11 days / 10 nights
Day 1-Arrival to Tbilisi
Arrival to Tbilisi, at the morning of the next day, meet with guide and driver, transfer to hotel
Overnight in Tbilisi
Day 2-Tbilisi City Tour
After breakfast, will have walking tour in Tbilisi old town.
Places to visit:
Metekhi Church (13th cc) – was built under the order of king Demetre the 2nd (‘The Devoted’), although the former church stood here already in 5th century. This area was considered both religious and royal site, as in 12th century royal palace was moved near the church; From here you will enjoy a beautiful view of old city, Narkhala fotress and modern park
Narikhala Fotress (4th – 18th cc) – or Shuris Tsikhe, translated into English as Rival Fortress, is the ancient site of Tbilisi built by Arabs in 4th c. With its unique strategic location both local rulers and foreign invaders looked to make Narikhala their headquarters. Archaeological research in 1967 revealed that there was a twelfth century church inside the Narikala complex. The church was rebuilt in 1996 and designed in keeping with the fortress surrounding it. The interior is decorated with frescoes, depicting both biblical scenes and the history of Georgia.
Abanotubani – famous with its sulphur bathhouses.
Sioni Cathedral (7th -19th cc) – has been ransacked, and damaged many times through its history. Despite all the havoc and destruction Sioni has survived and in such terms may be judged as a symbol for the city as a whole.
The Bridge of Peace– The glass pedestrian bridge of Peace on the Mtkvari River connects the Old Town and the modern Tbilisi – a great view of many of the city’s sights opens up from here.
Anchiskhati Basilica (6th cc) – oldest church in Tbilisi
Lunch at the restaurant. Overnight in Tbilisi
Day 3-Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Kazbegi – Gudauri
At morning drive to Mtskheta – one the ancient cities, inhabited from II millennium B.C, famous with its historical and architectural monuments; later drive to Khevi province – Kazbegi (Stepantsminda). People of Khevi are called Mokheves. In ancient times, a road of a great strategic and military importance was built through Dariali canyon – a 15 km gash in the earth. Today this road is well known as the Georgian Military Highway, which connects Northern Caucasus with Transcaucasus. The landscape is impressive and severe with alpine meadows dotted with yellow rhododendron, mountain passes and waterfalls, and the marvelous snow-capped Mount Mkinvartsveri – an inactive 5047 meter high volcano, where according the Georgian mythology Amirani – prototype of Prometheus was chained;
After finishing the visit, return back to Gudauri for overnight
Places to visit:
Jvari Church (6th-7th cc) (UNESCO site) – is a masterpiece of the early Medieval Period. It stands on a mountain opposite the ancient city of Mtskheta. St. Nino erected the first wooden cross at the site. Its pedestal can still be seen in the center of the church. This example of classic tetra conch design with all its miniature size, strikes the viewers with its grandeur and integrity.
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th cc) (UNESCO site) – which may be translated as “The Life-giving pillar”, is the main church of Mtskheta and a sacred place where, according Georgians belief the robe of Christ was being kept
Gergety Trinity Church (Sameba) (14th cc) – was the only cupola church in the Khevi region. Perched on the top of the Tsminda Sameba (Holy Trinity) hill at 2170 meters above sea level, it is something of a symbol of Georgia. The severe beauty of glaciers and austerity of local people are reflected in the construction of such a huge church on such a height. The trek up to the Gergety Trinity church starts at the village Gergety and passes through lush forests and alpine fields. (*the church is located on the top of the hill, 2 hours of walking tour is needed, at about 6.5km from the center of Kazbeg till the church; on supplementary basis can be rent 4×4 vehicle – Delica to reach the Gergeti Trinity Church).
*Visit to Teka art workshop, where you will see Teka – woolen felt elaboration and taste local herbal tea with local sweet called Muraba (candied fruit)
Lunch at local restaurant.
Dinner and overnight at hotel in Gudauri
Day 4-Gudauri – Gori – Uplistsikhe – Tbilisi
After breakfast will drive to Tbilisi, via Kartli province – known as heart of Georgia, famous with its green fields, agriculture and historical monuments
Places to visit:
Ananuri architectural complex – belonged to the house of the Eristavi of Aragvi – a violent local ruler. The characteristic architectural design of the late medieval period includes a fortress, two churches, an old watch tower, prison and civic buildings. Located on the famous Georgian Military Highway it stood as a guardian to the Northern boarders of Georgia. A picturesque view of reservoir spread bellow opens from the base of the Ananuri Fortress.
Uplistsikhe – is an ancient cave town from the first half of the first millennium B C., situated on the crossroads of important trade routes. It was the main center of paganism, and represents a complex of halls, caves, theatres, altars, pagan temples, secret tunnels, prisons, pharmacy,
Passages-streets all carved out of stone over an area of 4 hectares.
Stalin’s Museum in Gori.
Lunch at local restaurant
Overnight in Tbilisi
After breakfast, check out from the hotel and departure to Sadakhlo border. Meet with Armenian guide and driver, change vehicle and guide, continue travelling to Armenia
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.
Akhtala Monastery complex – is located about 10 km from the city of Alavard. The castle of Akhtala has been erected on a vast expanse of monumental rocks surrounded by rocky deep gorges that are natural barriers. The main church of the Akhtala monastic complex is the Holy Mother of God. The exact date of the church construction is unknown. It is considered to be the 11th-13th centuries. The church is fully decorated with beautiful frescoes inside.
Overnight at hotel in Dilijan.
Day6 – Dilijan-Goshavank-Haghrtsin – Yerevan
Breakfast at the hotel.
Dilijan is often called’’little Armenian Switzerland” because of its wonderful nature.
The monastic complex Haghatsin is situated in the forest 15 km away from Dilijan.
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.
Goshavank – Goshavank monastery (12-13th century) is situated 20 km away from Dilijan. In historic sources the monastery is referred to as school, academy, university, seminary. Among the subjects were languages – Armenian, as well as foreign languages (Greek, Latin), grammar, rhetoric, music, writing art and painting. Famous men of culture got educated and later worked here.
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.
Further drive to Yerevan. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day7 – Yerevan
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.
Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day8 – Yerevan- Echmiadzin– Ruins of Zvartnots Temple-Factory of ”Noy”
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 Enlightner. 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 9 – Yerevan – Khor Virap – Noravank-Yerevan
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.
Return to Yerevan. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 10 – 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 11 – Yerevan
Transfer to the airport.