500 years old), a winery, burial place belonging to a young girl were among the findings.

You can also visit the studio of a sculptor, which is situated nearby. The sculptor will show us the art of preparing Armenian khachkars. A khachkar is considered to be a type of fine arts of medieval Armenia; the constituent part of it is a cross carved in a stelle decorated with delicate ornaments. The art of preparing a khachkar entered the list of UNESCO’s non-material cultural heritage in 2010.

Driving towards Syunik region.

Karahunj – One of the world’s oldest megalithic monuments Zorats Karer (Karahunj) is situated near the city of Sisian. Zorats Karer dates back to the 6 millennium B.C. and according to some scholars it was used as an observatory. Many of the stones have holes in them which correspond to the exact location of the stars in those times. The scientists found the same type of structures in Europe as well. The most famous among them is Stonehenge (2 millennium B.C.)

Overnight in Goris.

Day 5 – Goris – Tatev – Shushi – Stepanakert

Breakfast in the hotel.

Tatev – We will visit Tatev monastery which is situated in Syunik region at the edge of the Vorotan river gorge. We will take aerial tramway listed in the world Guinness book as the longest tramway in the world (5.7 km) to reach the monastery. The existing Tatev monastery constructions belong to the 9-10 centuries. Tatev University was considered to be one of the most famous medieval educational centers.

 

We leave for Artsakh Republic (Nagorno Karabakh). Artsakh is a self-proclaimed, unrecognized republic between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but for centuries, Artsakh was part of historical Armenia and was inhabited mainly by Armenians.

Shushi – visit the town of Shushi. A short walk through the city, after which you will see the Surb Kazanchetsots Church, which was built in the 19th century.

Stepanakert – Stepanakert is the capital of Artsakh. We will walk along the center of the city, we will see the sculpture “Grandmother and Grandfather”, which has become a symbol of Artsakh.

Overnight in Stepanakert.

Day 6 – Stepanakert – Gandzasar – Tigranakert – Stepanakert

After breakfast, visit the Artsakh History Museum.

Gandzasar – Gandzasar monastic complex was built in the 13th century and in the years 1400-1816. was the residence of the Catholicos. Despite the fact that during the war of 1991-1993. monastery was shelled, it is valid until today.

Tigranakert – visit the ruins of Tigranakert. Tigranakert is one of the most ancient Armenian cities, presumably the 1st century BC. Until now, excavations are carried out on the territory, and the items are exhibited in the museum, located in the castle.

Return to Stepanakert. Overnight in Stepanakert.

Day 7 – Stepanakert – Khndzoresk – Selim – Sevan – Dilijan

Breakfast at the hotel.

Leaving Artsakh and returning to Armenia.

 

Khndzoresk – we will visit the city carved into the rock with its numerous cave houses. Here people lived in caves until the 50s of the last century.

Orebelian Caravansaray – We will drive from Vayots dzor region to Gegharkunik region through Selim pass (2400 m). We will visit Caravanserai constructed by the Orbelian family (1332). The Silk Road passed through the territory of Armenia as well, that is why a lot of caravanserais were constructed here. The Orbelian Caravanserai is the best preserved one in the territory of Armenia.

Noratus – we will visit an ancient graveyard in Noratus which is famous for its numerous khachkars. The oldest khachkars date back to the 9thcentury.

Later we will visit Lake Sevan.

Lake Sevan is the largest lake in modern Armenia which occupies 5% of the territory of the country. It is situated in Gegharkunik region at 1900 meters above sea level. It’s the second largest alpine lake in the world after Lake Titicaca in South America.

Sevanavank monastery is in the peninsula of Sevan.

Sevanavank – the monastery was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Enlightner, though the existing churches belong to the 9th century and were constructed by the princess of Armenia Mariam Bagratuni in memory of her husband.

We continue our tour towards Dilijan.

Dilijan is often called ”little Armenian Switzerland” because of its wonderful nature.

Overnight in Dilijan.

 

Day 8 – Dilijan – Haghpat – Sanahin – Yerevan

Breakfast at the hotel.

Haghartsin -The complex was formed by constructions belonging to different centuries and it consists of three churches, two narthexes (one is ruined), refectory, several chapels, khachkars and so on. The oldest construction in the complex is St. Gregory church (approximately X century). The most fascinating construction is the refectory which is a bright example of Armenian civil architecture.

Haghpat – Haghpat monastery was founded in 976 during the reign of Ashot G. Bagratuni. The monastery was one of the largest cultural centers of medieval Armenia, where prominent figures of time worked, written and illustrated many manuscripts. The monastery is also of great architectural value, especially the magnificent bell tower.

Sanahin – is also located near the city of Alaverdi. The exact date of Sanahin’s founding is unknown. According to the tradition, the monastery was founded in the 4th century. The name “Sanahin” means “This is Older”, according to the tradition, Sanahin was called an older monastery than Haghpat.

According to the written and material evidence, the current Sanahin Monastery was founded in the 10th century during the reign of King Abas Bagratuni in the 930s. Later, being the administrative center of the Kyurik kings and the cemetery of the ministerial house (half the 12th century). In both monasteries, and especially in Sanahin, humanities, music and medicine were taught and scientific works were written.

Return to Yerevan. Overnight in Yerevan.

 

Day  9 – Yereavn– Garni  – Geghard – Yerevan

After breakfast, we will visit Matenadaran, one of the richest centers of ancient manuscripts. There are over 23,000 ancient manuscripts here.

Later we will drive to Kotayk region.

Geghard monastery  – According to legends the monastery was founded in the 4th century, but nowadays surviving constructions belong to the 13th century. This unique structure, partially cut into the adjacent rock, is surrounded by high mountains. The monastery is included in UNESCO list of world heritage.

Garni Fortress – The territory of Garni fortress was inhabited in the ancient times, inscriptions from the times of the Kingdom of Urartu, as well as constructions belonging to different ages were found here. One of the most significant constructions is the 1st century pagan temple dedicated to the God of Sun Mitra. This temple is the only surviving example of a pagan temple in Armenia, as well as the only one constructed in Greek-Roman style. Tourists will also see the 2nd century bath.

Driving back to Yerevan.

Day 7 – Yerevan

Transfer to the airport.

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