Mysterious Armenia

9 days / 8 nights

1

Day 1: Arrival -/-/-

Arrival at Yerevan airport. Transfer to the hotel .
Accommodation. Free time for rest.

2

Day 2: Yerevan – City tour – Tsitsernakaberd - Yerevan B/L/D

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel.
Start overall city tour in Yerevan on foot.
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 city is the administrative, cultural, and industrial centre of the country. It has been the capital of Republic of Armenia (1st Armenian Republic) since 1918, the thirteenth in the history of Armenia, and the seventh located in or around the Ararat valley. The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC, with the founding of the fortress of Erebuni in 782 BC by king Argishti I at the western extreme of the Ararat plain. Erebuni was designed as a great administrative and religious centre, a fully royal capital. In 2018 Yerevan celebrated its 2800th anniversary.
After exploring the central part of Yerevan the tour will be continued by bus.

During the tour you will also visit Tsitsernakaberd – the memorial complex of 1915 Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey, (Museum and Memorial). The Armenian Genocide Museum & Institute (AGMI) located on the hills of the Tsitsernakaberd Park, makes up part of the Armenian Genocide Victims’ Memorial Complex. This sacred site embraces and reflects the memories and values for Armenians worldwide. The Memorial and the Museum function as a source of understanding and acknowledgement of this monumental tragedy in the history of Armenia.

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

Overnight in the hotel in Yerevan.

 

  • Optional:

– After city tour you may visit Matenadaran (a book depository) – one of the world’s most ancient libraries. Its collections comprise ancient Armenian books and miniature paintings that have gained worldwide fame. Here about 18.000 manuscripts are kept, which are included in UNESCO world Heritage list.

– Today you may visit Ararat cognac factory to have an excursion and taste different sorts of Armenian cognac with chocolate.

3

Day 3: Yerevan – Echmiadzin – Zvartnots – Garni – Geghard - Yerevan B/L/D

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel.
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 Echmiatsin 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.

Visit to Zvartnots – 7th century centrally planned aisled tetraconch type Armenian cathedral built by the order of Catholicos Nerses the Builder from 643-652. Now in ruins, it is located at the edge of the city of Echmiadzin in Armavir Province of Armenia. Zvartnots remained standing until the end of the 10th century, but historical sources are silent as to the cause of its collapse. A close copy of the cathedral was erected in Ani by Tiridates the Architect under the reign of Gagik I Bagratuni during the final decade of the 10th century. Zvartnots is added to the list of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO.
Heading to Kotayk region where you are going to visit monastery Geghard cut out of 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).

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).

Open-air museum of Garni pagan temple is dedicated to the God of the sun Mithra. It is the only surviving monument of the Hellenistic period in Armenia. The temple 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.

Monastery 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). It was allegedly 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.
Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight in the hotel in Yerevan.

 

  • Optional:

– In the porch of the monastery Geghard may be organized chorus singing of spiritual songs. The porch has a unique acoustic under which the sounds of choral singing vibrate in the ears.
The price for the event is 130 EUR per group.

– 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.

– In Echmiadzin dolma making master-class may be organized. Dolma is ground meat, beef, lamb or whatever you like, mixed with rice and herbs of your choice and wrapped in grape leaves. You may even cook it in vegetables, like in peppers or tomatoes.
The price for the event is 95 EUR per group.

4

Day 4: Yerevan – Khor Virap – Noravank – Yeghegnadzor - Yerevan B/L/D

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel.
Drive to Ararat region.
Visit to Khor Virap monastery. Khor Virap (meaning “deep pit” or “deep well”) is an Armenian Apostolic Church monastery located in the Ararat valley in Armenia. 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, was initially 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 the “St. Astvatsatsin” (Holy Mother of God) was built around the ruins of the old chapel, the monastery. Now, regular Church services are held in this church. It is the most visited pilgrimage site in Armenia.

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.

