On arrival you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. After rest and early lunch, we have city tour. This will be the beginning of our archeological exploration of the capital – the most ancient layers of it. We will visit the newly excavated museum of an Urartian military commander from the 8th century in the South West of Yerevan. After this we will visit the State History Museum which will be the brief introduction of the history of Armenia. Here we will be taken to the restoration hall to observe how the experts reconstruct the isolated fragments of various articles found during excavations. We will conclude the day by visiting “Matenadaran” museum – one of the biggest depositories of ancient manuscripts in the world.
The whole day will be dedicated to the exploration of the ancient foundation of Yerevan. We will head towards the South Eastern part of the capital to explore the ancient foundation of the city of Yerevan at Erebuni. Here you will see the remains of Erebuni fortress. We will explore the extensive and impressive remains of Urartian King Argishti’s citadel, Erebuni, the birthplace of Yerevan. Erebuni, a massive structure of triangular form, was a large fortress consisting of a royal palace, an assembly hall with a colonnade of 60 columns, a temple dedicated to the god Haldi, an audience hall with contiguous living quarters, dormitories, and a string of storage rooms, all encompassed within protective ramparts consisting of three layers of powerful walls of massive basalt blocks. You will also be guided through the adjacent museum to find out more about the Urartian past.
Oshakan, a famous archaeological site with remains of 7th century excavations. After this we will drive up the mountain Aragats to the medieval Amberd fortress. We will cross a high mountain pass and enter a hidden wilderness of mountain pastures carpeted with multicolor flowers and broad valleys lined by snowy peaks. The way passes by a fast-running stream and spectacular mountains. We are more likely to meet a shepherd than to meet visiting walkers on the trails. If possible we will pause near tents of migratory shepherds to see the way of their life; life moves at a different pace here and it’s hard to re-enter the 21st century. Amberd fortress with its towers, embrasures and arches is situated on the high cliff, which was emerged due to the deep gorges of rivers Amberd and Arkashen. This site is situated at the altitude of 2300m above the sea level and provides an unforgettable opportunity for taking pictures and walking around the area admiring the amazing landscape.
This day we will start with the visit of Noratus village and marvel at one of Armenia’s most amazing sights – a field of 900 khachkars (“stone crosses”) representing the largest single collection in Armenia! Khachkars – monolithic monuments related to worship, are unique to medieval Armenian culture. These stone slabs, sometimes affixed to a base, always face east, and on the west side they contain intricate engravings of crosses. Next, following the ancient Silk Road, we will cross the Selim Pass. At the apex of the pass stands one of the few surviving, intact caravansaries in Armenia, and perhaps in the world, with a unique architecture. An Armenian inscription inside the vestibule indicates that the caravansary was built in 1332. Situated at a height of 2,410m, it affords wonderful views down the valley. Today’s tour also includes one of the jewels of Armenia – Noravank Monastery, situated on a ledge of bizarre shaped precipitous red cliffs, atop a deep winding gorge of a tributary of the Arpa River, in a stunning bedrock canyon.
We will start the day with the tour around the city of Gyumri. During this tour you will see the post-earthquake constructions side by side the old 19-century buildings. Later in the morning we will drive to Marmashen Monastery, an impressive 10th century monastic complex comprising four churches and the remains of a pre-Christian temple, many service buildings, and a 10th – 11th century bridge. The next stop will be the village of Beniamin, where we will explore the ruins of a palace of Achemenid period.
We will visit Gyumri Ethnographic museum. On the way back to Yerevan we will visit some interesting sites among them Mastara Church built in 7th century. According to popular etymology, Mastara derives its name from Gregory the Illuminator, who brought back from Caesaria the relics of John the Baptist, one fragment of which he enshrined beneath the church site: Mas (a piece) Tara (buried). We will also visit the big temple of Talin – a unique monument of Armenian Church architecture and belongs to three-nave vaulted type of basilicas. We will also drive to Aruch Cathedral. It is among the most celebrated monuments of Armenian architecture in the Middle Ages. According to manuscripts and wall inscriptions, those buildings were constructed during the years 670 to 680 by Prince Grigor Mamikonian, governor of Armenia. In the vicinity we will also see half-destroyed caravansary. It belongs to the three-nave caravansari type with one hall, that were built in Armenia in XIII-XIV cc
Transfer to airport and departure.
The price includes:
- Accommodation in double rooms (3* hotel in Yerevan );
- Transportation service according to the program;
- Full board in the best restaurants of Armenian cuisine;
- English speaking guide service;
- Entrance fees;
- Travel map of Armenia;