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Explore the mesmerizing sites of this 10-days itinerary in Armenia and visit the Ararat Brandy Factory, Erebuni Fortress, the ruins of the Zvartnots temple, Yerevan, and many more. Enjoy the food, cultures and local.
Our Highlight itineraries cover the key attractions at a relatively quick pace. Enjoy them as they are or extend them to create your perfect holiday. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.
Yerevan is the capital and the biggest district of Armenia; one of the most ancient cities in the world. It is 2.793 years old. The name of the city refers to Erebuni Fortress of Urartu. In 1918 it became the 14th in history capital of Armenia. Yerevan is 900-1400 meters above sea level. The image of today’s Yerevan is formed according to Alexander Tamanyan’s plan of 1924 – the city, build in accordance with the unified plan of church architecture.
Yerevan is the capital and the biggest district of Armenia; one of the most ancient cities in the world. It is 2.793 years old. The name of the city refers to Erebuni Fortress of Urartu. In 1918 it became the 14th in history capital of Armenia. Yerevan is 900-1400 meters above sea level. The image of today’s Yerevan is formed according to Alexander Tamanyan’s plan of 1924 – the city, build in accordance with the unified plan of church architecture. Free time for shopping and sightseeing. Yerevan is famous as a pink city and calls visitors with its humble and at the same time splendid landscapes. One of the famous tourist attraction is Cascade Monument which was the main symbol of the cities 2780th anniversary with the equivalent number of stairs. Mega scale staircase is 500 meters high and 50 meters wide. A panoramic view from the monument opens up breathtaking city view with Opera House, Mount Ararat, Swan Lake, Republic Square, and Abovyan Avenue. If it is a weekend, visit Vernissage, the biggest souvenir market in Yerevan. In the center you can find many restaurants, cafes and shops.
In the lives of our renowned medieval authors, special emphasis is put on their book-learning and ceaseless efforts to collect old manuscripts, create new ones, summarize and reassess the spiritual heritage of the past. Their devoted activity set an example for the future generations.
In this way the Mesrop Mashtots Matenadaran came into being; our torchbearers of culture, all generations, and the entire nation as a spiritual wholeness participated in its creation. It holds one of the world’s richest depositories of medieval manuscripts and books, which span a broad range of subjects, including history, philosophy, medicine, literature, art history and cosmography in Armenian and many other languages. The "Matenadaran" collection was inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 1997 in recognition of its world significance. Today there is a collection of almost 17.000 manuscripts and 30.000 other documents in "Matenadaran", referring subjects such as historiography, geography, philosophy, grammar, art history, medicine and science.
In the first decades of the Soviet regime its collection was largely drawn from manuscripts stored in ecclesiastical structures, schools, monasteries and churches in Armenia and the rest of the Soviet Union. In addition to the Armenian manuscripts, in "Matenadaran" there is also a vast collection of historical documents, numbering over 2.000 in languages such as Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Japanese and Russian.
Ararat Brandy Factory – you will have an exceptional opportunity to visit the factory’s museum, get acquainted with the legends of ARARAT cognac, the 120-year history of the creation of the Armenian cognac, and see the ancient Armenian barrels and medals that adorn the long-term cellar. In addition, they will be given the opportunity to taste the unique varieties of cognac “THREE STARS” and “NAIRI”.
During the tour you will get a unique opportunity:
ü visit the factory museum, get acquainted with the legend of Armenian brandy, find out what Ararat cognacs were 100-120 years ago, who loved to drink this life-giving drink and what medals adorn the fabulous legend.
ü visit an aging shop, familiarize yourself with the conditions in which cognacs are stored, find out which celebrity has its own personal barrel and enjoy the unique aroma of the “vault”.
ü spend an unforgettable time in the tasting hall, enjoying the refined taste and rich aroma of cognacs.