After your tour you will head to Yeghegnadzor. Here in guest house Under the Walnut you will participate in a master class on Pakhlava (Armenian traditional cake) making.

Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight in the hotel in Yerevan

 

  • Optional:

– In Noravank you may have photo shoot by Marashlyan photo studio. They give national costumes, decorations, and each tourist has individual and group photos.
The price for costumes and technical part is 190 EUR p/group and 15 EUR p/person for individual photo shoot.

5

Day 5: Yerevan – Sevan – Sevanavank –Dilijan – Haghartsin - Yenokavan B/L/D

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel.
The tour will start to Gegharqunik region where lake Sevan is located. Lake Sevan, known in the ancient times as the Geghama Sea, is the “blue-eyed beauty” of Armenia. Being one of the biggest highland freshwater lakes in the world it is 1900 m above sea level. It was formed as a result of volcanic activity in the Geghama mountain range: the erupted lava blocked the riverbed; and melted ice from ice-houses and river water began to accumulate in the formed hollow. Later the flow of water cut through the reservoir wall in the direction of river Hrazdan. Now Sevan Peninsula, with its two 9th century churches adding a romantic touch to it, is the best place to admire the beauty of the lake.

Start short city tour on foot in Dilijan old town. Dilijan is a resort town with mild climate, fresh air in the northeast of Yerevan. It is famous for its amazing surroundings, called the “Armenian Switzerland” by the locals, due to the densely forested valleys and mountains with alpine meadows around. It is an excellent centre for walking.

Visit monastery Haghartsin. 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 which columns are connected by triangular ledges and spheres, with a band around the drum’s bottom. This adds an optical height to the dome and creates an impression that its drum is weightless. The platband of the southern portal’s architrave is framed with rows of trefoils.

After exploring Dilijan you will head to “Apaga Resort” complex, situated in village Yenokavan.

Overnight in the hotel in Yenokavan.

6

Day 6: Yenokavan / Free day B/-/-

Yenokavan. Breakfast in the hotel.

Ethnographic village of Yenokavan is located in the Tavush region, where 70% of all Armenian forests are concentrated, at an altitude of 1100, above the picturesque gorge of the Khachahpyur River. There are 120 houses in the village (all houses are inhabited).
Free time.

Overnight in the hotel in Yenokavan.

 

  • Optional:

– Here you may participate in an interactive program. In the central square, a legend will be announced to you. The group is divided into 8 subgroups,  an escort will be attached to each of them. Groups are provided with maps where their routes and homes are to be visited. They are going to visit 6 houses and participate in different master classes.
Housewives, who make a rural ritual with guests, such as baking bread, baking gata (Armenian traditional cake), distilling vodka, carpet weaving, wool sprinkling, planting trees, sowing seeds, etc. are waiting for them at their homes.

– In the first house the group is going to prepare dough and bake bread in the village oven which is used by all housewives of the village.

– In the second house, at Hasmik’s courtyard, gata will be baked (she has the most delicious gata in the village).

– In Greta’s garden, a copper moonshine machine stands, here you will participate in vodka distillation process and then taste it. Moonshine is made from the dogwood.

– In Nicol’s garden Armenian barbecue will be prepared. Tourists never leave Armenia without tasting famous Armenian barbecue or khorovats as locals call it. Barbecue is one of the special foods of the Armenian cuisine. It’s even hard to imagine a wedding, engagement, baptizing, or other celebrations without having Armenian barbecue on the tables.

– The village of Yenokavan is famous for the production of hand carpets. The machine for carpet weaving is installed in the courtyard of Angela, here you can try knitting knots – weave an Armenian carpet.

– In the last house you will take part in potter’s wheel master class. Pottery wheel can be placed in Sevan’s courtyard, from there is the most beautiful view to the Khachaghpyur gorge. You will experience how thrilling it is to get the clay spinning on the wheel while we explain the basics of centering and pulling up the walls of the clay. Investigate how the activity of making pottery can be a wonderful vehicle for quieting the mind. Not unlike meditation, working with clay can also help us to be more present and focused in the moment.

