THROUGH TIME

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Archaeological Tour (8 days, 7 nights)

Route: Yerevan (city sights, museums), Armavir region (Echmiadzin, Zvartnots) Kotayk region (Garni, Geghard), Ararat region (Khor Virap), Vayots Dzor region (gorge of Amaghu, cave Magel, Noravank, Areni village) Syunik region (Tatev, Goris, Karahunj, Old Khndzoresk), NKR – Shushi (Kazanchetsots fortress Shushi), Stepanakert, Martakert region (the village Vank, Gandzasar) Askerasnky region (Tigranakert, Mayraberd) Hadrut region (Azokh, village Toh, Gtchavank river, Ishkhanaget), Armenia – Syunik region (Selim Caravanserai), Yerevan (“Vernissage”)

Description

Day 1
 
 
Arrival at the international airport “Zvartnots”.
Meeting with representatives of the “Land of Noah”.
Transfer and accommodation at the hotel in Yerevan.
Lunch Time.
Guided Tour to Yerevan – Republic Square, Opera House, Victory Park.
A visit to one of the largest repositories of ancient manuscripts in the world Matenadaran.
Matenadaran – the pride of the Armenian culture, the world’s largest repository of ancient manuscripts. Chronological placement of exhibits was a national writing culture since the era of the emergence of writing until the XIX century. Matenadaran is of particular importance, and as an art museum, it has a unique collection of portrait paintings and arts and crafts that are associated with the art of manuscript: tissue samples, stamping on leather, metal and plastic, and jewelry.
A visit to the Cascade architectural complex.
The cascade is a kind of decoration of the city in the form of an original architectural composition. It is reminiscent to the huge multi-tiered pyramid of the Babel Grand Cascade – a system of huge staircases, a beautiful valley lies in the city connecting the center and residential area, located high in the mountains. All in all it looks like a spectacular modernist sculpture of gigantic proportions. Huge staircases with fountains ascend the hill, crowned with an obelisk signifying a Restored Armenia.
The old population of the Armenian highlands was there to mine precious metals in II millennium BC. One example of this – is the mention of the mines in the country in ancient manuscripts, as well as – the analysis of archaeological finds indicating the chemical composition of many objects, some of which are made of mined gold.
Today, the visitors of the National History Museum (Yerevan), Echmiadzin Museum and Ethnographic Museum (Sardarapat) can see collections of precious utensils (dishes, lamps, and sets), ornaments and all kinds of items of clothing.
The State Museum of the History of Armenia was founded in 1921 and is part of the Museum complex on the Republic Square, occupying the first two floors. A museum collection of approximately 400,000 exhibits. This exhibition covers the entire history of the Armenian people – from the time of primitive society to the present day.
The museum displays artifacts found during excavations of monuments from different eras – things of Armenian culture from the Paleolithic age to the end of the XIX century, tools of the primitive man, weapons and utensils from the Urartu and other Armenian states, sculpture, jewelry, handicraft products as well from various historical regions of Armenia. The museum has a rich library (about 50,000 volumes), many of which are unique editions: among them – the first printed book “Urbatagirk” (“Friday Book”), published in 1512 in Venice.
Welcome dinner at a restaurant with a folk music program.
And an evening walk in the center of Yerevan.

Return to the hotel. Overnight.
 
 
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Day 2
 
 
Breakfast at the hotel.
Echmiadzin – the spiritual center of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the residence of the Catholicos of All Armenians.
Museum – a treasure trove of the Holy Etchmiadzin.
The museum’s collection is rich in Echmiadzin monastery church utensils: There are tabernacles (the most ancient of which belongs to the XIII century), scepters, chalices, censers.
The museum houses the relics of the saints of the church, the most valuable of these is the spear that pierced Christ’s body, a fragment of Noah’s Ark, the patella of John the Baptist, a particle of the wood of the Cross on which Jesus was crucified, finally, a fragment of the crown of thorns of the Savior.
You will see church accessories of historical and artistic value – apparel, embroidered with gold and pearls, crosses and staffs of the Catholicos; ritual objects made of gold, silver and ivory, decorated with filigree and precious stones. There are rare antique coins and ancient manuscripts. An interesting seat that belonged to the Catholicos of the XVII century, decorated with pearls, ivory, silver cast heads and paws of lions.
On the territory of the cloister two ancient cross-stones deserve special attention.
“Khachkar” so called cross-stones, were installed in the honor of all major events. One cross-stone was carved in the XIII century, the other in the XVII century. Both are covered with complex patterns, images of animals and birds.
Lunch at local restaurant.
Return to Yerevan and visit to the Brandy Factory “Ararat” and tasting.
Evening walk to the “singing fountain”.
Return to the hotel.
Dinner. Overnight.
 
