Tour overview

4 days/ 3 nights:

Yerevan – Gyumri – Khor Virap – Garni Temple – Geghard Monastery – Yerevan

*Dates are flexible


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Day 1/Arrival in Yerevan – Yerevan Sightseeing Tour – Ararat Brandy Factory

Meet and greet the group at the airport and transfer to the hotel. After hotel check-in we will have an unforgettable sightseeing tour in Yerevan. The capital city is one of the most ancient cities in the world with a rich history and incredible historical landmarks. The city is coeval with the Babylon, Nineveh and other ancient cities of the Mesopotamia. That is probably one of the reasons the city is referred as an “open-air museum”. During the sightseeing tour you will get acquainted with the city architecture and visit the main sights of the “Pink City”. Then we will have lunch at one of the best authentic Armenian restaurants in the heart of Yerevan. After lunch we will visit the legendary Ararat Brandy Factory of 1877, located right next to the Victory bridge (built during the WWII) at the entrance of the city. It is definitely a perfect place to try the renowned Armenian brandy/cognac, and even the beloved ones of Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, which is still producing. The tour will involve a walk through the factory, a brandy tasting, a guide on how to drink it, and interesting and historical information about their brand. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan. (-/-/-)

Day 2/Yerevan – Harichavank Monastery – Gyumri – The Black Fortress – Yerevan

After breakfast at the hotel (09:00) we head to Gyumri. Gyumri is a perfect destination for those travelers, who want to experience beautiful natural landscapes, historical architectural heritage and authentic local lifestyle. It is the second-largest city after Yerevan and it is considered to be the cultural capital of Armenia with a number of famous artists, poets, musicians, composers and sculptures originating from this beautiful city. Deserved to be mentioned that the city faced devastating consequences from the Spitak earthquake at the end of the 1980s, but through the perseverance of the people, its authentic architectural facades have been restored beautifully. Recently, the only Catholic Church in Armenia has been built here. The first stop of our full-day trip will be in Harich village, where we will get acquainted with the history of Harichavank Monastery. The monastery is one of the ancient medieval Armenian monastic centers and it was especially renowned for its school and scriptorium. In the 19th century Hraichavank used to be the summer residence of Armenian Catholicoses. The monastery is the jewel of Shirak Province. Here we will also visit the Theological Seminary, which is a noble institution where young priesthood-candidates are being trained to become future clergyman. Then we will continue to Gyumri, where we will visit one of the most attractive and a must visit museums – Dzitoghtsyan House-Museum of Social Life and National Architecture. The museum is located in the Kumayri historic district of Gyumri. Passing through the Kumayri district will definitely impress you with the cozy and charming streets that are full of hidden cafes and historical buildings from the 19th to 20 centuries that are made from rare volcanic black and red tuff rock. The city has very carefully preserved the old town of Gyumri, or Alexandrapol like it was called a hundred years ago, and of course, the elements of the daily urban life of the city. Then, paying a visit to Dzitoghyants, we will have a lunch in one of the best fish farm restaurants of Armenia, called “Cherkezi Dzor”. After lunch a nice walking tour through the streets of the colorful city, which will help you to discover the lifestyle of Gyumri people and feel the spirit of 19th century architecture. Gyumri is also considered to be the “Laughter and Humour Capital” of Armenia. The residents of Gyumri are famous for their unique sense of humor and hospitality. This is another land of cheerful people. Driving all the way up to the city we will visit the famous Black Fortress of 19th century, Built by Russian Emperor Nicholas I with black volcanic tuff. The fortress was initially built to protect Alexandropol from Persians and Turks from different times of Russian wars with those countries. Currently, it is a national cultural heritage monument, used as a cultural center, since the historic gem has an amphitheater inside where many concerts and events have been hosted. The Black Fortress of Gyumri is included in the list of intangible monuments of history and culture of the city. During this trip you can’t miss your chance to enjoy an unforgettable horse-drawn carriage ride through charming historical districts of Gyumri. Back, in older times, Gyumretsis used to travel through the city with “phaetons”, and it was an inseparable part of traditional weddings. You will be given free time for carriage ride and coffee before we return to Yerevan. Driving back to Yerevan. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan. (B/-/-)

Day 3/Yerevan – Khor Virap – Garni Temple – Geghard Monastery – Yerevan

After breakfast at the hotel (10:00) we will drive to Ararat Valley – a great place to admire the most picturesque and iconic views of the Holy Mount Ararat. While we are in the Ararat Province a visit to the Monastery of Khor Virap is a necessity. It is the one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Armenia, where the first Catholicos Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 13 years for spreading the light of Christianity in Armenia. After Khor Virap Monastery we will drive to Garni to explore the only standing Greco-Roman temple in the Caucasus region, to feel the breath of pre-Christian era and to admire the beauty of this fantastic ancient structure. The pagan temple was built in the 1st century by Tiridates I, as a worship place devoted to the god of sun along with king’s summer holiday residence. It is an outstanding example of Hellenistic culture in Armenia. Noteworthy to mention that next to the temple there are ruins of the Christian church from the 7th-century. In addition, the construction is recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Then we will have lunch at one of the best restaurants in Garni. Here we will participate in the preparation of “lavash” bread baking ceremony and taste the freshly baked traditional thin bread with some fresh greens and local cheese. Driving all the way down to the Garni Gorge, we will see one of the most underrated natural wonders, which is referred to as the “Symphony of the Stones” or the “Basalt Organ”. After the walk we will get amazed by the magnificence of the 13th century Geghard Monastery. The structure considered to be one of the most unique pieces of architecture in the world, as the monastery is built into the rocks of a mountain. The monastery was first recorded in a document of 1250. Geghard is famous due to the relics, among which the most important one is the spear which had wounded Christ on the Cross presumably brought there by the Apostle Thaddeus. Deserved to be mentioned that the Upper Azat Valley along with the temple and monastery, is included in a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. Driving back to Yerevan. Overnight in the city. Driving back to Yerevan. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan. (B/-/-)

Day 4/Departure

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport. Farewell. (B/-/-)

The rates include*
Accommodation at the hotel on a DBL basis
Meals BB
Transfer to/from Zvartnots International Airport
Transfers during the tours
Brandy factory tour, brandy testing 3 types
English speaking guide services on tour days
All entrance fees
A bottle of water per person per day
Maps of Armenia and Yerevan
24-hour service
The rates exclude*
Visa and visa documents’ related fees (if any)
All other services not mentioned above

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