The Soul of Armenia Tour8 Days | Yerevan, Garni, Geghrad, Khor Virap, Noravank, Karahunj, Tatev, Khndzoresk, Noratus Cemetery, Sanahin etc.

The Soul of Armenia Tour

The Soul of Armenia Tour: 8-day itinerary uncovers one of the most picturesque countries in the world, situated along the Great Silk Road and lovingly referred to by locals as Hayastan. Adventure awaits you all along this trip: Stroll through Yerevan, one of the world’s oldest cities, experience life in the historic cave village Khndzoresk, discover the mystery of the Armenian alphabet at Oshakan and journey down the Silk Road at Orbeliean’s caravanserai, located 2410 meters above sea level and opening upon a breathtaking view of the land. Come see why this land is adored by citizens and visitors alike!

Tour itinerary:

Day 1: Yerevan – arrival – city tour
 
Arrival in Yerevan. Meet your driver at the airport. Transfer to the Hotel. Check in at noon.
After short rest, start exploring Yerevan, one of the world’s oldest cities. Yerevan is often referred to as a “Pink City” and impresses visitors with its grand Soviet architecture. Our first stop in Yerevan will be at the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex on Tsitsernakaberd Hill. Next, we will visit the modern symbol of Yerevan – Cascade Monument. The Cascade is a giant stairway (572 steps) linking the downtown area of Yerevan with the Monument neighborhood. From the top of the monument you can capture the best panorama of Yerevan and the mountain Ararat. Continue exploring the city by walking along the beautiful streets, past Opera House, Republic Square, and Abovyan Avenue. Transfer to the hotel. In the evening enjoy a welcome dinner at a traditional local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Echmiadzin – Yerevan
 
Depart Yerevan and drive to Garni, the only pagan temple in Armenia that survived Christianization of Armenia in the 4th century. The next stop is Geghard Monastery (meaning "spear" in Armenian). The monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. Continue to Echmiadzin*. According to many scholars it was the first cathedral built in ancient Armenia. We will visit the main Cathedral (it is the residence of the Catholicos, the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church) and the museum of Christian relics. Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight at the hotel.
*The site is presently under the renovation works.
Day 3: Yerevan – Khor Virap – Areni – Noravank – Karahunj (Carahunge) – Goris
 
At 08:00 head to Khor Virap Monastery. According to the legend, Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned here for 14 years by King Tiridates III of Armenia. Saint Gregory subsequently became the king's religious mentor. In 301 Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as an official religion. The monastery’s location allows you to enjoy superb views of Mount Ararat.
Drive to the Noravank complex. The monastery offers one of the most beautiful surrounding areas in Armenia. The spare lines of the church contrast beautifully with the sharp red rock cliffs.
Continue to Areni Caves. In 2008 researchers found here the world’s oldest shoe. Visit Hin Areni winery to taste delicious local wines. Continue driving towards Goris. En-route stop at Karahunj (Carahunge) – also known as Zorats Karer. The site was inhabited from prehistoric to medieval civilizations. It consists of a prehistoric mausoleum and over two hundred large stone monoliths, eighty of which have distinctive, well-polished holes bored near their upper edge. The monument is surrounded by beautiful nature, making it an attractive journey for many tourists each year. Arrival in Goris in the evening. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4: Goris – Tatev – Khndzoresk – Jermuk
 
In the morning we will visit Tatev Complex. The 9th-century monastery, standing on the edge of a deep gorge of the Vorotan River attracts many visitors each year. In order to reach the monastery, we need to ride a cable car “Wings of Tatev”, the longest aerial tramway in the world. It is included in the Guinness World Records book (5700 m. length, 12 min. duration). Tatev used to be the religious and political center of the region and the remote location of the monastery was chosen strategically, to protect the complex from the constant invasions.
Continue to Khndzoresk - The historical cave village, located on the steep slope of a gorge. It consists of natural and manmade caves. Since many of the dwellings were carved out over and around each other, a complex system of ropes and ladders were required for people to reach many corners of the community. Right up until the 20th century Khndzoresk Cave Village was the biggest village in Eastern Armenia. Drive to mountain spa town Jermuk for overnight.
Day 5: Jermuk – Selim Pass – Noratus Cemetery – Sevanavank – Dilijan
 
