PROGRAM N 2
AQUARIUS TRAVEL 9 DAYS COMBINED PROGRAM FOR GEORGIA + ARMENIA
DAY 1 Arrival in Tbilisi. Custom formalities. Meeting at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Check-in. Rest.
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 on 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 to 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 2 Tbilisi – Alaverdi – Gremi – Kvareli – Tbilisi Tour
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. After sightseeing and pastime driving to Tbilisi. On the way we will visit 300 year-old wine cellar (marani) “Numisi” in Velistsikhe. Tasting 5-6 year old Georgian red and white wines will give you opportunity to join the Georgian culture and traditions. Dinner. Overnight in Tbilisi.
DAY 3 Tbilisi – Uplistsikhe – Gori – Mtskheta – Tbilisi Tour
Breakfast at the hotel and 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. Next stop Mtskheta – the ancient capital of Georgia. After lunch at the local restaurant 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 . Drive to Tbilisi. Dinner at a local traditional restaurant. Overnight in Tbilisi.
DAY 4 Tbilisi – Sadakhlo – Alaverdi – Dilijan Tour
After breakfast at hotel drive to the Armenian – Georgian border Sadakhlo. Custom formalities, change vehicle and 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. Lunch between the visits. In the late afternoon arrival in hotel in Dilijan, check-in, rest. Dinner and overnight in hotel in Dilijan.
DAY 5 Dilijan – Lake Sevan – Yerevan Tour
After breakfast hotel check-out. Visit to the magnificent and impressive complex of Goshavank Monastery (11-13th centuries) in the beautiful mountainous and forested region of Tavush in the north-east of Armenia. Then departure for Lake Sevan – the emerald of Armenia situated at 2000 meters above sea level, therefore considered one of the highest altitude lakes in the world. After a short stop at the statue of Akhtamar visit to the 9th century Sevanavank Monastery on Sevan Peninsula (formerly an island). Lunch in a restaurant with local fish barbeque. In the afternoon driving along the beach towards the south visit Noraduz hosting the biggest collection of world famous Armenian khachkars (cross-stones) – the pride of Armenian medieval architecture. Arrival in Yerevan, hotel check-in. Dinner and overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 6 Yerevan Sightseeing + Echmiadzin Tour
After breakfast a 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. Visit to Matenadaran – institute of ancient manuscripts. Lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon 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. Dinner in a city restaurant or in hotel. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 7 Yerevan – Khor Virap – Noravank – Yerevan Tour
After breakfast at hotel drive towards the south to visit the historic Monastery of Khor Virap (Deep Pit), an important pilgrimage site close to the Turkish border where St. Gregory the Illuminator has been imprisoned for 13 years before the official conversion of Armenia to Christianity in 301 A.D. 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 set in a marvelous canyon and built in a perfect harmony with the surrounding nature. Lunch in a restaurant. On the way back stop at Areni Winery to taste Armenian wine and return to Yerevan. Dinner in a city restaurant. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 8 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 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 to Tsitsernakaberd – Memorial and Museum of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Visit Pak Shuka (fruit market). Good-bye dinner at a city restaurant. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 9 Departure
Hotel check-out. Transfer to the airport. Flight to home country.