PROGRAM N 3
AQUARIUS TRAVEL 11 DAYS COMBINED PROGRAM FOR ARMENIA + GEORGIA
DAY 1 Arrival in Yerevan. Custom formalities. Meeting at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Check-in. Rest.
Yerevan Sightseeing Tour
After breakfast full day sightseeing tour of Yerevan including the Republic Square, the Opera House, the Parliament, the Cascade as well as the monument ‘Mayr Hayastan’ (Mother Armenia) with a panoramic view of Yerevan and Mount Ararat. Visits to: Erebuni – archaelogical museum of ancient Yerevan and ruins of the fortress of Erebuni founded in 782 b.C. by the Urartian King Argishti I. Visit to Matenadaran – institute of ancient manuscripts. Lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon visit to Tsitsernakaberd – Memorial and Museum of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Dinner in a city restaurant or in hotel. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 2 Yerevan – Ashtarak – Amberd – Yerevan Tour
Breakfast at hotel. Departure for Ashtarak to visit the small gracious church of S. Astvatsatsin dating to 7th century known also with the name Karmravor thanks to the originally red tiles on the roof replaced with new ones recently. The tour then continues to the fortress of Amberd located at 2300m above sea-level on the southern slopes of Mount Aragats. Lunch in a restaurant. In the afternoon visit to 13th century monastic convents of Saghmossavank and Hovhannavank both located on the edge of deep Kasakh gorge with a breathtaking view over the canyon. Return to Yerevan. Dinner and overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 3 Yerevan – Echmiadzin Tour (Holy Residence of Armenian Apostolic Church)
After breakfast departure for Echmiadzin – the holy seat of the Supreme Patriarch – Catholicos of all Armenians. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD. The Cathedral was built in 303 on the site of a pagan temple after the adoption of Christianity. Visit UNESCO Heritage Sites St. Hripsime Church (7th cent) and ruins of the cathedral of Zvartnots (7th cent). Return to Yerevan. Lunch in a restaurant. Afternoon free to explore Vernissage – an open-air art market open only at weekends. Dinner in a city restaurant. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 4 Yerevan – Garni – Geghard -Yerevan Tour
After breakfast at hotel departure for Kotaik Region. Stop at the Arch of Yeghishe Charents to have a bird-eye view of Mount Ararat and Yerevan city. Continue to bronze age Garni Village to visit the 1st century Pagan Temple of Garni located in a picturesque position and in a perfect harmony with the pure nature. Then visit the UNESCO Heritage site Geghard Monastery (13th century) carved into solid rock. Lunch in the village with lavash (Armenian bread) bakers. Watching and assisting Armenian women bake lavash in tonir (well-stove) and tasting it with home-made cheese and herbs. Return to Yerevan. Visit Pak Shuka (fruit market). Dinner at a city restaurant. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 5 Yerevan – Khor Virap – Noravank – Lake Sevan – Dilijan Tour
After breakfast at hotel drive towards the south to visit the historic Monastery of Khor Virap (Deep Pit), an important pilgrimage site where St. Gregory the Illuminator has been imprisoned for 13 years. From the monastery you can enjoy a breathtaking view of majestic snow-peaked Biblical Mount Ararat and the vast Ararat valley. Continue to Vayots Dzor Region to visit Noravank Monastery – the jewel of medieval Armenian architecture. Lunch in a restaurant. Continuation of the tour towards the north – east of Armenia to Lake Sevan – the emerald of Armenia situated at 2000 meters above sea level, therefore considered one of the highest altitude lakes in the world. En-route stop at the picturesque Selim Caravanserai built by Chesar Orbelyan in 1332. Continue the journey to visit Noraduz hosting the biggest collection of world famous Armenian khachkars (cross-stones). Arrival in hotel in Dilijan. Check-in, dinner and overnight in Dilijan.