 
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Day 3
 
 
Breakfast at the hotel.
A trip to the cave monastery of Geghard – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On the slope of an almost closed amphitheater of steep cliffs, surrounded by the harsh and majestic nature is the monastery of Geghard or Gehardavank, famous for its rocky architecture. An indicator of the path to it is the figure of a lioness on a high pedestal in a sharp turn on the road, which suddenly overlooks the monastery.
The monastery complex is actually carved out of granite monolith rocks. But only half of it. The deep rocky mountain gorge Geghard is covered with natural grottos and caves, which served as the ancient monastic cells of the monastery.
The monastery was founded (allegedly) in the IV century by the first Catholic Armenian – Gregory the Illuminator, and it was originally named Ayrivank.
The rich decoration of churches and cells, artfully decorated with ornaments and carvings, tombs of members of aristocratic families and other masterpieces of underground architecture, brought Geghard the well-deserved reputation of being one of the most significant monuments of human history, listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
In the small village of Garni, which is widely spread out along the gorge at the bottom of which flows a small river Azat is a real archaeological complex, organized under the title of Garni.
These include the ruins of a fortress with once mighty walls, the remains of the palace complex, typical Roman baths with a preserved ancient mosaic on the floor and, of course, the temple, which worshiped the sun god Mithras.
Garni Temple – the only surviving monument in Armenia belonging to the era of paganism and Hellenism.
The fortress of Garni – one of the most vivid evidences of the centuries-old culture of the pre-Christian period in Armenia. It is located in a picturesque mountain setting, offering fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. It was founded in the II – III centuries BC. In the foundation the remains of the walls of a fortress of the Bronze Age were discovered. This is followed by a more recent masonry (first half of the III century BC). The top row of the wall consists of masonry that refers to the I century AD.
Lunch in the village of Garni.
Return to Yerevan.
Evening walk in the city center.
Return to the hotel.
Dinner. Overnight.
 
 
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Day 4
 
 
Breakfast at the hotel.
Departure with luggage.
Excursion to the monastery of Khor Virap, which offers one of the most beautiful views of the biblical Mount Ararat.
This fortress monastery is a place of pilgrimage, one of the most revered places of Armenia, sacred to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The monastery was built in the period from the VI to the XVII century, over the dungeon, where the Baptist St. Gregory the Illuminator was languishing in prison for the spread of Christianity, until king Tradt decided to adopt this as a state religion. The dungeon where the holy man suffered, was the royal dungeon (“Khor Virap” – “deep hole”). According to legend, St. Gregory the Illuminator was in the pit for 13 years.
In the monastery of Khor Virap is located the Seminary and the residence of the Armenian Catholicos. From the monastery you can see most beautiful view of the biblical Mount Ararat and the entire Ararat valley.
Then we head to the south of Armenia, to the Noravank monastery complex (XIII c.).
The beautiful Noravank monastery complex was built on the narrow ledge that winds the gorge of the Arpa River near the town of Yeghegnadzor. The gorge is famous for its steep red cliffs, towering behind the monastery. Noravank, thanks to the magnificent creations of medieval architects and its location in the beautiful landscape, leaves a lasting impression. In 2002 the church was completely restored and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Nearby is the Cave of Birds, in which recently the world’s oldest leather shoe and winery were found.
Wine tasting in the cellar.
Lunch Time.
A trip to the Tatev monastery complex on the longest cable car in the world “Wings of Tatev” – 5.7 km from the settlement of Halidzor.
The pearl of medieval Armenian architecture, the Tatev monastery was built in the IX-XIII centuries.
Silent, as if hovering over the surrounding mountains Tatev is very impressive. A maze of narrow passages leading from the spacious rooms to a series of rooms with unknown destinations, standing out from the dark outlines of niches are stone staircases, arched doorways to nowhere, coming to the edge of a breathtaking – as if the earth was slipping from under you abyss – somewhere far below the river roars, surrounded by and enveloped by velvet green hills.
The Syunik region located in the southern part of Armenia is the largest and most picturesque in the territory of Armenia. It is decorated with wonderful landscapes created by a chain of Zangezur Mountains. The area is rich in alpine meadows, dense forests, caves and rivers.
Syunik is the most densely populated region of Armenia.
And Goris – one of the most beautiful cities in Armenia with charming architecture, beautiful landscape and a distinctive flavor.
Dinner. Overnight in Goris.
 
