UNESCO Heritage in Armenia
5 days / 4 nights
Tour available April 15 - October 31, start on Fridays
Garni pegan temple – Geghard monastery – baking of Armenian bread lavash – Ejmiatsin – “Treasures of Ejmiatsin” museum – ruins of Zvartnots temple – Haghpat monastery – Zarni-Parni complex – Akhtala fortress – Sanahit monastery.
Day 1 Friday
Arrival in Armenia, meeting at the airport, transfer to the city (in case of booking additional nights, a free transfer is provided for arrival / departure).
Free time in the city.
For an additional fee: Price - $35 per person.
10:00 Khor Virap, Noravank, Areni village, winery (9-10 hours)
Embark on a journey through the heart of Armenia's fertility and winemaking culture in the Ararat Valley. Our first stop will be the revered Khor Virap Monastery, which offers stunning views of Mount Ararat and holds a rich history as the former spiritual center of the Armenian Apostolic Church. In the past, this site served as the location of St. Gregory the Illuminator's underground prison.
Next, we'll head to the Noravank Monastery, nestled within a narrow, winding gorge and surrounded by towering red cliffs. This unique two-story church of the Holy Mother of God is adorned with traditional Armenian ornaments, including a bas-relief of Father God blessing the Crucifixion and holding Adam's head. The grounds also feature khachkars created by the renowned artist Momik.
During the tour, we will also visit the Cave of Birds, where the world's oldest leather shoes, a skirt, and winery have been discovered.
Afterwards, it's time to indulge in the delicious flavors of Armenian wine. We will visit the village of Areni, known for its abundant wineries and its prized Areni grapes. You'll have the opportunity to take a guided tour and taste various wines at one of the local wineries.
Day 2 - Saturday
10:00 Garni, Geghard, bread baking (5-6 hours)
Discover the rich history and cultural heritage of Armenia with our 5-6 hour tour to Garni and Geghard. Our first stop is the magnificent Geghard Monastery, a 4th century holy site founded near a sacred spring in a cave. Renamed as Geghard, which means "spear", the monastery holds the legend of the Roman legionary's spear that was used to pierce Christ. The complex consists of the main church, two rock-cut churches, a vestibule, a chapel and the Church of the Holy Virgin. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the second level of the monastery is renowned for its impressive acoustics.
Next, we visit the Temple of Garni, the only surviving pagan monument in the region, dating back to the 1st century AD. After the adoption of Christianity, the temple was converted into a summer residence for Armenian kings and today you can see the remains of an ancient fortress, the royal palace and the royal bath with its colorful mosaics and mysterious inscription.
Finally, we take part in a traditional Armenian bread baking ceremony, where we bake and taste lavash bread. This craft is included in the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List.
Day 3 - Sunday
10:00 Etchmiadzin, Museum “Treasures of Etchmiadzin” Zvartnots (4-5 hours)
This journey will take you to the heart of Armenian spirituality, the Saint Ejmiatsin, where you will visit the Church of St. Hripsime, built on the site where St. Hripsime was martyred for spreading Christianity and refusing to marry King Trdat III. The church is a beautiful example of cruciform central-domed structures.
Next, we'll admire the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, one of the oldest Christian buildings in the world, founded in the 4th century after Christianity was adopted in Armenia. The cathedral serves as the spiritual center of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the residence of the Catholicos of All Armenians. However, the cathedral is currently closed for restoration, so we'll take a look from the outside.
Our tour will also include a visit to the "Treasures of Etchmiadzin" museum, which showcases unique holy relics, including St. Geghard and the relics of Noah's Ark, both housed in intricate reliquaries.
Before returning, we'll stop at the Temple of Zvartnots, a 7th century temple that was once the largest temple of early medieval Armenian architecture. Although it collapsed in an earthquake in the 10th century, its ruins were discovered in the early 20th century and are now a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
Day 4 - Monday
09:00 Haghpat monastery, Zarni-Parni complex, Akhtala fortress, Sanahin monastery (13-14 hours)
Join us on a journey to northern Armenia, where we'll explore two stunning monasteries - Haghpat and Sanahin - both listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Our first stop is at Haghpat Monastery, a complex situated on a plateau surrounded by breathtaking gorges. It was once partially used as a residence for the Catholicos of Armenians and was home to the famous poet Sayat-Nova for a period. The highlight of the visit is the magnificent three-tiered bell tower, built in 1245, with a seven-sided belfry rotunda.
Next, we'll visit the medieval cave complex Zarni-Parni, where guests can immerse themselves in the local culture and history through a restored complex of buildings, a vineyard, and a museum displaying exhibits of the local lifestyle.
Our journey continues to the majestic Akhtala Fortress, located on a high mountain plateau surrounded by deep gorges on three sides.
Finally, we'll end the tour at the Sanahin Monastery, a church complex dating back to the 10th-13th centuries. It was also a major center for scientific study, including a scriptorium where ancient spiritual and scientific books were copied.
Day 5 - Tuesday
Free time in the city. Transfer to the airport.
For an additional fee: Price - $35 per person.
09:00 Gyumri (Museum of Urban Life, Black Fortress, walk around the city), Harichavank Monastery (10-11 hours)
Join us on a journey to one of the most vibrant cities in Armenia, Gyumri, where ancient traditions are deeply ingrained in the local culture. Take a stroll through its historic streets and immerse yourself in the city's rich past. The sounds of the blacksmith's hammer and the strong voice of the phaeton and chaise makers are still palpable in the air. Marvel at the city's beautifully preserved residential buildings, a testament to its architectural prowess.
Our tour will start at the Museum of Urban Life and National Culture, where you'll gain a deeper understanding of the city's history, culture, and way of life. Afterwards, we'll visit the Black Fortress, a complex of military and architectural structures that served as a defense against invaders. You'll see the Alexandropol Fortress, with its three gates, the model of the St. Alexandra Church, and the northern and southern fortresses.
Lastly, we'll make our way to Harichavank Monastery, believed to have been established in the 7th century. During the 19th century, the monastery served as the summer residence of the Armenian Catholicoses. This visit is sure to be a spiritual and cultural highlight of your trip.
The price of the travel package for 1 person, in euros
* - Children up to 17 y.o.
Price for an additional night (per person, in euros)
* - Children up to 17 y.o.
All hotels are in the city center, category 3* and 4*.
The tour price includes: accommodation in hotels in the center of Yerevan with breakfast, tours according to the program, meals according to the program, airport-hotel-airport transfer, entrance tickets to museums and degustations (according to the program).
Additionally paid: air ticket, insurance, lunches and dinners not specified in the program.
The beginning of the excursions is in the center of Yerevan, within walking distance from all hotels.
ATTENTION!!!! The excursions will be conducted in Russian and English languages in parallel.
In case of booking additional nights, a free transfer is provided for arrival / departure.
All tours are for groups. Tours are served by comfortable transport. Meeting all tourists with a guide and starting tours - in the city center within walking distance from all hotels. During long tours (duration more than 6 hours) we make a stop at roadside restaurants where you can order lunch for yourself (the price for lunch is on average 3000-5000 drams or 7-10 euros).