Long Weekend in Armenia
4 days/ 3 nights
Tour code: 2C/1
Day 1: Arrival / City tour / Echmiadzin / Zvartnots / Yerevan
Arrival in Zvartnots airport. Meet and greet transfer, accommodation at the hotel. Breakfast at the hotel. City tour around Yerevan. The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC. A little part of the capital city's 3,000-year history has survived: Central Yerevan was once dominated by huge Soviet-style buildings, but now, due to the nowadays active constructions, many modern-style buildings appear. While your tour you will see the Republic Square which is designed in the traditional Armenian architectural style and includes the Government House Republic square, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Central Post Office, the National Art Gallery. You will also see Opera house, Victory Park with Mother Armenia statue, the Sports and Concert complex, Kievyan Bridge, Baghramyan Avenue, the Presidential Palace, Academy of Sciences, National Parliament, Writers Union and the fruit market. Lunch in a local restaurant. Visit to the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial park and museum of the victims of Genocide. Departure to Echmiadzin which is mere 20 km from Yerevan. On the way visit to St Hripsime church which is considered to be one of the 7 wonders of Armenia. Etchmiadzin Cathedral is known as the center of the Armenian - Gregorian Church and appears to be one of the world's first Christian churches. Legend has it that it was here that Jesus Christ descended from heaven to show were he wanted a church built. So Echmiadzin means “The only-begotten descended”. The Church was built between the years 301 - 303 AD under the Armenian king Tiridates III and the first Armenian Catholicos, St. Gregory the Illuminator. Return to Yerevan with stop at the ruins of Zvartnots temple - the pearl of the 7th c. architecture (inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list). Drive back to Yerevan. Welcome dinner in a national restaurant and overnight at Yerevan.
Day 2: Yerevan / Carpet Factory / Khor Virap / Areni/Noravank / Yerevan
Start tour to Carpet Factory to see Armenian Carpet making process. Sightseeing tour to Khor-Virap monastery 4- 17th cc. 45 km. from Yerevan the monastery of Khor-Virap has a very rich history, both religious and secular. Khor Virap was built in Artashat during the reign of the Arshakids dynasty. At that time it was used as a pit- dungeon for convicts. In the 60s of the 4th century Artashat was ruined by Persian invaders. It is situated in the Ararat valley against the biblical Ararat Mountain, were Noah's arch cast anchor. The importance of it is connected with Gregory the Illuminator, who introduced Christianity to Armenia and is considered to be the first Armenian catholicos. Here you will also have an opportunity to take a lit candle from the pit like His holiness Paul II did while his visit to Khor Virap. Continue tour to Noravank monastery - a great religious and cultural centre of 12th c. On the way visit Areni wine factory to taste local wine made from special sorts of vines. Noravank (“New Monasterey”) is 122 km away from Yerevan and is located in an inaccessible location throughout the stunning nature. The oldest structure of the monastery is the church of St. Karapet (9-10 c) that has not survived. The principal church is known as St. Karapet as well, which was built in the 13th c. The church has an atrium, which was rebuilt by the famous architect and sculptor Momik and is decorated with bas-relives on religious themes. Lunch in a local cave cafe. Drive back to the capital city. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 3: Matenadaran / Garni / Geghard / Vernisage / Fruit Market
Departure to Garni Temple. The citadel and pagan temple of Garni is a picturesque monument of the Hellenistic period and an impressive piece of ancient Armenian architecture. It was built in the first century A.D. by the Armenian King Tiridates and it is dedicated to a heathen god, probably to Mithra, the god of the sun whose figure stood in the depth of the sanctuary. After proclaiming Christianity as a state religion in Armenia in 301, the temple was probably used as a summer residence of the kings. Lunch at a local house in Garni where you will have opportunity to watch Armenian national bread “lavash” baking and barbeque making process in the underground stove called “tonir”. Northeast of Garni, higher up the gorge of the Azat river, there is a magnificent monument of medieval Armenian architecture - Geghard monastery inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list (inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list). Geghard is another incredible ancient Armenian monastery, partly carved out of a mountain. The meaning "the Monastery of the Spear", originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus during his crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now the historical spear is displayed in the Etchmiadzin treasury. Though the monastery of Gueghard was around before the 4th century, the main cathedral was built in 1215. The entrance of the compound is surrounded by high walls on three sides and mountain on the other. Outside the monastery complex there are some caves which have a bunch of little cave rooms and are quite interesting. Return back. In the second half of the day visit open air market Vernissage that bustles with hundreds of vendors selling a variety of crafts on weekends. The market offers woodcarving, antiques, fine lace, and the hand-knotted wool carpets and kilims that are a Caucasus specialty. Visit to the famous fruit market for shopping of dry fruits including Armenian apricot. Farewell dinner and overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 4: Departure