Religious Relics and Christian Wonders

Armenia

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Description:

While some tours give you a general overview of a place, this is a tour with a certain theme throughout - religion. Christianity was brought to Armenia by Gregory the Illuminator in 301. Prior to that, Armenia was a Pagan nation. As such, there are ancient Pagan sites to visit, such as the Pagan Temple in Garni. On this trip, you will also visit several important Christian sites, such as Geghard Monastery, Khor Virap Monastery, and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The buildings themselves are not the only things of interest - on this comprehensive tour you will also see relics such as a fragment of Noah’s Ark, and the monastery named after the spear which pierced the body of Christ.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival

Arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel.

Day 2: City tour of Yerevan

Breakfast at the hotel. We will start the tour in the capital of Armenia: Yerevan.This city is known as a “pink city” because of the color of the stone it was built with. We will visit the following attractions:

  • Republic Square
  • Mashtoc Avenue
  • The House of Opera and Ballet after Aram Khachatryan
  • “Cascad” park.
  • The Manuscript Museum of Armenia, which is called Matenadaran; this is where all the ancient Armenian Manuscripts are kept.
  • The Erebuni Museum and Genocide Memorial, known as Tsitsernakaberd.
  • We will visit the museum famous Armenian film-director Sergey Parajanov. Here we will see about a thousand pieces of artwork: collages, drawings, assemblages, and dolls. e will also have to chance to see a short part from his famous film “The Colour of Pomegranates”. Dinner at a traditional Armenian restaurant where you may taste the masterpieces of Armenian cuisine.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3: Yerevan – Garni – Geghard - Yerevan

Breakfast at the hotel and then we will take a trip to Garni. This Pagan Temple was built in the 1st century AD. It is the only temple that has been preserved from the Pagan times in Armenia. It was devoted to the god Mihr, who was the god of cleanliness. In 1679 it was destroyed by earthquake, but in 1975 the Temple was restored. We will take offroad vehicles to visit the Garni gorge to see one of Armenia’s wonders of nature, which is called “Symphony of Stones”. Then we will continue our trip to Geghard Monastery. Its name came from the legendary lance that was used to pierce the body of Christ. It has been kept here for centuries. Though the exact foundation of the monastery is unknown, the present complex was built in the mid – 13th century. Afterwards we will visit a local house where you will have the chance to see and participate in the preparation of Armenian national bread, called lavash. It is very thin, and usually sold in large pieces. It’s usually cooked in a ground oven called a “tonir''. In 2015 it was inscribed in UNESCO intangible heritage list. Here we will enjoy the “Armenian fast food”, which is lavash and cheese.

Overnight in Yerevan.

Day 4: Yerevan - Khor Virap – Areni – Noravank – Karahunj - Goris

After breakfast you will take a trip to Khor Virap Monastery (4-18th century). This monastery is particularly prominent because of its history; Gregory the Illuminator, who introduced Christianity to Armenia, was imprisoned there about 13 years. At that time there was a prison in the place of the monastery. Here we can enjoy the spectacular view of the sacred Ararat Mountain - an immortal symbol of Armenia. After visiting Khor Virap we will drive to the Armenian Wine Village of Areni. This village is famous for its red wine. There we will visit the wine factory of the village where we will enjoy a wine tasting experience.

Our day will continue with a trip to Noravank - a monastery of 12th century situated amazing sheer rocks on the bench of a twisty gorge. This is the only monastery where we can find a unique sculpture of Father God. In Noravank we will have a meeting with the priest who will tell you about the religious life and traditions of Armenia. We will explore the ancient observatory of Karahunj, which is quite similar to Stonehenge in England. The columns sit like soldiers on a hill. The 204 stones near Sisian have been ascribed with mystical, fertility and cosmic powers, but rarely have ancient monuments caused such a sensation in astronomical circles. After this we will drive to Goris.

Overnight in Goris.

Day 5: Goris – Tatev – Khndzoresk - Goris

Breakfast at the hotel. We will continue our trip by visiting the Apostolic monastic complex of Tatev. The complex was founded in the 9th century, built onto a large basalt plateau. Formerly it was a prolific educational center and many famous contemporary scientists and philosophers were educated there. It used to accept students from abroad as well as locally. Here we can use the world’s longest non-stop double track cable car ropeway, which has length of 18,700 feet.

