Summer Armenia - Blessing of the Grapes
Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God
Each year on the Sunday closest to the date of August 15, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary, the Holy Mother of God. In the Calendar of the Armenian Church, this feast is the fourth of five major feasts that are commemorated, and is the oldest one dedicated to St. Mary.
The Armenian Church has a deep and abiding respect towards St. Mary. Special emphasis is placed on her being a mother, her honesty, her unique spirit of humility, her virtuous behavior and her unselfish dedication. For Armenian women, the Holy Virgin is the embodiment of virtue, pious motherhood, and the protector of family sacredness.
On the Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary, the Ceremony of the Blessing of the Grapes is conducted, and the harvest for the entire year is blessed on that day.
Day 1. 13 August, Fri: Arrival
Arrival in Zvartnots airport. Meet and greet transfer, accommodation at the hotel. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 2. 14 August, Sat: Yerevan – City tour – History Museum – Vernisage
In the morning meet your tour director and start 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 and are going to appear. Visit Tsisternakaberd Memorial Park and Genocide Museum. Visit also Armenian History Museum, here the important archaeological collections from Stone Age through Medieval periods are dark and almost unlabeled, but should not be missed. In late afternoon visit Vernisage open air market. Welcome dinner and overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 3: 15 August, Sun: Blessing of the Grapes and Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God
Yerevan – Amberd – Sagmosavank – Karmravor – Oshakan – Yerevan
Tour to Fortress of Amberd, 9th century, situated at about 2000 m. above sea level. The fortress stands on a rocky cape formed by the rivers Amberd and Arkhashen. Continue to Saghmossavank medieval monastery, situated in the breathtaking site, at the deep canyon of Qasakh. Proceed to Ashtarak – one of the most ancient Armenian cities, to visit the church of Karmravour. It’s one of the smallest pan-Armenian churches but in spite of its size you can still feel authentic Christianity. Drive to Oshakan where the inventor of Armenian alphabet Mesrop Mashtots is berried. Participate at the spectacle dedicated to the Blessing of the Grapes. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 4: 16 August, Mon: Yerevan – Khor Virap – Areni - Noravank – Yerevan
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. It is situated in the Ararat valley against the biblical Ararat Mountain, were Noah's arch cast anchor. 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 Monastery”) is 122 km away from Yerevan and is located in an inaccessible location throughout the stunning nature. Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 5: 17 August, Tue: Yerevan – Echmiadzin – Zvartnots – Fruit Market
After breakfast at the hotel 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. Return to Yerevan with stop at the ruins of Zvartnots temple - the pearl of the 7th c. architecture which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage. Visit Fruit market in Yerevan, where one can find also Armenian famous dried fruit. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 6: 18 August: Yerevan – Sevan – Noraduz – Dilijan – Goshavank – Yerevan
Early departure from Yerevan to Lake Sevan. About 70 miles north of Yerevan sits Lake Sevan the largest alpine in the world. 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. Drive to Dilijan which is one of the famous resort areas in Armenia. People say, "If Paradise had mountains, woods, and mineral springs, it would be just like Dilijan". The natural beauty of Dilijan is so, that it is also called "Armenian Little Switzerland". In the upper reaches of the Agstev river, there is Goshavank (12-13 cc), the monastery ensemble of the Dilijan district. It is situated in dense oak woods, in the gorges of small but turbulent mountain rivers and is unique with one of the most interesting and famous Armenian cross-tone. Drive to Yerevan. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 7: 19 August: Yerevan – Matenadaran – Garni – Geghard – Yerevan
Start tour to the Matenadaran which contains historical documents from all over Europe and Asia throughout many centuries. There is also the first copy of the Bible in Armenian and the Gospels that fascinate with their beautiful miniatures. 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. 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. Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 8: Departure
Transfer to airport. Departure.