Caucasus 12 days

Caucasus is a small, unique island in the world, which stands out with its traditions, culture, hospitality, warm atmosphere, special cuisine and kind, smiling people. Come to see the harmonic coexistence of the ancient and modern, the old and the new.  Here you can be the witness of virgin nature, wild animal world and observe things that only this region has in the world. You think you have been to everywhere? Do not be that sure unless you have put a foot in Caucasus.

  • Day 1. Baku
    Arrival, check in at the hotel. Free time. Overnight in Baku
  • Day 2. Baku - Absheron Peninsula
    Breakfast at the hotel. Visit the building of Philharmonic and have a walk along Istiglaliyyat avenue, that is a main monument of 19th century architecture during the First Oil Boom, finishing with the elegant Saadat Palace – a building with very beautiful and sad story of love. The excursion continues with the visit to the Nobles residence in Baku and to the National History Museum which was the residence of Zeynalabdin Taghiyev. Zeynalabdin Taghiyev (1838-1924). Drive to White City and Heydar Aliyev Center. Heydar Aliyev Center is a cultural center, projected as a complex structure that includes the Auditorium (convention center), a museum, exhibition halls, and administrative offices. Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre is considered to be one of the symbols of modern Baku. City tour ends with a visit to the Upland Park.Upland Park is located on a hill in the western part of the city. This is the best place to see the city and the Baku Bay. Coming up next on the program the guests will be able to stroll at the Baku promenade (Boulevard), which is one of the attractions of Baku as well. It is a favorite vacation spot for Baku citizens and guests of the city. In 2009 the Boulevard celebrated its 100 anniversary. After the walk guests return to the hotel. Overnight in Baku.
  • Day 3. Baku – Shamaha – Sheki
    Breakfast at the hotel. Check out. Today we will travel west to town of Sheki. En route we visit the Diri Baba Mausoleum in Maraza and the Yeddi Gumbaz Mausoleum at Shamakha. We continue across the Muganly Pass, with great views of the mountains along the way. An important centre on the Trans-Caucasian trade routes, it was an independent khanate up until the 1820s and evidence of its former grandeur is not hard to spot. The splendid Khan’s Palace was built in 1762 without the use of any nails and is elaborately decorated with ornate patterns on its exterior. There are also a number of old caravanserais and mosques to explore. Sheki is a delight to wander around, with winding streets and traditional houses giving the feeling of yesteryear. Overnight in Sheki
  • Day 4. Transfer to Azerbaijan-Georgia border - Gremi - Tsinandali - Sighnaghi - Tbilisi
    Breakfast at the hotel. Check-out. Transfer to Lagodekhi border. Meet with Georgian guide and driver. Visit the Gremi Monastery the 16th century architectural monument – the royal citadel and the Church of the Archangels – in Kakheti. Afterwards drive to Tsinandali and visit house museum of Prince Aleksandre Chavchavadze, with beautiful garden and wine cellar, where we will taste 5 sorts of wine. It was the place where Chavchavadze frequently entertained foreign guests with music, wit, and – most especially – the fine vintages made at his estate winery (marani). Familiar with European ways, Chavchavadze built Georgia’s oldest and largest winery where he combined European and centuries-long Georgian winemaking traditions. The highly regarded dry white Tsinandali is still produced there. In the evening visit the Sighnaghi city. Finally drive to Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi.
  • Day 5: Tbilisi tour
    After breakfast have Tbilisi city tour. We will visit the Old Tbilisi Sulfur Baths, Georgian Orthodox and Armenian Gregorian churches, Jewish synagogue, also, Turkish mosque side by side, reflecting city’s acceptance and tolerance of different religions. We can also see a recent monument - Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the Caucasus; Metekhi Church, which is erected on the cliff, overlooking the Mtkvari River; Narikala fortress, established in the fourth century. Walk downtown and discover Shardeni Street with its fashionable cozy cafes and art galleries. Walking we will come across the Anchiskhati church, the oldest church in Tbilisi keeping the miraculous icon of Jesus Christ. Finally, the tour takes you to Rustaveli Avenue, where attractions, such as the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Parliament, Rustaveli Theatre, different art galleries and cafes, will draw your attention and provide a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Overnight in Tbilisi hotel.
  • Day 6: Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Uplistsikhe - Tbilisi
    After breakfast drive to Mtskheta (UNESCO Heritage), an ancient capital of the Georgian Kingdom. Tour includes following sights: Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, a life-giving pillar - Cathedral of 11th century - magnificent, both inside and outside, the Cathedral is an important piece of Christian history, as it is a place, where Christ’s robe was buried. Jvari Church – 6th century monastery - Jvari, or the Holy Cross Church, stands where a sacred wooden cross was erected in the 4th century by St Nino before she converted Mtskheta to Christianity. Afterwards visit Uplistsikhe, "the lord's fortress", which is an ancient rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia. Built on a high rocky left bank of Mtkvari River, it contains various structures dating from the 2nd ML BC to the Late Middle Ages, and is notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures. Finally return back to Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi hotel.