We will also visit the cave village of Khndzoresk before driving to Goris. We will check in at the hotel and then have dinner at a local house where we will enjoy the dishes that are typical of that region. Dinner will be accompanied by beautiful music played by the host. In the evening you can enjoy the nighttime view of this small city, set against rolling hills and under a starry sky.

Overnight in Goris.

Day 6: Goris – Selim – Noraduz - Sevan – Dilijan

After breakfast we are going to journey on the pathways that have been used by the travellers of Great Silk Road. We will drive through the Selim Caravanserai, which served as an important center of exchange, trade and overnight stays during the times of Great Silk Road. Here we can see the immortal tracks of world history.

After this we will drive to Lake Sevan which is one of the largest lakes in the world. It stands out because of its astonishingly blue water, and the breathtaking scenery is incredibly picturesque. Another surprise lies in wait for our tourists; we will have a cruise on Lake Sevan and take the chance to admire the beauty of “The Blue Pearl of the Armenian highland”.

During lunch we will taste the “Ishkhan” fish of Lake Sevan, also known as the Sevan trout; this fish is an irreplaceable phenomenon in Armenian Culinary culture. After sampling this delicious cuisine we will visit the Sevanavank Monastery, which is situated on Sevan Peninsula. There actually used to be two monasteries; one of them was destroyed but the other stands still. They were built in the middle Ages, around 10th century.

Later we will drive to Dilijan. Walking along the Sharambeyan Street, which is one of the oldest streets of the city, you will have the opportunity to buy souvenirs and see the life of the small city. During the walk you will breathe the clean mountain air. After this relaxing walk we will have dinner at a local family home and taste the traditional meals of this region,and you can continue enjoying your rest in the garden playing Armenian game “Nardi”, along with a cup of excellent wine.

Overnight in Dilijan.

Day 7: Dilijan – Sanahin – Haghpat -Yerevan

Today we will visit two unique masterpieces of Armenian architecture of 10-14th centuries: the monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The name ’’Sanahin’’ literally means "this one is older than the other," which is taken from the fact that this monastery is older than the one in Haghpat. These two monasteries are very close to each other and can easily be seen from one to the other. Both are located on an uneven plateau, separated by a deep crack formed by a small river that flows into the River Debed. Haghpat Monastery was one of the largest religious, cultural and educational centers of medieval Armenia. After seeing these sites we will taste Armenian national dishes in a beautiful restaurant when we are back to Yerevan.

Overnight in Yerevan.

Day 8: Yerevan – Ejmiatsin – Zvartnoc –Yerevan

Breakfast, followed by an excursion to centuries-old monuments called Ejmiatsin and Zvartnoc. These sites are listed on UNESCO World Heritage list. Zvartnots Temple was built in 7th century by Nerses Builder Catholicos. Here we will enjoy a fantastic concert by the professional choir, which will be organized for your group. We will enjoy Classical Armenian Music of world famous composers. The next step on our journey is the spiritual center of Armenia: Ejmiatsin. The Cathedral of Ejmiatsin, founded in 303, is the official residence of the Catholicos of Armenia. We will also visit the museum of Ejmiatsin where a small part of Noah’s ark is kept. After this, we will return to Yerevan. You will have time for a short rest in the hotel, and in the evening you may enjoy the nightlife of modern Yerevan. Dinner at a very beautiful restaurant.

Overnight in Yerevan.

Day 9: Yerevan - Departure

Breakfast and transfer to the airport.

Inclusions:

Included in the package:

  • Visa support
  • Best available hotels (4* or similar), 8 nights, half-board.
  • All in-country transportation.
  • Experienced tour guides.
  • Entrance tickets to monuments and museums as per the program.
  • Welcome gift
  • Silka Departure Guarantee.
    What is Silka Departure Guarantee?

    We’d rather take a loss than let you down. We guarantee that any tour you booked will happen even if the group is not full. If that occurs, we might adjust certain technical details like driving you around in a mini-bus or sedan instead of a coach, or letting you join one of our partners’ scheduled departures, but we’ll still take you to places we promised.

Not included:

  • International airfare.
  • Additional Hotel Expenses.
  • Travel and/or medical insurance.
  • Meals and alcoholic beverages, unless specified.
  • Personal expenses.

Notes:

Market of art crafts is open only on Saturdays and Sundays.

All museums are closed on Mondays.

Matenadaran is closed on Mondays and Sundays.

Tatev Cable car is closed on Mondays.

Days

9

Hotel

4*

From:

$0

Scheduled departures:

Religious Relics and Christian Wonders