Culture & Nature of Noah's Land
9 days/ 8 nights
Day 1: Arrival in Yerevan – transfer to the selected hotel
Day 2: Yerevan City tour
Yerevan sightseeing including City center, Republic square, State University, City panorama, Matenadaran (depository for ancient manuscripts ); visit to the Genocide Memorial, dedicated to the Victims of 1915 and the Genocide Museum. Visit to the ruins of Erebuni fortress, founded during the Urartian Kingdom by King Argishti in 782 BC and the Erebuni museum (1968) with Urartian period exhibits. Erebuni has been renamed into Yerevan since the 7th century A.D., when it was the capital of Armenia. Program includes lunch in a local restaurant.
Day 3: Etchmiadzin – Zvartnots - Vernisaj
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit to vernisaj - crafts/art market (open on Saturdays and Sundays). Drive to Etchmiadzin, the spiritual and administrative center of Armenian Apostolic Church. Visit to Etchmiadzin Cathedral (4th c.), the museum, St. Hripsime’s Church (7th c.), ruins of Zvartnots temple (7th c.), (UNESCO World Heritage list 2000). The program includes lunch in a local restaurant.
Day 4: Garni – Geghard
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to the only remaining pagan temple in Armenia devoted to the God of Sun – Myrth, in Garni, built in 77 AD by King Trdat (Arshakid Dynasty). The temple is Greco-Roman style with characteristic pillars. It stands proudly on a rocky ridge with a deep canyon presenting a beautiful view. The temple was a summer residence for Arshakid dynasty. Visit to the ruins of Royal Palace and Royal bath-house nearby. Drive to the unique caved temple St. Geghard (12th -13th cc.), the name of which means “holy spear” in the honor of the long-preserved spear, the same spear that pierced the body of crucified Christ. It is now exhibited in the museum of Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Geghard Monastery is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list (2000). The program includes family hosted lunch in village and watching of “Lavash” (Armenian traditional flat bread baked in stone-make oven) making process.
Day 5: Khor Virap – Noravank
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit to Khor Virap Church – the place of imprisonment of St. Gregory the Illuminator, who stayed here in the small dungeon for 13 years without any food, accused by the Armenian King of preaching Christianity. Khor Virap Church was built on the dungeon and now people have a chance to go down into the dark pit themselves. It is one of the holy places for the Christian world. Here is also the closest and most spectacular view of the gorgeous biblical mountain Ararat shining with its two white peaks. The hills adjoining Khor Virap were the site of the early Armenian capital - ancient Artashat built by King Artashes I, founder of the Artashesid dynasty, around 180 B.C. It is one of the few ancient towns, built by the special design of the famous Carthaginian general Hannibal. After the defeat in a war against Rome, he found shelter in Armenia…After visiting Khor Virap drive through the spectacular canyon between the red rocks toward Noravank Monastery (13th c.). Tour to “Areni” Winery/ wine testing. The program includes lunch in a local restaurant.
Day 6: Yerevan - Visit to National Art Gallery and Cognac Plant
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit to the National Art Gallery and Cognac Plant with tasting of famous Armenian Cognacs. The program includes lunch in a local restaurant.
Day 7: Lake Sevan – Dilijan (Haghartsin)
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to mountainous resort Dilijan, visit to Haghartsin Monastery complex (13th c.), including Church St. Stepanos, St. Mary and St. Gregory’s Church, as well as famous refectory. Appearing unexpectedly, out of the thick forests, in front of the visitors, the Monastery creates a magical impression of the lost world. Drive to Sevan, one of the greatest high mountainous freshwater lakes of Eurasia, visit to Sevan Monastery (9th c.). The program includes lunch in a local restaurant, tasting the fish freshly caught from the lake.
Day 8: Ashtarak – Oshakan – Saghmosavank – Alphabet Park - Hand-made Carpet factory
Breakfast at the hotel. Trip to the city Ashtarak and the village Oshakan. Visit to the Church St. Mesrop Mashtots and his gravestone. Drive to the Saghmosavank Church (13th c.) where the beautiful view of Kasakh river canyon can be spotted. Visit to Alphabet Park, a location where all letters of Armenian alphabet made from tuff of human-size are scattered around volcanic stones. The program includes lunch in a local restaurant. Visit to hand-made Carpet factory.
Day 9: Transfer to the airport