ARMENIA & ARTSAKH

TOUR - 2017


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GROUP INFORMATION:
PERIOD: 18 – 28 SEP 2017
HOTEL: ANI PLAZA 4* (www.anihotel.com)
GROUP SIZE: 6 AND MORE
ITINERARY: ARMENIA & ARTSAKH
GUIDE: ENGLISH & ARMENIAN – SPEAKING
MEAL PLAN: BREAKFAST AT HOTEL, LUNCHES DURING TOURS
TRANSPORT: TOURIST CLASS MINIBUS

DAY 01 - MON, 18 SEP: ARRIVAL IN YEREVAN
Arrival in Yerevan in evening. Transfer to hotel. Accommodation. Overnight in Yerevan (centrally located ANI PLAZA 4* hotel).
DAY 02 - TUE, 19 SEP: YEREVAN CITY TOUR
Tour packages in Armenia Breakfast at hotel.
Yerevan City tour. Yerevan is the capital of Armenia and one of the oldest cities in the world. It stretches under the gaze of biblical mountain Ararat and resembles a beautiful gilt bowl to those flying over it. A basalt slab with an Urartu cuneiform inscription, unearthed by archaeologists in the south-eastern part of the city shows the age of Yerevan to be 2783 years old. Modern Yerevan is mostly a rebuilt colourful city with buildings of unique architecture, constructed from basalt, marble, onyx and volcanic tufa stone and it is a contemporary to such ancient metropolises as Babylon and Nineveh.

