Scheduled Caucasus Tour 2017

Caucasus Temples9 Days | Armenia, Georgia

Tour map

Amazing beauty of nature in Georgia and Armenia is not only the happiness for eyes but also the place where you feel like you are close to the Creator. It had been inspiring talented architects to erect temples and monasteries in dozens of picturesque places for over two thousand years.
In this 9-day Armenia & Georgia tour, you will see many attractions among which churches, cathedrals, small temples and monasteries take a special place. Some of them lie on the shores of the lakes, others are built on the steep cliffs opening breathtaking views, and the rest are hidden in the woods where silence rules. Caucasus temples tour is a little pilgrimage that will reveal you new horizons and will bring you closer to God.

Tour itinerary:

Day 1: Yerevan – arrival
 
Arrival in Yerevan. You will be met by our driver and transferred to the hotel. Check-in at noon. Your Armenia and Georgia tour starts with a city tour in Yerevan. One of the oldest cities of the world, Yerevan is famous as a pink city and calls visitors with its humble and at the same time splendid landscapes. Start city tour visiting 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 a breathtaking city view with Opera House, Mount Ararat, Swan Lake, Republic Square, and Abovyan Avenue, which you will also walk by during the tour. If it is a weekend, visit Vernissage, the biggest souvenir market in Yerevan. Continue to the Armenian Genocide memorial complex on the hill of Tsitsernakaberd. An excellent round-up of the tour will be a visit to the Megeryan carpet factory where you can observe a process of creating famous Armenian rugs. You will see carpets from different regions of Armenia and find out about hidden meanings of elements used in their design. In the evening, enjoy dinner and traditional folklore show. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Etchmiadzin – Yerevan
 
Depart Yerevan and drive to Garni, one of the major villages in Armenia famous for its fortress. The fortress is the only pagan sacred place from the 1st century that survived aggressive introduction of Christianity in the 4th century. Next stop is at the monastery complex Geghard (“spear”). A beautiful landscape of Geghard is framed with towering cliffs. Decorative art cut into rocks reflects Medieval Ages development in this region. The complex dates back to the 4th century that appeared as a sacred spring inside a cave. Continue to the Holy See of Armenia, Etchmiadzin. Visit Etchmiadzin Cathedral which is the residence of the head of Armenian Apostolic Church the Catholicos of All Armenians. Return to Yerevan for overnight.
Day 3: Yerevan – Khor Virap – Areni – Noravank – Yerevan
 
After breakfast head to Khor Virap monastery (“deep pit”). According to the legend, St. Gregory the Illuminator, the Baptist of Armenia, had been kept there in the basement during 13 years for disseminating of Christianity until tsar Tradt decided to adopt the new religion. Monastery location allows you to enjoy the best views of the Mount Ararat. Continue to complex of Noravank, situated on a ledge of a deep winding gorge of a tributary of the Arpa River near the village of Amaghu. Noravank ensemble stands amidst the bizarre-shaped precipitous red cliffs. Built in place of an ancient cloister, it grew in the reign of Princes Orbelian of Syunik. In the 13th-14th centuries it became a residence of Syunik's bishops. Consequently, a major religious and later cultural center of Armenia was closely connected with many educational institutes, primarily with Gladzor’s university and library. Return to Yerevan. Stop on the way at Areni, a city known for producing famous Armenian wine from pomegranate and apricot. Have a wine degustation in a local winery. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4: Armenian border Yerevan – Sevanavank – Lake Sevan – Haghpat – Armenian border – Tbilisi
 
In the morning, drive to Lake Sevan, “The Jewel of Armenia” and one of the largest high-mountainous fresh water lakes in the world. The coastline of Lake Sevan is rich with thick woods, white bare steep rocks, mountain steppes and Alpine meadows. Stop at Sevanavank to visit the remnants of the monastery that include two temples – Surb Arakelots and Surb Astvatsatsin standing among numerous khachkars (carved cross stones). The buildings were constructed from black tuff which probably gave the monastery its name Sevanavank – “the Black Monastery”. The view from there is simply magnificent: the mountains surround lake from all sides and snow tops are seen almost on the entire perimeter and disappear behind horizon. Continue to Lori region and visit UNESCO World Heritage Site Haghpat monastery. Stunning example of Armenian traditional architecture was erected in 10-13th centuries. Standing on a hillside, Haghpat beautifully overlooks Debed River. Location of monastery was chosen to protect peace and seclusion of its monks. Continue to “Sadakhlo-Bagratashen” Georgian-Armenian border point. Cross the border, meet your Georgian driver to have last hour-long transfer for today. In the evening, welcome dinner at traditional Georgian restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5: Tbilisi city tour
 