After breakfast, continue exploring Armenia with Selim Pass Caravansary, also known as Orbelian's Caravanserai, located at a height of 2410 meters above sea level. The Caravansary was built in 14th Century and was one of the major points of Armenian Silk Road. After crossing the pass, you will visit the medieval cemetery – Noratus. Here you can see khachkars – Armenian cross-stones from medieval centuries. Khachkars keep unique symbols and represent amazing skillfulness of medieval Armenian craftsmen. Since 2010, khachkars, their symbolism and craftsmanship are inscribed in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Our final stop today is Sevanavank Monastery. It stands on a narrow rocky peninsula, in the northwest part of the Lake Sevan – one of the largest freshwater alpine lakes in Eurasia. The road passes through the coastline of the lake, surrounded by beautiful nature. Lake Sevan attracts many locals and tourists throughout a year. Reach Dilijan for overnight.
Day 6: Dilijan – Haghpat – Sanahin – Gyumri
 
After breakfast, start exploring northern part of Armenia – Lori. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Haghpat Monastery. This is a stunning example of traditional Armenian architecture, erected between the 10th and 13th centuries. Standing on a hillside, Haghpat beautifully overlooks the Debed River Canyon. The monastery’s location was chosen to protect the peace and seclusion of the monks. Continue to Sanahin Monastery of the 10-13th century, which is rightly included in the list of best landmarks of Lori as a real treasure of ancient Armenian architecture.
Then drive to Gyumri, the second large city in Armenia. It lies on the Shirak plateau which crosses several mountain gorges. The city itself is located in the close quarters from the Aragats northern mountain ranges. Gyumri concentrates a lot of mineral deposits and the whole city’s southern part is located above an artesian basin. Overnight in Gyumri.
Day 7: Gyumri – Amberd fortress – Oshakan – Yerevan
 
After breakfast at the hotel, drive towards Amberd fortress, medieval fortress on the southern slopes of the Mount Aragats, away from the hectic cities. Ambered fortress is a rare historical site that survived and reached us in a good condition from the 7-th century. Some say that it was built in the 11-13th centuries, attributing it to the near located church. Amberd means ‘fortress in the clouds’; the name is due to its location 2300 meters above sea level. Next stop is Oshakan, which is known as a burial place of the father of the Armenian alphabet Saint Mesrop Mashtots. A cathedral named after him houses his grave which was rebuilt by Catholicos George IV in 1875. Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 8: Yerevan – departure
 
Check out from the hotel till noon. Transfer to Yerevan International Airport. Departure. End of the tour.
  • All transfers (1-2 pax by sedan, 3-4 pax by Mercedes Vito or similar, 5-10 pax by Mercedes Sprinter passenger van);
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included;
  • Sightseeing tour program in Armenia with local English-speaking guide;
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
  • Wine tasting at Hin Areni;
  • Welcome dinner in Yerevan;
  • Bottled drinking water.
  • Full board (lunches and dinners);
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • Tips are not included, but would be appreciated.

Accommodation:

Economy Option
Comfort Option
Yerevan - 3 nights
Cascade, Silachi, Hrazdan or similarDoubleTree by Hilton, Opera Suite, Grand Hotel Yerevan, Tufenkian Hotel or similar
Goris - 1 night
Mirhav, Montebello or similarMirhav, Montebello or similar
Jermuk - 1 night
Hotel Verona, hotel Kasanova or similarJermuk Grand Resort Hotel or similar
Dilijan - 1 night
Toon Armeni or similarBest Western Paradise, Turfenkian Old Dilijan Complex, Dilijan resort or similar
Gyumri - 1 night
Hotel Villa Kars, Berlin Hotel or similarHotel Nane or similar

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