|Wine & brandy tour|
8 days/ 7 nights
If one day you hear Armenia, Cradle of Wine, don't be surprised as it is really so. Noah planted the first vineyards in the Valley of Ararat after his ark descended onbyblical Mt. Ararat.This tour program aims to give you Armenian wine tasting experience and to introduce the traditions, history and the attitude of Armenian nation to the wine they produce.
So welcome to Armenia!
Day 1 /2: Arrival /Yerevan (city tour) / Armenian Cognac Tasting/Yerevan
Arrival at Zvartnots international airport. Meet and greet transfer, accommodation in the hotel. In the morning meet your tour director and start tour around Yerevan. While your tour you will see the Republic Square which is designed in the traditional Armenian architectural style and includes the Government House, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Central Post Office, the National Art Gallery. Along with all major sights of the capital you will also see "Cat statue" by famous sculptor Fernando Botero, will climb up the Cascade to enjoy the panoramic view of Yerevan as well as will see Opera house, Victory Park with Mother Armenia statue, Kievyan Bridge, Baghramyan Avenue, the Presidential Palace, Academy of Sciences, National Parliament, Writers Union and Fruit market. Lunch in a local restaurant. In the second half of the day your main attractions will be the Matenadaran and Armenian History Museum, where the important archaeological collections from Stone Age through Medieval periods are dark and almost unlabeled, but should not be missed. Continue to the famous Yerevan Brandy Factory founded in 1887. During the International Exhibition in Paris in 1900, the brandy received the Grand-Prix and the legal right to be called 'cognac', not 'brandy'. While the tours the visitors are offered to visit the museum of the factory. The bar offers tasting of various old and chateau sort of cognacs, which have mellow-velvety flavor endowed with a rich bouquet of chocolaty-vanilla accents. Screen -tour in the world of legendary Armenian Brandy is in the video hall. Welcome dinner and overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 3: Yerevan / Khor Virap / Ararat Valley Vineyards / Echmiadzin / Zvartnots / Wine tasting/Yerevan
Sightseeing tour to Khor-Virap monastery 4- 17th cc. 45 km. from Yerevan the monastery of Khor-Virap has a very rich history. 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 be in the cradle of wine as it is in Ararat Valley where Noah planted the first vineyards. On the way visit to the village of Taperakan where the tourists will have an opportunity to taste not only wines and brandies (3-8 years old) but also will get acquainted with ancient technologies of Armenian wine making process, as well as tools. Continue to the town of Echmiadzin. Visiting of St. Echmiadzin Cathedral 4th c., Hripsime temple 7th c., ruins of Zvartnots 7th c. Wine tasting and tour at famous Noy wine factory. In the evening there is a possibility to arrange dinner at national restaurant with tasting of different kinds of Armenian wine and national dishes. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 4: Yerevan /Winery in Oshakan / Sagmosavank / Amberd Fortress / Dzoraghet
Start tour with visiting a wine factory in Oshakan village. Here you will have another opportunity to get acquainted with the stories of the wine and cognac producing. Lunch in a wine cellar in Ashtarak tasting home made dishes. Continue to Saghmossavank medieval monastery, situated in the breathtaking site, at the deep canyon of Ashtarak. Tour to Fortress of Amberd, 9th century, 6 km from the village of Byurakan, stands halfway up Mt. Aragats, at the height of 2300m. The fortress stands on a rocky cape formed by the rivers Amberd and Arkhashen. There are also vestiges of a fortified three-storied palace, a church built in 1026, a palace bathhouse with two domes, a central heating system, water tanks, a water-supply system, and a secret passage to a nearby cleft, and other buildings. Drive to the northern part of Armenia. Dinner and overnight in Dzoraghet.
Day 5: Haghpat Monastery / Ijevan Winery / White Wine Tasting / Dilijan resort / Lake Sevan
Start tour to Haghpat monastic complex which is one of highligts of UNESCO. It's located in a fantastic scenary on the top of Debet gorge. Haghpat monastery was one of the largest religious, cultural and educational centers of medieval Armenia. Continue to Ijevan city, the administrative center of Tavush region. Here visit Ijevan winery famous for it's white wine production. Continue to Dilijan resort where you can have a pleasant walk through a museum street with the ceramics workshop and woodcarvers' studio. In the late afternoon drive to Lake Sevan - the pearl of Armenian nature. About 70 miles north of Yerevan sits lake Sevan. This huge mountain lake which takes up to 5% of Armenia's surface area and is about 2,000 meters above sea level is one of the highest among the freshwater lakes in the world. Visit also Sevan monasteries on the peninsula. Dinner and overnight at the hotel Avan Marak Tsapatagh in Sevan.
Day 6: Lake Sevan / Noraduz Cemetry / Selim Caravanserai / Noravank Monastery / Areni Wine Factory / Red Wine Tasting / Yerevan
Start tour to Noraduz ancient cemetery with medieval khachkars (cross-stones) dating back to 6th c. Drive to Vayots Dzor region through Selim Pass visiting the caravanserai (XIV c.). The Selim caravanseray was built in 1332 by Prince Chesar Orbelian, according to an inscription in Armenian and Arabic, this used to be an important trade point in the famous Silk Road. During the lunch time you will already be in Noravank and will taste pure organic lunch in a cave café designed in ancient Armenian style. Sightseeing in 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. Drive to Yerevan. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 7: Yerevan - Garni - Geghard- Vernisage - Yerevan
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. Farewell dinner and overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 8: Departure
Transfer to the airport and departure.