Spend a day exploring the monasteries of northern Armenia, a convenient day trip from Tbilisi. Start with Akhtala Monastery, built in the 13th century and famous today for its frescoes and carvings. Next is Haghpat Monastery, a secluded monastery with several buildings and intricate frescoes. Finish at Sanahin Monastery, a medieval center for education and scholarly work. In between visits to monasteries, enjoy a traditional Armenian lunch. After completing all the visits, return back to Tbilisi in the evening.
At 9:00, our driver and guide will meet you at your hotel in Tbilisi and transfer you to the “Sadakhlo-Bagratashen” Georgian-Armenian border point. Cross the border to start the journey to the land of ancient traditions and oldest temples.
Drive to Lori region and visit Akhtala monastery, a 13th century complex is recommended for its fine decorative carvings and frescoes. It is built in a quite unique style, and its setting is equally dramatic, perched up on a cliff. Continue driving through Lori region and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Haghpat and Sanahin* Monasteries. These two stunning examples of Armenian traditional architecture were built in the 10-13th centuries. Standing on a hillside, Haghpat monastery beautifully overlooks the Debed River. The location of the monastery was chosen to protect the peace and seclusion of its monks. The complex consists of several structures. The biggest one is the Cathedral of Surb Nishan, with a beautiful fresco depicting Christ Pantocrator. Between the two monasteries you will hold a stop in the Qefilyan hotel for a traditional delicious Armenian lunch. After lunch, continue to the 10th century Sanahin monastery (15 km, 15 min) famous in Middle Ages for its calligraphy and illumination school. The name of Sanahin can be translated as “this one is older than that one”, presumably meaning that Sanahin was built earlier than its neighbor Haghpat. There are numerous khachkars (Armenian cross-stones) on the territory of the monasteries dating back to 11-13 centuries. Both Haghpat and Sanahin were important educational centers of medieval times.
Cross the border back to Georgia and head back to Tbilisi. Drop-off at your hotel.
*The site is presently under renovation works.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 9-10 hours
Visa to Armenia is not required for citizens of EU, US, Australia, Brazil, and number of other countries. For those who need visa there is a visa issuance facility at the border. For more information, please contact us.
- All transfers (1-3 pax by Sedan, 4-6 pax by Mercedes Viano or Mitsubishi Grandis);
- Guide to accompany travelers;
- Entrance tickets for sights as per itinerary;
- Mineral water (0,5 l per person per day);
- Lunch en route in restaurant (without alcohol).