One of the most unusual places in Armenia, the village of Garni that bears the same name as the ancient pagan temple, is situated on 37 km from the center of Yerevan. Before the adoption of Christianity, the architecture in Armenia was interrelated with the Hellenistic style. This is evidenced by Garni, executed in this elegant manner with a characteristic colonnade on all sides and located on the top of a hill divided from the mountain range by a deep gorge. The temple was restored in 1976 and welcomes a multitude of tourists daily to this day. Since 2011, it has been awarded the UNESCO heritage award. The picturesque mountains, steep gorge and endless echo to be heard again and again, fascinate and ask to return.
Not far from the temple of Garni (about 10 minutes’ walk), there is a cozy local restaurant with an amazing view of the temple, where you can relax and take part in master-class of tasting of freshly baked lavash – traditional Armenian flatbread.
Once approaching Geghard, the tops of the crosses and the church itself will not be the first thing to notice, as that place will belong to music. The musicians are right the ascent to the church, always playing, welcoming guests with joy and loud national music. The air is filled with the aroma of national delicacies, such as dried fruit, sweet sujukh and honey, yet once you climb up the hill, you will be shocked by what you see. You will appear in front of the gates, leading to the temple of Geghard, completely carved out of the mountain.
This masterpiece of Armenian medieval architecture amazes with its detail and antiquity. Geghard is a complex consisting of the main chapel, two cave halls, and tombs. There is a cold spring in the first cave hall, which to this day captures the attention of the visitors. It is believed that its holy water heals diseases, rejuvenates and gifts beauty. Literally translated, Geghard means “holy spear” in memory of the spear kept in it, which had wounded Jesus Christ at the Crucifixion. It is also included in the UNESCO list of heritage since 2000. The nearby flowing Azat River hypnotizes with its murmur, pigeons hover over the church, and the coolness from the gorge gives strength to continue the path to new discoveries and impressions.
“We shall come and erect here, A well of purest light!”
These are the lines to begin both the quatrain of one of the Armenian Catholicos Sahak Dzoroporetsi (677-703) and our tour to this unique complex, consisting of several churches of the residence of the Catholicos and the ruins of the Zvartnots temple. Ejmiatsin is a small spiritual capital filled with silence and history. The first stone was laid in 303 and since then the cathedral has undergone significant changes, redevelopments and restorations, yet remained the main sacred place for all the Armenians and an important point of visit for Christians. Relics such as the right hand of Saint John the Baptist, the Holy Lance and the three particles of the cross upon which Jesus Christ was crucified are kept here.
The name translates literally as “The Descent of the Only Begotten”. According to legend, the first patriarch Grigor the Illuminator had a dream of Christ descending from heaven with a fiery hammer in his hand and indicating the place for the cathedral to be built. Everything from the bell ringing to rose bushes and quiet alleys of gardens with dense trees through which the tops of the churches are visible, is saturated with harmony and tranquility. The Ejmiatsin complex comprises three more churches built in memory of the holy martyrs, namely Saint Gayane, Saint Hripsime and Saint Shoghakat.
On our way to Yerevan after the excursion to Ejmiatsin, we offer our guests another destination point. Zvartnots - “Temple of the Vigil Angels” (translated literally), is included in the UNESCO heritage list and is unique with its architecture and preserved details. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the ruins of the temple were known only from written sources; shortly afterwards, however, the temple was excavated from under clay layers and restored. It is a vivid example of Armenian architecture of antiquity today. We guarantee unique photos and a wonderful completion of the tour.
Free day at leisure
During this excursion you will travel to south through the vast plains of Ararat to visit Khor Virap Monastery. As we continue on our way the plains give way to undulating hills as we start making our way into the mountains. We pass through the wine-making village of Areni where we stop at a local winery to taste the best wine in Armenia. Continuing on our way, the scenery becomes more mountainous and we head into a spectacular gorge where we make a stop at the picturesque Noravank Monastery, taking pride of place in a lofty position overlooking the gorge below.
