Where on the earth can be observed and investigated the ancient miracles of the oldest civilizations if not in Armenia. A country which has a history of 12 millennia has much to offer from the times immemorial. Here you can became the traveler of the time train and appear at the meeting point of the real and the magic. Incredible investigations are waiting for you!
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Breakfast. Visit the History Museum of Armenia. The museum offers a broad overview of the history of Armenia, starting from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age, going to the eighth-seventh century BC, the great culture of the United Ararat Van-Urartu, the reign of Tigran the Great, reaches back to early Christian, to the history of the capitals of the Middle Ages and the tragic events of the Armenian Genocide. Lunch in a restaurant. Drive to Kotayk Region and visit Garni Pagan Temple.. In 77 BC in Garni was built by Armenian king Tiridates I and dedicated it to the god of light and cleanness Mihr; the we will visit the site of investigations with buildings of various ages, including the mammoth fortress Urartian (VIII century BC.) built by King Argishti I, the Roman baths of the third century AD with floor decorated with mosaics inspired by Greek mythology, the remains of the royal palace and the residence of the Catholicos, the foundations of the church tetraconch circular seventh century. Visit the Monastery of Geghard. It is an architectural complex partially carved into the rock. Here we can see the water inside the monastery by miraculous effects, identified by St. Gregory the Illuminator. The first excavated areas date back to the fourth century AD and later, in the twelfth century, was converted into a new, second room. In the thirteenth century, the church of Astvatsatsin was built, dedicated to the Holy Mother of God. In the evening return to Yerevan, to hotel, dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)
Breakfast. Drive to Metsamor. Not far from the present town, in the center of Ararat vally, upon a rock of volcanic origin, is the settlement of the fifth millennium BC called Metsamor, interesting archaeological site. We will visit the nearby Museum where many archeological finfing are preserved and represented after excavations of many years. The site is located on a hill near the homonymous river, about 35 kilometers from the capital. It dates back to the early Bronze Age (between the third and fourth millennium BC). In the Iron Age (around 1000 BC) on an area of about 10 hectares, there was a fortified town with huge walls and an observatory on the slopes of mountain. Here they were symbolic phallus-shaped stones at the age of Bronze (V-II millennium BC). Then we will visit Armavir the capital of Armenia during the V-VI cc. BC, when the dynasty Orontid Dynasty reasserted its independence from the Achaemenid. The capital was thriving and prosperous as demonstrated by the findings of obsidian tools and bronze objects. Over the centuries Armavir was linked to the Seleucid dynasty, the Parthians, the Roman Empire, the Sassanid and Byzantine Empireս. We will continue the tour to Ejmiatsin. Lunch. This city has always been a capital city and formerly it was called Vagharshapat, founded by King Vagharsh I Arshakuni in 117-136 BC. Now it is the spiritual place of utmost importance and patriarchal seat of the Catholicos, the supreme authority of the church for all Armenians around the world. The cathedral was built in 303 A.D. with the efforts of St. Gregory the Illuminator. Then we will visit Zvartnots and visit the magnificent cathedral palatine. Recognized World Heritage Site, the Site of Zvartnots was built between 643 and 652 AD by Katholikos Nerses III, said "the builder", where it was believed there had been a meeting between King Trdat III and Saint Gregory the Illuminator. The church plan is tetraconch circumscribed by an ambulatory turned, while the exterior, built on three levels, was a 32-sided polygon that, seen in the distance, was to appear circular. Between 1900 and 1907 were carried out systematic excavations that unearthed the foundations of the cathedral, the remains of the palace of the Catholicos. In evening return to Yerevan, dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)
Day 4: Yerevan – Dashtadem – Beniamin - Gyumri
Breakfast. Departure to Shirak Region. Visit the medieval fortress of Dashtadem. It was a famous fortress and summer residence of the Kamsarakan, as well as major shopping center currently under restoration and recovery. Visit Gyumri the second most important city after the capital. Gyumri was founded by Greek colonizers in the fifth century BC. In the nearby village of Beniamin ther is an important archaeological site of the Bronze Age and the period of Achemenidi. Then We will visit the village of Horom.Coming from Bronze Age, Horom was annexed to the United Ararat Van-Urartu. In the vicinity of the nearby town of Vardakar there are the remains of the imposing fortress built with the use of mammoth boulders of volcanic tuff roughly squared and dry places. On the southwest side of the fortress, not far from the citadel, lay the ruins of a large building surrounded by graves with tombstones. During the excavations many artifacts were found; such as arrows, iron weapons and bronze necklaces of the IX-VIII century AC. In the evening return and accommodation in hotel in Gyumri. Dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)
Day 5: Gyumri – Dilijan – Haghartsin Monastery – Sevan Lake