Meet your guide to start sightseeing tour in Tbilisi. Start at Holy Trinity cathedral, one of the largest orthodox cathedrals in the world. Continue to Metekhi church and monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali, the legendary founder of Tbilisi. Take cable car to Narikala Fortress to enjoy breathtaking panoramic view of the city. Walk down to the district of Sulphur bath houses passing by the only mosque in Tbilisi. Stroll through the Sharden area full of narrow streets with cozy cafés, wine tasting bars, souvenir shops, and breathe in the living past. Visit Sioni Cathedral, Anchiskhati Basilica, and the clock tower of famous Rezo Gabriadze Theatre. Cross the Bridge of Peace to Rike Park and head to Open Air Museum of Ethnography, a miniature model of Georgia. To conclude the tour, visit Arts Museum. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6: Tbilisi – Sighnaghi – Bodbe – Tsinandali – Telavi – Tbilisi
 
After breakfast depart towards the Kakheti region, the cradle of Georgian wine making.
Our first stop will be in Bodbe convent, which according to the legend is a burial place of St. Nino, who converted Georgia to Christianity in the 4th century. According to Tsar Alexader III of Russia decree, since 1889 Bodbe complex functions as a nunnery. Continue Sighnaghi, the city of love and the Royal Town, one of the crossroads of the Great Silk Road surrounded by defensive walls with 23 towers. Drive to Tsinandali, the residence of dukes of Georgia with beautiful English garden, a museum, and the wine cellar which belonged to prince Chavchavadze, 19th century public figure and poet.
Reach Telavi, the administrative and historic center of the region. Have a short walk through charming streets of old Telavi with a photo stop at the monument to Erekli II.
Depart to Tbilisi by beautiful road through Gombori pass. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 7: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Ananuri – Kazbegi
 
After breakfast, drive to Mtskheta, one of the oldest towns and the cultural and religious centre of Georgia. Mtskheta was the capital of the Eastern Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the third century BC. Visit Jvari Church, a true architectural masterpiece of the early Medieval Period overlooking the confluence of Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers from the top of the hill, and Svetitskhoveli , the main cathedral of Mtskheta and a sacred place where the robe of Christ is being kept.
Continue to Ananuri architectural complex, a former residence of Argveti Dukes. Complex featuring churches and towers dating back to the 16th - 17th XVII centuries is beautifully overlooking Jinvali reservoir. Continue driving on Georgian Military Highway passing through the highest point of it at 2379 m above sea level. En-route, make a stop at the mineral water spring flowing down from a hilltop.
Arrive in Kazbegi, a small town with the views of Mt. Kazbek (or Mkinvari) 5033 m, the seventh highest peak in the Caucasus Mountains. Visit Gergeti Holy Trinity Church located on altitude of 2170 and enjoy breathtaking views to Mt Kazbegi. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 8: Kazbegi – Gori – Uplistsikhe – Tbilisi
 
Breakfast at the hotel. After, drive to Gori and visit Stalin Museum. The museum includes more than 60,000 artifacts, the tiny house where Stalin was born, and impressive bulletproof train Stalin used to travel to Yalta and Potsdam. Explore cave town Uplistsikhe dating back to Hellenistic Period and notable for unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures and the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture. Return to Tbilisi for overnight.
Day 9: Tbilisi – departure
 
Check-out from the hotel till noon. Free time till transfer to Tbilisi International airport. End of the tour.

Accommodation:

City
OPTION 1 – Comfort
OPTION 2 – Economy
Nights
Yerevan
Grand Hotel Yerevan, DoubleTree by Hilton Yerevan, Opera Suite
Silachi, Cascade, Hrazdan
3
Tbilisi
Tiflis Palace, Mercure, Ambasadori, Riverside
Kopala, Tiflis
4
Kazbegi
The Rooms Hotel
Alpen house or similar
1

 

  • All transfers by sedan type cars; 4x4 WD to Gergeti Church in Kazbegi;
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included;
  • English speaking guides in each country;
  • All entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
  • Wine tasting at Areni and Tsinandali;
  • Welcome dinners in Yerevan and Tbilisi;
  • Mineral water (0,5l per person per day).
  • Lunches and dinners;
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Personal travel insurance.

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