Khor-Virap – the most famous pilgrimage destination in Armenia, since it was directly connected with the adoption of Christianity in 301 thanks to the torture of St. Gregory the Illuminator, who, before the conversion of King Tiridates to Christianity, was thrown into a dungeon, where he spent about 15 years in prison. In the 17th century, the monastery of Khor Virap was built above the dungeon. From the monastery, the biblical Mount Ararat is clearly visible.
We pass through the wine-making village of Areni where we stop at a local wine factory to taste the best wine in Armenia.
Noravank – The monastery complex of Noravank is located on a ledge of a winding deep gorge of a tributary of the Arpa River, near the village of Amagu, Vayots Dzor region. The bizarre masses of sheer red rocks surrounding Noravank are amazing. In the 13-14 centuries the monastery became the residence of the bishops of Syunik, which turned it into a major religious, and then cultural center of Armenia. The oldest building of Noravank , which has reached us in ruins, is the church of St. Karapet, IX-X centuries. To the north of it is the main temple, also dedicated to St. Karapet, built in 1221-1227.
The Tatev monastery in Syunik, Southern Armenia is an exception. To reach it you have to travel on the world’s longest cable car called the Wings of Tatev. This is not some public relations claim with no substance, it has been verified by the Guinness Book of Records. It takes you over 5km from Halidzor village to Tatev, flying over the Vorotan gorge in less than fifteen minutes. The view of the road that snakes between the mountains gives an idea of the time saved by taking the cable car. It is a smart, Swiss-designed project, with two cabins and a visitor’s centre with a restaurant. The aerial tramway isn’t open on Mondays, but every other day of the week it will drop you a short downhill walk from the Tatev monastery.
The Tatev monastery was the location of the biggest university in medieval Armenia. Built on virtually inaccessible rocks it survived the invasion of Tamerlane in the 14th century and is still a working religious centre today. Tall eighteenth century ramparts surround a courtyard that contains three churches, the oldest of which is dedicated to Sts Paul and Peter and dates from 900AD. The newest, dedicated to St Gregory, is from the end of the 13th century, whilst the third, devoted to the Mother of God church is 11th century.
Zorats Karer is also known as Carahunge, Karahunj, Qarahunj. It is located in an area of around 7 hectares and covers the site nearby the Dar river canyon, close to the city of Sisan. The ancient site is often called the ''Armenian Stonehenge'', but the truth of what it is may be even more fascinating. According to researchers, Zorats Karer could be among the world's oldest astronomical observatories, and is at least 3,500 years older than British Stonehenge.
Shaki Waterfall is situated in Armenia, above Lake Shaki. The altitude is 18 m. The waterfall is located 3 km North-West of Sisian city, in gorge of the River Vorotan.
Free day at leisure
The fascination and the pearl of mountainous Armenia is Sevan Lake, which is one of the world's greatest high altitude fresh-water lakes. It is about 1900 m above sea level. The lake is of volcanic origin and is surrounded with mountains of 3000 m and higer. The beautiful landscape and the crystal water serve nice preconditions for excellent rest.The lake is also famous for its peninsula and medieval church complex built in 874. A marvelous scene opens in the north-western part of Sevan Lake, where the peninsula towers over the transparent surface of the lake. Sevanavank monastery was built on the peninsula in 874 by the order of king Ashot Bagratuni's daughter princess Mariam. The silhouette of the churches against the background of the turquoise lake and blue sky casts unexplainable impression on the visitors.
Dilijan entices people with its unforgettable beauty and mild climate. The city stretches on the banks of Aghstev river, surrounded with mountains and forests. Dilijan has the fame of a health resort. The warm sun, fresh air and natural spas have great healing influence on people. Dilijan is also rich in interesting architectural monuments. Haghartsin monastery situated in the woodlands of Tavush region represents an indescribable example of blend of nature with architecture. It was founded in the 10-11th centuries, though new buildings were added in the 12-13th centuries. Now it consists of St. Grigor, St. Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God), St. Stepanos churches and some other buildings.The refectory due to its skillful architectural composition is of great interest. The huge oak tree, which is almost at the age of the monastery, completes the whole scene.
Transfer to the airport for departure.
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