Magical Holiday in Armenia
8 days / 7 nights
Tour code: 2C/2
You want to explore the city older than Rome ...
Feel the mistery of the Biblical Mount Ararat of which you have read many times in the Bible …
experience the freshness of the second highest alpine lake of the world …
explore the last pagan temple in the whole Caucasus …
feel authentic Christianiaty in the first Christian church in the cradle of Christianity …?
Make your dream come true by our magical holiday program in Armenia!
Day ½: Arrival – Yerevan city tour
Arrival in Zvartnots airport. Meet and greet transfer, accommodation at the hotel. Rest. 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. 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 Erebouni Fortress Museum and Armenian History Museum, here the important archaeological collections from Stone Age through Medieval periods are dark and almost unlabeled, but should not be missed. Welcome dinner and overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 3: Yerevan -Matenadaran -Ashtarak – Saghmosavank - Amberd Fortress-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Start tour to the Matenadaran which contains historical documents from all over Europe and Asia throughout many centuries.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. 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. It’s also one of those rare churches where some traces of frescos are still seen. Continue to Saghmossavank medieval monastery, situated in the breathtaking site, at the deep canyon of Ashtarak. Sgmossamvank is translated as “monastery of psalms”. According to the tradition when the first church of the monastery was built the priests kept reading psalms 40 days long so the monastery was called monastery of psalms. . Lunch in a local house tasting homemade dishes. 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 back to Yerevan. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 4 :Yerevan –Noraduz- Lake Sevan- 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. This huge mountain lake which takes up to 5% of Armenia's surface area is about 2,000 meters above sea level and is the second highest freshwater lake in the world. The monastery peninsula is the most popular spot, and is the closest place to visit as well. On the way 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. Lunch in Sevan tasting local fish. 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. Dinner and overnight in Yerevan.
Day 5: 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. 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 6: Yerevan - Echmiadzin-Zvartnotz- Genocide museum – Yerevan
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. 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 which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage. Lunch in a national restaurant in Yerevan city. Visit to the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial park and museum of the victims of Genocide. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Optional visit to Yerevan Brandy Factory
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 home!
Transfer to the airport and departure.