Armenian folklore

9 days / 8 nights

02.10.2019 - 10.10.2019

1

Day 1 (October 2): Arrival in Yerevan – Transfer to the hotel – Yerevan (-/-/-)

Arrival at the Yerevan airport. Meeting with guide and driver.
Transfer to the hotel. Accommodation. Free time.
Overnight in the hotel in Yerevan.

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Day 2 (October 3): Yerevan – City Tour – Echmiadzin – Zvartnots - Yerevan (B/L/D)

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel.
Start overall city tour in Yerevan.
Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia, and one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. Yerevan is older than Rome for 29 years. Situated on the left-bank (along the river Araks) part of the Ararat valley Yerevan offers breathtaking views of holy mountain Ararat. The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC. In 2018 Yerevan celebrated its 2800th anniversary.

Heading to Armavir region.

Visit to Echmiadzin – the spiritual centre of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the residence of the Catholicos of All Armenians. Visit the Mother Cathedral of Holy Echmiadzin – one of the most ancient and the most beautiful examples of Christian architecture. It was founded to commemorate the proclamation of Christianity as the national religion of Armenia. The original building was completed in 303 AD. The Echmiadzin Cathedral is the seat of the throne of the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Since 2000, it is a UNESCO world heritage site.

In Echmiadzin after lunch you will take part in a master class on baking Armenian traditional pasta called Arishta. Master class will be organised by an Armenian TV host.

On the way back to Yerevan you will visit Zvartnots temple (means “celestial angels”) 7th century wonderful architectural masterpiece. The remnants of Zvartnots, even in ruins, are a majestic sight. These sights are listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The site has been the focus of worship from pre-Christian times. Excavations also uncovered Urartian temple foundations, a sacrificial alter and a large cuneiform stone celebrating the construction of a large canal system during the reign of King Russa II. The canal system, connecting to the Hrazdan River, is still in use.

Arrival in Yerevan.

Welcome dinner in a typical Armenian restaurant with Armenian folk music and dance.

Overnight in the hotel in Yerevan.

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Day 3 (October 4): Yerevan – Geghard – Garni – Yerevan (B/L/D)

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel.
Drive to Kotayk region. Today you are going to visit Geghard Monastery, which is cut into the rock (13th c); and Garni – the only type of pagan temple across the Caucasus and the former Soviet Union (2nd half of 1st c AD). Geghard is one of the most famous medieval monasteries in Armenia. The complex of medieval buildings is set into a landscape of great natural beauty, surrounded by towering cliffs at the entrance to the Azat river valley. According to the legend, the monastery housed the spear which had wounded Christ on the Cross and from which comes its present name, Geghardavank (the Monastery of the Spear). Allegedly it was brought there by the Apostle Thaddeus, first recorded in a document of 1250. The church with its surrounding structures is included in the UNESCO World Cultural heritage List.

Visit to open-air museum of Garni pagan temple. It is the only surviving monument of the Hellenistic period in Armenia. The temple is dedicated to the God of the sun Mithra and was built in the 2nd half of the 1st c AD during the reign of king Tiridates I. The temple was completely destroyed during the earthquake of 1679. It was restored in the 1970s, using the surviving fragments and carving the missing ones renewed. The territory of the fortress that was used as a summer residence of Armenian royalty included the palace, the royal bath – house, the garrison barracks and other structures that did not survive. Garni pagan temple has unique design and is the only type of temple across the Caucasus and the former Soviet Union.

After exploring the sights you will have lunch in the house of local peasant in Garni village. Here you will also have an opportunity to watch the process of baking Armenian bread – lavash (inscribed in UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity).

Drive back to Yerevan for overnight stay.

  • Optional:

– Driving back to Yerevan you may visit Ararat Cognac factory. You will participate in the tour to Yerevan Brandy Company, producer of the brand ARARAT, where you will

• visit the museum of the factory, get acquainted with the legends of ARARAT brandies, learn the 120 years old history of Armenian brandy production, know who have drunk Armenian brandy, see the oldest Armenian barrels and the medals which decorate the ARARAT legend.
• walk around the ageing cellar and see how the brandy spirits are preserved, know who have nominal barrels and enjoy the delicate aroma of the cellar.
• have pleasant and memorable time in the tasting hall enjoying the delicious brandies.

– Sasna Tsrer – dance ensemble (a group of 17-18 dancers and musicians) may give a performance in Garni.
It consists of 3 stages.
The 1st entry – group is presenting dance to tourists with gata (Armenian national cake) and apple. The performance lasts up to 15 mins.
2nd entry – the original dance. The performance lasts up to 15 mins.
3rd entry – master class for tourists, teaches a dance. The performance lasts up to 45 mins.
The price for the event is 700 EUR per group.

4

Day 4 (October 5): Yerevan – Khor Virap – Areni – Jermuk (B/LD)

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel.