"Mayr-Hayastan" (panoramic view of Yerevan). Matenadaran (Depository and Museum of Ancient Manuscripts). The Matenadaran is one of the oldest and richest book-depositories in the world. Its collection of about 17,000 manuscripts includes almost all of the areas of ancient and medieval Armenian culture and sciences – history, geography, grammar, philosophy, law, medicine, mathematics, cosmography, theory of calendar, alchemy, chemistry, translations, literature, chronology, art history, miniature, music and theatre, as well as manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Greek, Syrian, Latin, Ethiopian, Indian, Japanese and others. Cascade and Museum of contemporary Art. Street tour including Republic Square, Yerevan State University, Victory Bridge. Tsitsernakaberd (1915 Genocide Memorial). Sports & Concerts complex, Kiev Bridge, Parliament, Palace of President, Academy of Sciences, Opera house.
Evening free. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 03 - WED, 20 SEP: YEREVAN – ASHTARAK – OSHAKAN – YEREVAN
Tour packages in Armenia Breakfast at hotel.
Tour to Ashtarak city. Churches of Karmravor and Tsiranavor. Ashtarak town ("Tower" in Armenian) is famous as a scientific center. There are many scientific research institutes here. There are ancient burial sites and fortifications in Parbi, Mughni, Orgov. Going from Yerevan to Ashtarak, Kasakh river is spanned by a 5th c. bridge. It is a nice three-arched bridge built of apricot-colored tuff stone. The beautiful Karmravor church made of red stone stands on the rock rising above the bridge. Surprising churches of Karmravor, (7th c.), Marine (13th c.), Mughni (10th c.), Saghmosavank (12-13th c.), Ohanavank (5-13th c.) are also located in Ashtarak. Tour to Oshakan. Burial site of St. Mesrop Mashtots – creator of Armenian alphabet. Oshakan is an ancient village northwest of Yerevan. It was the home-village of St. Mesrop Mashtots, the 4th c. monk scientist and philosopher from Echmiadzin, who invented the Armenian alphabet which is still in use today with almost no changes. The tomb of Mashtots is here in the crypt of a church built in the 5th c. and rebuilt in the 19th c. A recently opened seminary is nearby the church. Just outside Oshakan there is a memorial in the shape of an open book upon which the Armenian alphabet is carved. It was erected in 1962 on the occasion of the 1600th anniversary of the Armenian alphabet. Return to Yerevan. Yerablour Cemetery. Evening free Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 04 - THU, 21 SEP INDEPENDENCE DAY: YEREVAN – SARDARAPAT – ECHMIADZIN – YEREVAN
Tour packages in Armenia Breakfast at hotel.
Tour to Mother See of Echmaidzin. En route – Hripsime Church. This is a masterpiece of architecture and a marvellous example of cross-cupola architecture of the 7th century. Weddings and baptisms are performed here on Saturdays and Sundays. Remnants of very old constructions were discovered under the temple in 1959 while the temple was being restored. Virgin's tomb lies here in the crypt of the church. Memorial of 1918 victory by Saradarapat. Sardarapat is a memorial complex, 38 Km west from Yerevan, established in 1968 to commemorate the Armenian people’s victory over Turkish invaders in 1918. The complex was designed by architect Raphael Israelyan and sculptor Ara Haroutyunyan. The complex consists of a bell-tower, “Path of heroes’, bas-relief Victory Wall, the Ethnographic museum and two giant statues of bulls at the entrance to the Memorial Park. These bulls symbolize the titanic strength. Stairways lead up to the square dominated by a 35-meter high stone bell tower. On the background of Mount Ararat one can hear the bells tolling. St. Echmiadzin (Holy See). Cathedral of (UNESCO World Heritage). This oldest Christian temple was founded in 301 and is one of the first churches in the Christian World. Holy Mass takes place on Sundays in the Cathedral. It is an architectural monument of early Christianity. It houses a unique museum of religious artefacts. There is a small altar in the centre of the Cathedral where, according to legend, Christ descended from Heaven and with a golden hammer pointed to the site upon which the Cathedral was to be built. The remnants of a pagan temple have been discovered during excavations made inside the Cathedral. Return to Yerevan. Vernissage. Independence Day concert and fireworks in evening (Republic square). Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 05 - FRI, 22 SEP: YEREVAN – DILIJAN SPA – GOSHAVANK – LAKE SEVAN – YEREVAN
Tour packages in Armenia Breakfast at hotel.
Trip to Dilijan spa. Goshavank Monastery Complex. Goshavank - The monastery can be reached by a road by way of Parz (Limpid) Lake which originates in Dilijan. Goshavank was built in the 12th c. by Mkhitar Gosh, the famous scientist of medieval Armenia, famous author of fables. The oldest construction of the complex is the Virgin church (1196). There are monumental khachkars next to the main church. Old district of Dilijan (Sharambeyan Street). Trip to Sevan Lake - emerald of Armenia. Peninsula and churches of Sevan. Sevan, this wonder of nature, is 60 Km from Yerevan on a highway which cuts northward through mountains and rocks. Sevan is so austere and majestic that the gentle turquoise waters are astonishing. They fill the gigantic depression situated at the height of almost 2000 m above sea level. Sevan, with its pure air and sandy beaches, is a popular holiday resort. Sevan has always been famous for its fish "Ishkhan" which means "prince-fish" in Armenian. The fish has graced many Lords' tables in old times. One of the most interesting sites in Sevan is the monastery on the rocky peninsula founded in 874 AD by King Ashot I and his daughter Mariam. Other monuments include Sevan Monastery (874) and Astvatsatsin Church. Return to Yerevan. Evening free. Overnight in Yerevan
DAY 06 - SAT, 23 SEP: YEREVAN – GARNI – GEGHARD – YEREVAN
Tour packages in Armenia Breakfast at hotel.