  • Day 7: Tbilisi – Ananuri - Kazbegi – Tbilisi
    After breakfast drive to Kazbegi. A stunning drive from Gudauri along the Tergi River will bring us to Kazbegi – the main town in the region. On the way, we visit Ananuri Castle and Jinvali water reservoir of amazing beauty. En route stop and see different local hand made things (thick felt, embroidery, iconographic painting). From Kazbegi we drive by 4X4 cars to Gergeti Trinity Church located at 2170m. Weather permitting you may catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – Mt Kazbegi (5047m). Finally return back to Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi hotel.
  • Day 8: Tbilisi - Sadakhlo Border /11:00 /- Haghpat – Sevan - Yerevan
    After breakfast drive to the Armenian border Sadakhlo. Border formalities, transport and guide change. Continue the tour in Armenia. We will visit Haghpat monastery which is UNESCO world heritage site. It is located on an uneven plateau, separated by a deep crack formed by a small river that flows into the river Debed. Haghpat Monastery was one of the largest religious, cultural and educational centers of medieval Armenia. We will drive to Lake Sevan which is one of the largest lakes in the world. It stands out with its sweet and astonishingly blue water. Here we can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the beautiful lake. Another surprise is expected for our tourists; we will have a cruise in Lake Sevan and take the chance to admire the beauty of blue pearl of Armenian highland. Then we will visit Sevanavank Monastery which is situated on Sevan Peninsula. There are 2 monasteries actually; one of them is destroyed but the other stands still. They have been built in the middle Ages; around 10th century. After here we will drive to Yerevan. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
  • Day 9: Yerevan – Ejmiatsin – Zvartnoc – Yerevan City tour
    Breakfast. We will start the excursion to centuries-old monuments Ejmiatsin and Zvartnots. These sites are listed on UNESCO World Heritage list. Zvartnots Temple was built in 7th century by Nerses Builder Catholicos. Our next step is the spiritual center of Armenia: Ejmiatsin. The Cathedral of Ejmiatsin, founded in 303, is the official residence of the Catholicos of Armenia. We will also visit the museum of Ejmiatsin where a small part of Noah’s ark is kept. After all get back to Yerevan We will start the tour in the capital of Armenia: Yerevan. For ages this city has been known as a “pink city” because of the color of the stone it has been built with. So we will visit Republic square, Mashtoc Avenue, the House of Opera and Ballet after Aram Khachatryan, the park “Cascad”. Then we will visit the Manuscript Museum of Armenia, which is called Matenadaran; here all ancient Armenian Manuscripts are kept. Then we should visit Genocide Memorial known as Tsitsernakaberd. Overnight in the hotel.
  • Day 10: Yerevan - Khor Virap– Noravank – Yerevan
    Breakfast. Take trip to Khor Virap Monastery (4-18th cc.). This monastery is very prominent because of its history; Gregory the Illuminator, who introduced Christianity to Armenia, has been imprisoned there about 13 years as at that time there was a prison in the place of the monastery. Here we can enjoy the spectacular view of the sacred Ararat Mountain - an immortal symbol of Armenia. After here we will continue our tour to Armenian Wine Village Areni. This village is very famous with its red wine. Visit the wine factory of the village where we will have wine degustation. Noravank - a monastery of XII century situated among amazing sheer rocks on the bench of a twisty gorge. This is the only monastery where we may find a unique sculpture of Father God. In Noravank we will have a meeting with the priest who will tell you about the religious life and traditions of Armenia. Get back to Yerevan. Overnight at hotel.
  • Day 11: Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Yerevan
    Breakfast. Take trip to Garni. This Pagan Temple built in the 1st century AD. It is the only temple that has been preserves from the Pagan times in Armenia. It was devoted to the god Mihr, who was the god of cleanness. In 1679 it was destroyed by earthquake. In the 1975 the Temple was restored. Then we will continue our trip to Geghard Monastery. Its name came from the legendary lance that was used to pierce the body of Christ. It has been kept here for centuries. Though the exact foundation of the monastery is unknown, the present complex was built in the mid – 13th century. Afterwards we will a local house where you will have the chance to see and participate in the preparation of Armenian national bread: lavash. It is a very thin, usually sold in very large forms. It is usually cooked in a ground oven: “tonir''. In 2015 it has been inscribed in UNESCO intangible heritage list. Here we will enjoy the “Armenian fast food” with lavash and cheese. We can also participate in this process and take a memory with us. Get back to Yerevan. Visit Ararat Brandy Fatory in Yerevan to get acquinted with the old traditions of Armenian Cognak. Overnight at hotel.
  • Day 12 Departure
    Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport.
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