Today’s excursion will take you to Ararat region. Here Khor Virap monastery (meaning “deep pit” or “deep well”) is located. The monastery was host to a theological seminary and was the residence of Armenian Catholicos. Khor Virap’s notability as a monastery and pilgrimage site is attributed to the fact that Saint Gregory the Illuminator has been imprisoned here for 13 years. A chapel was initially built in 642 AD at the site of Kirat Virap by Nerses III the Builder as a mark of veneration to Saint Gregory. Over the centuries, it was repeatedly rebuilt. In 1662, the larger chapel known as “St. Astvatsatsin” (Holy Mother of God) was built around the ruins of the old chapel. Now, regular Church services are held in this church. Khor Virap Monastery continues to be a holy site of the Armenian Apostolic Church and an important pilgrimage location. The walled, religious complex also stands before the snowcapped flanks of Mount Ararat, offering a spectacular view of the mountain and cutting a striking silhouette in and of itself.

Drive to Vayots Dzor province, village Areni. Here the most ancient winery in the world Areni-1 is located. This winery had been discovered as a result of excavations done in 2007-2008.

Lunch in Cave restaurant.

In Areni village you have the opportunity to participate in Areni Wine Festival. Areni Wine Festival has become one of the famous events in Armenia. The guests of the event have a chance to taste the products of the best Armenian winemakers, as well as to enjoy the unique Armenian wine at the origin of the grape variety “Areni”. They will also participate in the exhibition-fair of traditional dishes, made by the best Armenian restaurants, enjoy national songs and dances.
After the festival the tourists will be engaged in grape harvesting, which is continued by foot washing ceremony with ash, then grape squashing. It will be accompanied by national songs and dances.
Drive to Jermuk. Overnight in the hotel in Jermuk.

5

Day 5 (October 6): Jermuk – Jermuk waterfall - Khndzoresk – Tatev – Jermuk (B/L/D)

Jermuk. Breakfast in the hotel.

In the morning you will go to Jermuk waterfall. Jermuk waterfall, 72 m high, flows into the river Arpa. The waterfall reminds girly hair. Hence the other name of the waterfall: mermaid’s hair.
There is a wonderful belief about this waterfall. According to the legend, the castle of an Armenian nobleman was located on the steep cliffs. He had a marvelously beautiful daughter, and men from all over the world asked her to marry one of them. But she refused everyone, because her heart belonged to a brave and handsome man: shepherd’s son.

Every day after midnight from the room window the lady threw a long rope into the gorge so that her beloved one could reach her house. Once the nobleman found the rope and everything became clear to him. In anger he cursed his daughter saying: “If you meet him again, I want you to become a mermaid and never be able to come out of water”.
During next meeting the lady threw her hair instead of the rope. But at that very moment her father’s curse became true. She became a mermaid and her hair – the waterfall.

Visit to Khndzoresk – a cave village with a large cave system. There is a huge number of caves, although most of them are manmade and rather small. Khndzoresk is a great place for hiking.

There is a 160-meter long swinging bridge that was built in 2012 using nothing more than local funds and labor and which shakes with every footstep. The new bridge connects Old Khndzoresk and New Khndzoresk (the modern village), linking Armenia’s history with the present both figuratively and literally.

Lunch in Tatev.

In order to reach the plateau on which Tatev monastery is situated you should take the world’s longest ropeway called “Wings of Tatev”. It was included in the Guinness World records as the world’s “longest non-stop double track cable car”. The cableway connects Halidzor village (where you will get by car) to Tatev village. And here you are on the territory of the monastery. The monastic ensemble stands on the edge of a deep gorge of the Vorotan River. In a sunny day you will witness such a beautiful view.

Drive to Jermuk. Overnight in the hotel in Jermuk.

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Day 6 (October 7): Jermuk – Noravank – Chiva – Yerevan (B/L/D)

Jermuk. Breakfast in the hotel.

Noravank (meaning “New Monastery” in Armenian) is a 13th century Armenian monastery, spiritual centre of Orbelyan princes’ dynasty. The monastery is best known for its two-storey Surp Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God, Burtelashen) church, which grants access to the second floor by way of a narrow stone-made staircase jutting out from the face of building.

In Guest house in Chiva village where you will have lunch, you are offered cheese tastes, tourists take part in cheese preparation and then taste it.

Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight in the hotel in Yerevan.

 

  • Optional:

– Upon request one can take a ride to Jermuk’s hot spring (called gaiser) by jeeps. You will go to the thermal springs of Jermuk. Thermal springs are famous for their chemical composition, which resembles water sources in Karlovy Vary. The water temperature in spring reaches up to 56 degrees Celsius. In the springs you can swim – and this is the best natural jacuzzi!

The price for a jeep is 40 EUR (4 people)

7

Day 7 (October 8): Yerevan – Sevan – Sevanavank - Dilijan – Haghartsin – Yerevan (B/L/D)

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel.