DAY 6 Dilijan – Alaverdi – Sadakhlo – Tbilisi Tour
After breakfast at hotel drive to Lori region to visit some of the architectural masterpieces of medieval Armenia. Visit to the Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin built between 10-13th centuries and set amidst forest-clad hills close to the town of Alaverdi, a small copper-mining town on the river Debed. The monuments are preserved by UNESCO and included in the World Heritage List. The beautiful complexes include more than twenty premises including big and small churches, gavits, refectories, academies, sepulchers, bell-towers, book-depositories and other monumental structures. After lunch transfer to the Armenian – Georgian border Sadakhlo. Custom formalities, change vehicle and transfer to Tbilisi. Arrival in hotel, check-in, dinner and overnight in Tbilisi.
DAY 7 Tbilisi City Tour
Explore Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia founded in the 5th century by King Vakhtang Gorgasali. Take a walk around the old town which developed within the walls of a citadel and reached the bank of the river Mtkvari. First visit to Metekhi church (12th – 13th cc) then to Narikala Fortress (4th c) – main citadel of the city, which overlooks the oldest part of Tbilisi. During centuries Narikala was considered the best strategic point of the city. Ascending by funicular road, descending by foot. After the getting panoramic view we visit Sulphur bath houses. Continue the tour going down to Synagogue and Sioni Cathedral (7th – 19th cc), considered the symbol of Tbilisi. A short glimpse Anchiskhati basilica and bell tower (6th -18th cc). Lunch at the local restaurant. Then National Museum of Georgia that contains an exhibition of gold work. Dinner at a local traditional restaurant. Overnight in Tbilisi.
DAY 8 Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Uplistsikhe – Gori – Borjomi – Bakuriani
Breakfast at the hotel and drive to Mtskheta – the ancient capital of Georgia. You will have the opportunity to visit: Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11 th c) – one of the sacred places of Georgia, the burial place of the Holy Mantle of Christ and Jvari Church (6th – 7th cc) – church of the Holy Cross, masterpiece of the early Medieval Period . Next drive to Shida Kartli region. Visit cave-town Uplistsikhe (end of 2 – beginning 1BB BC) – “God’s Fortress”, the ancient cave town hewn into the rock. Drive to town Gori, birthplace of Joseph Stalin and visit the House-museum. After lunch drive to Bakuriani via Borjomi – spa town, famous for its mineral water “Borjomi”. Arrival in Bakuriani and hotel check-in. Dinner and overnight in Bakuriani.
DAY 9 Bakuriani – Borjomi – Akhaltsikhe – Vardzia – Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Akhaltsikhe – town which has undergone large-scale restoration over the past 15 months. Visit Rabati castle – developed under the influence of diﬀerent cultures over subsequent centuries and this is reflected in its architecture. Within the 7 hectares castle complex there is a Church, a Mosque, a Minaret and a Synagogue. Next visit -Khertvisi fortress – one of the oldest fortresses in Georgia and was functional throughout the Georgian feudal period. As the legend says, Khertvisi was destroyed by Alexander the Great. Lunch. Drive to Vardzia – cave monastery complex. In the mountain carved about 600 rooms: churches, chapels, living cells, store-rooms, baths, refectories, treasuries and libraries, with the unique mural paintings. Drive to Tbilisi. On the way you enjoy the beautiful nature. Dinner and overnight in Tbilisi.
DAY 10 Tbilisi – Alaverdi – Gremi – Kvareli – Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Kakheti region via Gombori Pass(1839 m). First visit to Shuamta Monastery – two of the most important and beautiful architectural monuments of Kakhetia: Dzveli (“old”) and Akhali (“new” ) Shuamta Monasteries. Driving to Alaverdi Monastery – the greatest temple of the mediaeval Georgia. Next stop – Gremi – 16th century architectural monument. The complex is what has survived from the once flourishing town of kingdom of Kakheti in the 16th and 17th centuries. Diversity in the our tour will be visiting the “Tunnel” – modern tourist complex, situated near the town of Kvareli. Lunch. “Tunnel” is a place where you can relax in the cool of the Kvareli Mountains during the hot Kakhetian summer. On the way back we will visit 300 year-old wine cellar (marani) “Numisi” in Velistsikhe. Dinner. Overnight in Tbilisi.
DAY 11 Departure
Hotel check-out. Transfer to the airport. Flight to home country.