|Culture & Hiking|
11 days / 10 nights
Day 1/2: Arrival / Yerevan City Tour / History museum
Arrival in Yerevan in the early morning. Meet and greet transfer to hotel. Short rest. After a late breakfast Visit Armenian History Museum where the testimonies of Stone Age until the 19th century are held. Walking tour through the capital, like visiting the monument of Cascade 500 m in length and Genocide Memorial. In the evening a welcome dinner in a traditional restaurant. Overnight at hotel in Yerevan.
(~3 hour hiking)
Day 3. Yerevan / Echmiadzin / Zvartnots / Vernisage
Breakfast at the hotel. Start tour to the Matenadaran - depository of antient manuscripts of highest value. Visit to the church of Hripsimeh which is considered to be the seventh wonder of Armenia with its unique cruciform domed architecture. Visit to the town of Echmiadzin. Echmiadzin is the center of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Here is the location of Echmiadzin Cathedral, which is one of the oldest standing churches in Christendom. The cathedral was built in 301-303 AD over a pagan fire altar. Continue tour to the ruins of Zvartnots Temple (7th century) which is listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Zvartnots is an outstanding monument of world architecture, an evidence of the high level of the development of the artistic and engineering thought in the 7th-century Armenia. The cathedral had been standing for about 300 years and was destroyed by a disastrous earthquake. But even in ruins it has a majestic beauty. Return to Yerevan. In the second half of the day visit Vernissage open air market (this market is open on Saturday and Sunday) where you can buy souvenirs and jewellery silver handicrafts made by Armenian masters. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan. (~3 hour hiking)
Day 4: Yerevan - Khor Virap - Noravank Monastery - Noravank Canyon - Karahunge - Goris
Breakfast and check out from the hotel. Start tour to the north, to Ararat region home to former town of Artashat an ancient capital of Armenia. Visit to Khor Virap Monastery, the site of royal prison where St. Gregory the Illuminator was held for thirteen years before converting Armenia into the first Christian country in 301. This is the closest point to this mountain and to the Armenian-Turkish border. Hiking on the hill where the monastery is located from where the Armenian - Turkish border and the Mt. Ararat are seen. Continue tour to Vayots Dzor region. En route visit Areni wine producing factory in the village of the same name. Situated high in the mountains this region will thrill you by its sheer arid magnificence. Hiking from the village to the canyon full of caves. Then arrive at Noravank monastery of 13th c. which is listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Noravank ("New monastery") was founded by Bishop Hovhannes, who moved there in 1205. During the 13th and 14th centuries a series of princes of the Orbelian clan built churches which served as the burial site for the family. Drive to Goris by visiting the famous pre-Christian sites of Zorats Karer (Karahunj) - a 4200 BC astral observatory, and Bronze Age Vishap (dragon) stones. Arrival in Goris by a stop at the gates of the town to admire the panoramic view of the landscapes. Check in and overnight in Goris. (~3 hour hiking)
Day 5: Goris - Devil's bridge - Tatev Monastic Complex - Goris
Breakfast at the hotel. Through the mountains of the Syunik region an approximately 1.5-hour drive brings us to the "Devil's Bridge" which is a natural bridge over Vorotan river. Possibility to walk a part of the long Vorotan Pass and arrive to Tatev monastic complex (1,500 m). The up and downs are not very steep. The monastery complex is located near the village of Tatev. In the Middle Ages, the monastery was one of the most important centers of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Armenian Science and Education. Due to its strategic position high above the canyon Vorotan it was protected and not very accessible. Another possibility to have a 40 min. hiking continuing the pass and having a magnificant view to the monastery and the gorge from the top. Drive back and overnight in Goris. (~3-4 hour hiking)
Day 6: Goris - Selim Pass & Caravanserai - Noraduz - Lake Sevan
Breakfast at the hotel in Goris. Check out and proceed to Lake Sevan by visiting the highlights of the region. Visit to the medieval amazingly intact Selim Caravanserai, an important trading post on the Great Silk Road. In medieval Armenia many buildings were built along commercial routes for the accommodation of travelers. One of those, the Selim caravanserai, according to an inscription in Armenian and Arabic was built in 1332 by Prince Chesar Orbelian, This caravanserai offered hospitality to travelers along the highway crossing the Selim (Sulema) mountains. Selim is an excellent example of Armenian secular architecture in the middle Ages. Possibility to walk a part of the Silk Road where once caravans passed. Through the pass proceed to Noradous - an ancient cemetery of Middle Ages, this is the biggest cemetery of khachkars (cross-stones) in Armenia, dating back to 7-10 c. The second half of the day will be already in Sevan Lake. About 70 miles north of Yerevan sits Lake Sevan the second largest alpine in the world. This huge mountain lake which takes up to 5% of Armenia's surface area and is about 2,000 meters above sea level and it is one of the highest among the freshwater lakes in the world. With its history and scenery Lake Sevan is among the most inviting destinations in the world. Visit to the Sevanavank monastic complex on the peninsula which used to be an island. Possibility to arrive the top of the penisula and have a beautiful view to the lake and the monasteries. Overnight at the hotel in Sevan. (~2 hours hiking).
