Armenia – Iran
15 days / 14 nights
Tour code: 12C/2
This combination tour will give you a unique opportunity to experience two quite different cultures in the same region.
Day 1: Arrival
Arrival in Zvartnots airport. Meet and greet transfer, accommodation at the hotel. Rest.
Day 2: Yerevan city tour
City tour around Yerevan. Lunch in a local restaurant. Visit to the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial park and museum of the victims of Genocide. In the second half of the day your main attraction will be Armenian History Museum, here the important archaeological collection from Stone Age through Medieval periods is dark and almost unlabeled, but should not be missed. Welcome dinner and overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 3: Holy See Echmiadzin/Zvartnots /Vernissage
After breakfast at the hotel departure to Echmiadzin which is mere 20 km from Yerevan. It is known as the center of the Armenian - Gregorian Church and appears to be one of the world's first Christian churches. Visit The Churches of St. Hripsimeh (630 AD) that is a veritable masterpiece of Armenian architecture and is considered to be one of the 7 wonders of Armenia. Return to Yerevan with stop at the ruins of Zvartnots temple - the pearl of the 7th c. architecture. Lunch in a national restaurant in Yerevan city. 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. Dinner in a national restaurant and overnight at Yerevan.
Day 4: Khor Virap/ Areni/ Noravank
Sightseeing tour to Khor-Virap monastery 4- 17th cc. 45 km. from Yerevan the monastery of Khor-Virap has a very rich historyIt 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 first. Continue tour to Noravank monastery - a great religious and cultural centre of 12th c. Lunch in a local cave cafe. Drive back to the capital city. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 5: The Matenadaran/ Garni/ Gueghard
Visit to the depositary of ancient manuscripts the Matenadaran which contains historical documents from all over Europe and Asia throughout many centuries. 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). Return back. Farewell dinner and overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 6: Amberd Fortress/ Sanahin & Haghpat Monasteries/Dzoraget
Excursion to Amberd which is a fortress complex of 9th to 13th centuries and means “a fortress in the clouds” - a fitting name given for its elevation at 2,300m on the slopes of Mount Aragats. Lunch on the spot. Drive to Lori region. Start tour to the architectural complexes of Sanahin (966 AD) and Haghpat (976 AD) which are among the outstanding works of medieval Armenian architecture and are inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list. The architectural details and decoration of the monuments, which belong to the same epoch, have much in common and are even exactly alike in some cases, which gives us ground to presume that they were created by craftsmen of the same school. Dinner and overnight at the hotel Avan Dzoraget.
Day 7: Dzoraget/ Dilijan/ Goshavank/ Lake Sevan
Early departure from picturesque Dzoraget village for 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. Continue tour to Lake Sevan. Lunch in Sevan tasting local fish. About 70 miles north of Yerevan sits Lake Sevan the largest alpine in the world. Dinner and overnight in Sevan.
Day 8: Lake Sevan / Noradouz/Selim Pass/ Karahounge/ Goris
From Lake Sevan start tour to Goris. Proceed on the way 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 Yerevan. Stop at the 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.Lunch on the spot. Continue tour tour to Karahunge (Stonehenge), ancient observatory 6mil B.C. It is located at 1770 m. above sea level. Dinner and overnight in the town of Goris.
Day 9: Goris/ Tatev /Khndzoresk/Goris
Start the tour from Goris to explore the city, visiting the exciting Dig Dig stones – natural monument. Nestled in a bowl of green hills and mountains, with interesting formations and many previously inhabited caves in them, Goris has some of the nicest overall Armenian architecture in Armenia. Excursion tour to Khndzoresk which is a cave village and there are many signs of past settlement throughout the valley which are just waiting for discovery. You will see that many of the caves have been carved out by man and they served as houses for people. Continue to explore a monastic complex of Tatev (Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO) which is an architectural masterpiece dating from the 10th century and is often called a monastery built on the edge of nothing. On the way to this monastery there is a strange natural bridge called the Devil’s Bridge. The journey takes about 7 hours and is a totally absorbing and unique experience. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Goris.
Day 10: Goris/ Meghri/ Jolfa/ Marand
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Meghri (Syunik region) cross Iran-Armenian border. Border formalities: bus and guide change. On the way visiting beautiful monastery of St. Stephen, isolated among the hills (XIII c.). Visit the medieval castle and church (XVI-XVIII century). Drive to the historical town of Jolfa, located near the Aras River. Jolfa served as a stronghold for Christian Armenians to have a rich and unique culture. Drive to the city of Marand. Dinner and overnight in Marand.
Day 11: Marand/ Ghara Kelissa/ Tabriz
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to north-west through the ruins of the citadel at the time of Urartu. Visit Garah Kelissa and one of the most famous monuments in Iran and Christian pilgrimage site: Armenian Church St. Thaddeus (IV-XIII c. proposed as World Heritage by UNESCO), the largest and most beautiful Armenian church in Iran . Drive to Tabriz. Dinner and overnight in Tabriz.
Day 12: Tabriz/ Kandovan/ Tabriz
Breakfast at the hotel. Start tour with visiting Tabriz, ancient Persian capital. Visit the Friday Mosque and the Blue Mosque destroyed several times by earthquakes) and is regarded as the masterpiece of decoration enameled in Iran. Visit Municipality building, the remains of the citadel of Alishah (Arg-e-Tabriz), the old bazaar and Chehel Dokhtar Bridge, then walk to the Rose Garden of the Golie Island. Lunch time. Continue tour to the troglodyte village of Kandovan, a traditional village with its houses built in the rock that will remind you Cappadocia in Turkey. Drive back to Tabriz. Dinner and overnight in Tabriz.
Day 13: Tabriz/ Takhte Soleiman/ Zanjan
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to the archaeological site of Takht-e Soleiman (Throne of Solomon) classified as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is one of archaeological highlights in western Iran. It is located at 2500 m altitude. The fortress dates from the time Sasanian III c. AD and is linked to the cult Mazdean. Here one can find remains of palaces, warehouses and the Temple of Fire. Visit also Zandan e-Soleiman, prison of Salomon with the depth of 60m. Tour around Zanja: the capital of cutlery, visit Knives factory, a very original historical monument. Visit the Jame Mosque, the House of Zolfaghari. Continue discovering the lively Bazaar, one of the largest bazaars of Iran at the time of Qadjar. Dinner and overnight in Zanjan.
Day 14: Zanjan/ Sultanieh/ Qazvin/ Tehran
Breakfast at the hotel. Start the tour to Sultanieh to visit the Mausoleum of Oldjaïtou, which has one of the biggest domes in the world (UNESCO world heritage). Sultanieh was once the capital of Mongolian Ilkhan. Continue tour to Qazvin, a major transit center since ancient times, visit the Friday Mosque, the mausoleum of Hussein and Chazdeh House Aminiha. Lunch time. Drive to Teheran. Dinner and overnight in Teheran.
Day 15: Departure
Transfer to the hotel and departure home