This journey connects culture and history with a desire to walk on a territory that is still perfectly preserved and discover monasteries and ancient churches, a mainly mountainous area dotted by lakes and rivers, extinct volcanoes, a gift of majestic panoramas and precious corners to explore. Numerous archaeological sites show the ancient splendors of the religious architecture of this land. A very ancient and rich culture is ready to welcome you as its inhabitants well known for their hospitality. This country is a small jewel of the Caucasus, on the border between the East and the West, between Europe and Asia. A bond made of beauty, art and nature to discover while walking…
Departure for Armenia
The second day is dedicated to the discovery of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, a panoramic visit. During the tour we will visit the main sites of Yerevan: Republic Square, Opera Square, Northern Avenue, The Cascade Monument, Yerevan State University, Victory Park with the statue of “Mother Armenia” , the railway station Sasuntsi Davit, the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial and others. Lunch in a traditional Armenian restaurant. After lunch visit to the History Museum of Armenia and the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial. Overnight in hotel in Yerevan.
This day we are heading towards the south of Armenia. The first stop will be at the monastery of Khor Virap, magical for its beautiful landscape dominated by the snow-capped Mount Ararat. After two hours o the road, we will arrive in the land of the Armenian wine called “Areni” and in the region of Vayots Dzor famous for its landscapes. In the Areni village we will visit the local wine cellar and there will also be a degustation of the Areni wine. After the visit to the winery we will continue our discovery by visiting the Birds Cave where the oldest shoe and the oldest cellar in the world were discovered dating back to the 6th millennium BC. After the Birds Cave next visit is the medieval monastery Noravank located in the Noravank Canyon on the rock impressive for its colors. The architectural design of the monastery is in harmony with the natural beauty of the surroundings. Lunch at Noravank Canyon. After lunch we will continue towards the South, where antiquity awaits us, a visit to the ancient Karahunj Observatory dating back to the III-II millennium BC. Overnight at hotel in Goris, one of the most beautiful cities in Armenia in the heart of the cave landscapes.
After breakfast we arrive at the Tatev monastery with the «Wings Of Tatev» cable car, the longest aerial cableway in the world recorded in the book of «Guiness». The construction of the cable car was finished in 2010, which allows visitors to admire the beautiful landscape of the Halidzor gorge. More than a thousand years the Tatev monastery was the spiritual center of the Siunik kingdom and therefore an important pilgrimage site. The monastery is located on the wooded slope of the Vorotan river. After lunch a nice walk in the old Khdzoresk to discover the traditional troglodyte houses. Dinner and overnight in a guest house in Yeghegnadzor or in Hermon.
After breakfast, we will head towards Lake Sevan, which is considered the pearl of Armenia. We will cross the Selims pass at 2410 m above the sea level. On Selim Pass we will visit the Caravanserai of Selim, built in 1332, one of the caravanserrais of the Silk Road, also mentioned in the memoirs of Marco Polo. Noraduz village is visited for its cemetery which contains the largest concentration of khatchkars – stone crosses / khatch – cross and qar – stone / in Armenia. Arrival at lake Sevan. We will visit Lake Sevan the “Pearl of Armenia” the most important water resource in the country located at an altitude of 1900 m covering an area of 1416 km 2. Our lunch will be at a restaurant on Lake Sevan and we will taste a fish from the lake. After lunch we will visit the peninsula of Sevan with its two medieval churches: the church of Holy Apostels and the church of Holy Mother of God built in 874 by Princess Mariam from Bagradit family. After the visit to the peninsula there is also a boat trip on lake Sevan. Overnight at hotel in Yerevan.
After breakast we will head toward Etchmiadzin and we will visit the 4th century Etchmiadzin cathedral where there is also the residence of the catholicos of all Armenians and the ruins of Zvartnots (7th century). Lunch will be on the way. After lunch we will visit the 13th century Hovhannavank monastery on the Khassakh canyon and the 7th-13th century Amberd fortress built on the confluence of the Arkashen and Amberd rivers. We will also visit the park o the Armenian Letters . It is a group of tuff monuments depicting the letters of the Armenian alphabet. Overnight in hotel in Yerevan.
N.B : For the reason of the presence of snow until April 30, with great probability the fortress of Amberd will not be visited but there will certainly be a visit to another monument of the same historical and landscape importance …
In the morning visit to Matenadaran the Museum of Ancient Manuscripts. After the visit to Matenadaran departure towards the Kotayk region to discover one of the wonders of the Hellenistic era, the fortress and the temple of Garni which is situated on the top of a well-protected triangular promontory, erected in 77 AD. After the visit of Garni temple we will start a 40-minute walk in the Garni gorge which is a place particularly known for its formations of basalt columns called the “Symphony of the stones”. After the walk we will visit the 13th century Ghegardavank the only rock-carved monastery in Armenia. The name derives from the relic, for a long time preserved in the place and now at the Etchmiadzine museum, of a fragment of the spear with which the side of Christ was pierced on the cross. Lunch by the inhabitants of the village of Garni where you will also participate in the ritual of preparing lavash, the most popular bread in Armenia. The day will end with a walk in Vernissage the arts and crafts market where you can not only admire the works of different craftsmen, including stone and wooden crosses, handmade cloth dolls, ceramic plates and glasses and other local handicrafts, but also attend the display of silver and gold jewels, Armenian rugs, embroidery, books, paintings of Armenian painters. Dinner in a traditional Armenian restaurant with an evening accompanied by songs and dances. Overnight at hotel in Yerevan.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport with the guide or his/her assistant. Check-in and departure.