Half-day trip to Garni Pagan Temple and Geghard Monastery. This pagan temple was built in 1st. c. AC and was devoted to one of the Armenian Pagan Gods - Mitra. After Armenia converted to Christianity in the 4th c., the rulers of the country used the temple as their summer residence. King Khosrov stayed there often as the area was his favourite hunting ground. Garni was destroyed when the Arabs conquered Armenia but was rebuilt in the beginning of the 10th c. Its final destruction came in 1638 during the Turkish invasion. A violent earthquake buried what remained from it in 1679. The complete restoration of the temple began in 1970 and was over in 1978. The temple consists of dwellings and bath quarters built in the 3rd century in the Roman style. The fantastic landscape of Garni canyon shakes the human imagination. Proceed to Geghard Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage): Geghard was initially known simply as Ayrivank (Cave Monastery). The present buildings comprising it date back to 10-13th cc., at which time it was renamed as Geghard meaning "lance" (spear) in Armenian. The name refers to the biblical lance used by a Roman soldier to pierce Christ's body to find out if he was alive or not. The lance was kept in Geghard for a long time before being moved to the museum of Echmiadzin Cathedral. The main church, constructed in 1215, is the oldest building in the monastery complex. Avazan church, 1283, is carved right into the solid rock and is an incomparable work of art. It leads to a rectangular portico and then to another church deeper in the rock. Along the southern and eastern walls of the monastery, high above the valley, medieval dwellings appear. The monastery has withstood many assaults during a period of seven hundred years. Its walls have sheltered many scholars and it was revered throughout Armenia as one of the greatest spiritual and cultural centres in the country. Hundreds of khachkars (cross-stones) and caves are built in the rocks surrounding the Monastery. Return to Yerevan. Vernissage. Evening free. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 07 - SUN, 24 SEP: YEREVAN – KHOR VIRAP – NORAVANK – STEPANAKERT
Tour packages in Armenia Breakfast at hotel. CHECK-OUT.
Drive to South Armenia. Khor Virap Monastery. Khor Virap is a place of pilgrimage for Armenians all over the world. According to history annals, Armenian pagan king Trdat imprisoned Saint Gregory the Illuminator in a cave which became known as Khor Virap. He was the first Patriarch of all Armenians. From here one can enjoy the majestic view of Mount Ararat (where Noah’s ark landed according to the Bible), not too far from the Arax river. Khor Virap is the closest point to Mount Ararat from the territory of Armenia, the most convenient place for observing and taking pictures of the biblical mountain.
Proceed to Noravank Monastery Complex:
Noravank monastery is considered to be the pulpit of Syunik bishops. The main church of St. Karapet was built in 1227. The reliefs on the entrance tympanum and the windows on the western facade are very interesting from an architectural point of view. To the south of the complex one can see a two-storied sepulchre church built in 1339.
Proceed to Karabakh via Goris town. Arrival at Stepanakert (capital of Nagorno Karabakh). Hotel accommodation. Overnight in Stepanakert.
DAY 08 - MON, 25 SEP: STEPANAKERT – GANDZASAR – TIGRANAKERT – STEPANAKERT
Tour packages in Armenia Breakfast at hotel. Stepanakert city tour. Stepanakert, nestled in a bowl of mountains, is the capital of Karabakh. Karabakh has a population of well under 200,000 people, which means the capital of Stepanakert, with an estimated 40,000 residents is more a large town than a city. The main tourist site in Stepanakert is in the outskirts near the approach to town from Shushi. It is the monument called popularly "Tatik and Papik" (Grandmother and Grandfather), an old Armenian man and woman hewn from rock. They represent the mountain people of Karabakh. Aside from this there is also a small museum near the main open market place.
Gandzasar Monastery Complex and Vank village. Gandzasar (1216-1238 AD) is the most exquisite monastery of Karabakh. Located in the north, atop the green hill which climbs above the village of Vank, it has been restored and is a fully functioning monastery. Gandzasar has some of the nicest carvings and details typical for many Armenian monasteries. Each stone is well thought out, and the decorations are a pleasure to discover throughout the complex. Being a functioning monastery means there are priests and monks there who are happy to give tours and history of the monastery, as well as discuss church issues in general. The monastery is surrounded by walls which have monks’ quarters and should soon be able to accommodate some male guests as well.
Tigranakert. Excavations and museum.
Overnight in Stepanakert.
DAY 09 - TUE, 26 SEP: STEPANAKERT – SHOUHSI – TATEV – YEREVAN
Tour packages in Armenia Breakfast at hotel.
CHECK-OUT after breakfast. Drive back to Yerevan. En route – Shouhsi medieval capital.
Shushi is a great center of Armenian culture. It is unavoidable en route to Stepanakert via the Berdzor corridor. The main attraction is the newly restored Cathedral, which is a pristine white, very large and attractive. The newly-renovated church of Ghazanchetsots stands resplendently, symbolizing the rebirth of Armenian Shushi, also known as "Eagle’s Nest." Inside, deacons and acolytes are often chanting the psalms of the Evening Service, their voices echoing in the acoustically-rich church
Tramway riding to Tatev Monastery.
Arrival in Yerevan. CHECK-IN. Hotel accommodation. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 10 - WED, 27 SEP: FREE DAY IN YEREVAN
Breakfast at hotel.
Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 11 - THU, 28 SEP: DEPARTURE
Transfer to airport. Departure.



HOTEL P/P IN TWN SGL SUP NOTES
ANI PLAZA 4* $ 1.300 $ 330 www.anihotel.com

PRICE COVERS:

1. Hotel accommodation with breakfast in Yerevan (08 nights);
2. Hotel accommodation with breakfast in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh, 02 nights);
3. Full transportation and transfers in Armenia as specified in itinerary;
4. Guide-interpreter;
5. All breakfasts and lunches during tours;
6. Visa for Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh);
7. Tatev tramway flight ticket (round-trip);
8. Entrance fees to all sightseeing destinations;
9. Local taxes in Armenia.

Please Contact Us for further information, terms/conditions and rates.