Day 7: Sevan -Dilijan Nature Park - Lake Parz - Goshavank Monastery - Dilijan
Breakfast at the hotel in Sevan. Journey southward to forested Dilijan Nature Park, a protected area renowned for its serene lakes, picturesque hill trails and peaceful villages. This is a prime hiking area and tourists can enjoy a relaxing day on foot actively experiencing nature. Stop at the medieval bridge to start walking to the Aghavnavank. Visit also the beautiful lake Parz in Gosh village. There is an opportunity to explore the architectural jewel of Goshavank, which was erected in the place of an older monastery, Nor Ghetik, which had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1188. Mkhitar Gosh, a statesman, outstanding scientist and writer, an author of numerous fables and parables and of the first criminal code, took part in building the monastery, which was known as Goshavank in his honor. Overnight at the hotel in Dilijan. (~3-4 hour hiking)
Day 8: Dilijan - Kobayr - Sanahin - Hagpat - Dzoraghet
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Lori region. Set high in the mountains, this charming site promises some of the most thrilling discoveries taking you back to the times of powerful kings. Walking tour through the forested mountain and arrive to Kobayr monastic complex . It is situated through the mountain on the left bank of the Debed river gorge (about 1 hour hiking to arrive to the monastery). Lori is home to Hagpat and Sanahin monasteries listed as UNESCO World heritage sites. The architectural complexes of Sanahin and Haghpat are among the outstanding works of medieval Armenian architecture. Sanahin was an important literary and educational centre in medieval times. It was founded in 966. One of the most beautiful monastries Haghpat was founded later in around 976. Haghpat was also a major literary center in the middle ages. One can never describe these monasteries by words, one should see them. Another possibility to have a 3 hour walk through the villages and go from Sanahin to Hagpat monastery. Overnight at the hotel in Dzoraghet. (~4 hour hiking)
Day 9: Dzoraget - Byurakan Observatory- Amberd Fortress - Sagmosavank - Yerevan
Breakfast at the hotel. Start back to the highest peak of Transcaucasia, Aragats (4,090m), an extinct volcano. Stop at the Byurakan observatory - the peak of Armenian science. Walking tour to Amberd fortress. Visit Amberd fortress reached its zenith as the seat of the Pahlavuni feudal family in the 11th century and remained a key defensive site for centuries. Prince Vahram Pahlavuni built the church in 1026, as documented by the inscription on the inside lintel of the north doorway. Stop at the letter park - this is a little park where all the letters of Armenian alphabet are erected from Armenian stone -tuffa, it was built in 2005 and symbolizes 1600 anniversary of Armenian alphabet. Return to the capital. On the way to the capital visit also Sagmosavank monastic complex located near the Kasagh gorge. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan. (~3 hour hiking)
Day 10: Yerevan - Geghard - Garni Temple - Garni Canyon - Monastery Havuts Tar - Yerevan
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Kotayk region. Higher up the gorge of the Azat river the magnificent monument of medieval Armenian architecture- Gueghard monastery (13th century). Geghard is an incredible ancient Armenian monastery, partly carved out of a mountain and is also listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Outside the monastery complex there are some caves which have a bunch of little cave rooms and are quite interesting for exploring. Continue to Garni village with visiting of the Hellenic - Pagan temple of Garni (1 A.D.). Lunch in Garni in a private house where the tourists will have the opportunity to participate in lavash (Armenian bread) baking process, this particular kind of bread is baked in a special underground stove called "tonir"; they will try also Armenian barbeque made in this stove. Garni - the citadel and pagan temple of Garni is a picturesque temple 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 was dedicated to a heathen god, probably to Mithra, the god of the sun whose figure stood in the depth of the sanctuary. Possibility to have a walking tour to the gorge of Garni to see the Symphony of Stones and arrive at another beautiful piece of Armenian architecture Havuts Tar monastery located in Khosrov National Park. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
(~3-4 hour hiking)
Day 11: Departure
Transfer to the airport and departure.