Breakfast. Drive to the Region of Tavush. Visit Dilijan the famosa resort area covered by forests and green hills, destination preferred by the inhabitants of the capital. Dilijan extends to the highlands terraced in full harmony with the surrounding nature and is bounded by the mountain ranges of Bazum and Pambak. Lunch. Visit the Monastery of Haghartsin. This monastic complex is composed of the eleventh century Church of St. Gregory, gavit (square room intended for civilian use and religious, dated to the twelfth or thirteenth century.), the Church of St. Step'anos, the Church of St. Greater Astvatzatzin (Holy Mother of God) and the refectory. During the visit we will discuss the work of recovery and restoration of complex. Then we will drive to Lake Sevan. Visit Sevanavank Monastery. Built in the ninth century, the monastery of Sevanavank is situated on a peninsula and is composed of two churches and the remains of auxiliary buildings and religious. You can admire khatchkars (memorial stones engraved typical art Armenian) adjacent to the religious buildings. Hotel accommodation in the night. Dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)
Day 6: Sevan - Lchashen - Selim Caravanserai – Jeghagis - Jermuk
Breakfast and transfer to the archaeological site of Lchashen which is situated in the north of Lake Sevan. The site of Ldchashen dates back to the third millennium BC. The excavations show that this site has been the bearer of te culture of pre-Urartian, early Bronze Age and the Roman period. We will visit in particular the typical tombs in the necropolis with funerary circle of stones. Drive to Selin Pass (2441 m above sea level) along the chain of mountains Gehama. Stop and visit the Selim Caravanserai. The caravanserai of Selim, dating from the thirteenth century, offered hospitality to many silk road travelers and is one of the best preserved in Armenia. Then we will drive to Vayots Dzor Province. Upon arrival, lunch in a restaurant. In village Jeghegis we will visit the church Zorats, unique example of military church dating back to the twelfth century. Then drive to Jermuk, another spa city in Armenia. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B/L/D)
Day 7: Jermuk – Karahunj - Ughtasar - Goris
Breakfast and departure for the Syunik region. Visit Karahundj (Armenian stonehenge); archaeological site and megalithic observatory near the town of Sissian, Karahundj is about 3500 years older than Stonehenge and 3000 years than Egyptian pyramids. The area expands on 7 acres at 1770 meters above sea level and consists of 40 stone steles erected to glorify God Ar, the Sun God. Each weighs about 10 tons. Lunch in a restaurant and departure for the Sacred Mountain of Ughtasar with off-road vehicles. Translated word for word it means “Pilgrimage Mountain”. It is at 3200 meters above sea level, on the stones placed around the lake there are beautiful graffiti. The engravings date back to 2000 BC and represent extraordinary fight scenes, hunting and settlements along the route of the river. Single incision that is the beginning of the world with stylized figures of Adam and Eve near the tree of sin and the serpent. At the end, transfer to Goris, dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B/L/D)
Breakfast and departure for the Region of Vayots Dzor Province. Along the spectacular canyon of Noravank, stop and visit the Cave of Trchnì Karandzav; there were found tanks from the beginning of the Bronze Age, which probably was used as a primitive winery. In fact, the whole area adjacent to the village of Areni (1200 meters above sea level) is still famous for the production of the wine. The canyon gets Amaghu Noravank. This splended architectural complex built in striking position on the spur of a platform placed under a rock in red. Amaghù Noravank is composed of the main church of St. Karapet (1221-1227), from gavit (1261), the church of St. Gregory (SurbGrigor, 1275) adjacent to the main building, and the church of the Holy Mother of God (SurbAstvatzatzin, 1339). Lunch in restaurant. Visit Khor Virap Monastery and the archaeological site of Artashat, the capital of the Armenian Kingdom of II era. KhorVirap Monastery (VIII-XVII century), said the "Deep Trench", preserves the underground cell of Saint Gregory, imprisoned by the will of King Tiridates and freed after 13 years befor the Adoption of Christianity. Artashat was founded by King Artashes between 189 and 188 BC. Plutarch and Strabo write that Hannibal, who fled from Artashes, helped with the founding of the city, recommending suitable place as the land between the rivers Metzamor and Araks. It was one of the glorious capital of Armenia, the center of Hellenistic culture and important emporium. During the reign of Tigranes II, Lucius Lucullus, after defeating Tigranakert in 69, pursued him until Artashat and sacked the city. Continue the tour to Dvin. The city was founded by Khosrov II in 335 BC. It became the capital, the seat of the dynasty of Arshakuni and patriarchal seat of Catholicos of Armenia. Cultural and commercial center of great international renown, Dvin was conquered by the Arabs in 640 AD. Up to Bagratuni Dynasty it was a lively and prosperous, despite frequent earthquakes and only in 1236, after the conquest of the Mongols, was finally destroyed and abandoned. Return to YEREVAN. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B/L/D)
Day 9: Departure
Breakfast and transfer to the Airport.
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