In each yard except for the main dish, you will have also cheese, greens, pickles, tea / coffee.
The program lasts not less than 2 hours, after which the groups will go to the Club by open top trucks GAZ-66 (the road passes along the edge of the gorge).

– Upon arrival in the Club, guests will be welcomed by Armenian folk cable walkers with their music, dancers, musicians.

The price for the event is 400 EUR for the group.

7

Day 7: Yenokavan – Goshavank – Tsaghkunk – Tsaghkadzor – Yerevan B/L/D

Breakfast in Yenokavan.
Visit to 12th or 13th century Armenian monastery Goshavank which is located in the village of Gosh in Tavush region. Goshavank was erected in the place of an older monastery once known as Nor Getik, which had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1188. Mkhitar Gosh, a statesman, scientist, and author of numerous fables and parables as well as the first criminal code, took part in the rebuilding of the monastery.

Moving to the neighboring village of Tsaghkunk, where an authentic and colorful home restaurant is located. There will be lunch in the restaurant, during which you will taste dishes from local fish, as well as a master class on cooking veal. Yummy! By the way, the chef of the restaurant is a member of an association for the preservation of Armenian culinary traditions.

Drive to Kotayk region, town Tsaghkadzor (a spa town and a popular ski resort). Visit Kecharis monastery. The monastery was founded in the 11th century, and construction continued until the middle of the 13th century. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Kecharis was a major religious center of Armenia and a place of higher education. Today, the monastery has been fully restored and is clearly visible from the ski slopes.

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

8

Day 8: Yerevan – Amberd – Byurakan – 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.

After your visit to Amberd you will continue your way to Byurakan village, a great activity here waits for you. You will participate in greens and herbs collecting which will be accompanied by a performance during which Armenian national rituals will be presented through songs and dances.

9

Day 9: Yerevan / Departure -/-/-

Check-out formalities. Meeting with guide.
Transfer to the Yerevan Airport.
Departure from Yerevan.

8 pax

HotelsDBL / TWNSGL
Yerevan - Silachi 3* / Yenokavan - Apaga resort 3*986 EUR1201 EUR
Yerevan - Royal Plaza 4* / Yenokavan - Apaga resort 3*1023 EUR1238 EUR
Yerevan - Double Tree by Hilton 4* / Yenokavan - Apaga resort 3*1191 EUR1406 EUR

12 pax

HotelsDBL / TWNSGL
Yerevan - Silachi 3* / Yenokavan - Apaga resort 3*871 EUR1086 EUR
Yerevan - Royal Plaza 4* / Yenokavan - Apaga resort 3*909 EUR1123 EUR
Yerevan - Double Tree by Hilton 4* / Yenokavan - Apaga resort 3*1077 EUR1291 EUR

16 pax

HotelsDBL / TWNSGL
Yerevan - Silachi 3* / Yenokavan - Apaga resort 3*813 EUR1029 EUR
Yerevan - Royal Plaza 4* / Yenokavan - Apaga resort 3*851 EUR1096 EUR
Yerevan - Double Tree by Hilton 4* / Yenokavan - Apaga resort 3*1019 EUR1355 EUR

Price includes:

  • Transfers;
  • Transportation by comfortable bus with air-conditioning system;
  • Professional English-speaking guide’s service;
  • Accommodation in DBL\TWIN rooms in hotel in Yerevan on BB basis (6 nights);
  • Accommodation in DBL\TWIN rooms in hotel in Yenokavan (2 nights);
  • Lunch* 6;
  • Dinner* 5;
  • Welcome dinner with folk show;
  • Master-class on lavash baking (day 3);
  • Master-class on Pakhlava baking (day 4);
  • Master-class on veal making (day 7);
  • Green and herbs collecting ceremony accompanied by songs and dances (day 8);
  • Entrance fees as per program;
  • Water 0,5l p/p for excursion days.

Price excludes:

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

Note:

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

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