After breakfast you will head to Gegharkunik region.
Here you will visit Sevan Lake, the “blue-eyed beauty” of Armenia. Being one of the biggest highland freshwater lakes in the world it is 1900 m above sea level. The tour will continue along the coast of Lake Sevan to the peninsula. After rising to the peninsula, you will see the monastery of Sevanavank (IX cent.). An amazing view to the lake and surrounding beauties opens from the hill. The monastery of Sevan (Sevanavank), which stands on what was once an island of the same name, can be dated to the 9th-10th centuries. For several hundred years, as an important spiritual centre, housing many monks, it has been visited by thousands of pilgrims from all parts of Armenia.

Yachting in Sevan Lake – here is the real romance of the sea in its purest form, when there is no technical progress, just the forces of nature making it possible to overcome the distance. We offer you to become a part of a real water adventure for a few hours, full of danger and romance, by sailing on a yacht on the Lake Sevan under the control of an experienced captain. Sailing is designed for a category of active people looking for an adventure and seeking to experience a thrill in every single minute of their lives.

Moving to the neighboring village of Tsakhkunk, where an authentic and colorful home restaurant is located you will have lunch in the restaurant. Yummy! By the way, the chef of the restaurant is a member of an association for the preservation of Armenian culinary traditions.

Drive to Tavush region. Dilijan – a town-resort with favorable oxygen regimen, unique landscape features and curative mineral water.

Visit to Haghartsin Monastery. It was built between the 10th and 13th centuries (in the 12th under Khachatur of Taron); much of it under the patronage of the Bagratuni Dynasty. St. Astvatsatsin Church in Haghartsin (1281) is the largest building and the dominant artistic feature. The sixteen-faced dome is decorated with arches, the bases of whose columns are connected by triangular ledges and spheres, with a band around the drum’s bottom. This adds to the optical height of the dome and creates the impression that its drum is weightless. The platband of the southern portal’s architrave is framed with rows of trefoils.

Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight in the hotel in Yerevan.

8

Day 8 (October 9): Yerevan – Amberd – Saghmosavank – Ushi - Yerevan (B/L/D)

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel.
Your last day in Armenia you are going to drive to Aragatsotn region where Mount Aragats is located. This is the highest peak of Armenia (4090 m). Here at an altitude of 2300 m above sea level the fortress Amberd is situated (8th c). Amberd is one of the rare witnesses of Armenian military architecture of the Middle Ages. During the walk to the fortress you can enjoy the scenery of colorful alpine meadows and mountain.

Visit to Saghmosavank – 13th century monastic complex. Saghmosavank is situated atop the precipitous gorge carved by the Kasakh river. Its silhouettes dominate the adjacent villages and rise sharply against the background of the mountains crowned by Mount Aragats.

On your way to Yerevan you will have a lunch in Ushi village, where you have the opportunity to taste Armenian traditional dishes.

Drive back to Yerevan. Free time. Overnight in the hotel.

9

Day 9 (October 10): Departure (B/-/-)

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel (depending on the time of departure).
Transfer to the Yerevan Airport.
Departure.

8 pax

Hotels DBL / TWNSGL
Yerevan - Silachi 3* / Jermuk - Verona 4*1043 EUR1247 EUR
Yerevan - Imperial Palace 4* / Jermuk - Verona 4*1119 EUR1361 EUR
Yerevan - Double Tree by Hilton 4* / Jermuk - Hyatt Place Jermuk 4*1320 EUR1732 EUR

12 pax

HotelsDBL / TWNSGL
Yerevan - Silachi 3* / Jermuk - Verona 4*934 EUR1138 EUR
Yerevan - Imperial Palace 4* / Jermuk - Verona 4*1009 EUR1250 EUR
Yerevan - Double Tree by Hilton 4* / Jermuk - Hyatt Place Jermuk 4*1211 EUR1623 EUR

16 pax

HotelsDBL / TWNSGL
Yerevan - Silachi 3* / Jermuk - Verona 4*878 EUR1082 EUR
Yerevan - Imperial Palace 4* / Jermuk - Verona 4*953 EUR1196 EUR
Yerevan - Double Tree by Hilton 4* / Jermuk - Hyatt Place Jermuk 4*1155 EUR1567 EUR

Price includes:
• Transfers;
• Transportation by comfortable bus with air conditioning system;
• Accommodation in DBL\TWIN rooms in hotel in Yerevan (6 nights);
• Accommodation in DBL\TWIN rooms in hotel in Jermuk (2 nights);
• Professional English-speaking guide’s service (9 days);
• Lunch* 7;
• Dinner* 6;
• Welcome dinner with folk show;
• Arishta (Armenian pasta) preparing master-class (day 2);
• Master-class on lavash baking (day 3);
• Grape harvesting ceremony accompanied by dances and songs (day 4);
• Cheese preparation master-class (day 6);
• Yachting in Sevan (day 7);
• “Tatever” ropeway ticket (one-way);
• Entrance fees as per program;
• Water 0,5l p/p for excursion days.

Price excludes:
• Air ticket;
• Medical insurance;
• Alcohol drinks;
• Activities specified in footnotes;
• Personal expenses.

Please note:
Some changes may appear in the program according to arrival/departure time and weather conditions.

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