 
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Day 5
 
 
Breakfast.
Departure with luggage.
A trip to the megalithic structures of Karahunj – Zorats Karer.
In the Syunik region, near the town of Sisian, is one of the most famous megalithic structures of Armenia “Zorats Karer” – a prehistoric monument consisting of hundreds of vertically set 2 meter large stones “menhirs” with holes in the top. It is located on a plateau at an altitude of 1770 m above sea level and covers an area of 7 hectares on the left bank of the river gorge Dar, a tributary of the river Vorotan. The Menhirs stretch from the south to the north.
Researchers have concluded that the monument had a triple purpose:

  1. As a temple of Ara (the Sun) chief god of the ancient Armenians
  2. As an observatory, equipped with stone tools to make measurements with an accuracy of 30 arc seconds.
  3. As a university monument built over 7500 years ago (3500 years before Stonehenge) and operated for 5500 years.

Excursion to the cave town Old Khndzoresk, lying on the slope of a mountain gorge.
Arrival in Artsakh.
Karabakh – Artsakh has been inhabited since time immemorial. This is evident not only by architectural monuments, but also traces of different cultures and tribes, on the basis of which the Armenian people were formed. Artsakh gives an opportunity to literally touch the origins of the history of the Armenian people.
In the summer months archaeological expeditions work in many parts of Karabakh and they offer the opportunity to observe Artsakh as an ancient land with a lot more puzzles in store to reveal their secrets.
The amazing ruins of the ancient history of the Armenian people that can be called barrows (beg. Of the 1st millennium BC.), have been excavated by archaeologists in the walled city of Shusha the pearl of Karabakh. Not far from Shusha are the fortresses of Karkar and Shosh, in which also excavations were carried out
City tour of Shushi.
The city of Shushi is located on the inaccessible stone plateau. It has been inhabited since ancient times, but a full-fledged castle was founded here in the XVIII century. Then the city became the capital of the Karabakh khanate, and later, in the XIX century, with the arrival of the Russian crown – the center of the same district and a major cultural and economic hub of all the Caucasus. The rapid economic growth of the early twentieth century stimulated an urban development boom that has defined the unique architectural face of the city. This intimate flavor in the form of old houses, cobbled streets, arches, springs and squares is still present in the city. Shushi – a place with a unique energy.
Moving to the city of Stepanakert.
Check in at hotel.
Dinner. 
Overnight.

 
 
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Day 6
 
 
Breakfast at the hotel.
Excursion to the Ethnographic Quarter and the Museum of Nikol Duman.
A trip to the monastery of Gandzasar (X c.).
For residents of Artsakh the monument that symbolizes folk wisdom and centuries of Christian tradition, is Gandzasar (Treasure Mountain) Monastery, it sits on a high hill on the left bank of the river Khachen. If only there was a way to describe the Gandzasar monastery – “the greatest miracle of Armenian architecture”, “church-like dome temple of heaven,” “the perfect creation”, but the human language is powerless in describing this truly grand spectacle. Construction of the monastery was began in 1216 and completed in 1238.
A trip to the Askeran fortress (Mayraberd) at the southern edge of the town of Askeran.
Askeran fortress, with majestic walls of which can be seen fourteen kilometers east of Stepanakert, on the way to the historical and cultural reserve “Tigranakert”, it was built in the middle ages. In the 18th century it underwent a major renovation and acquired its present form. It has a wall thickness of up to 2 meters and a height of up to 9 meters, with round watch towers connected by narrow corridors. Within the walls are battlements. The walls can be climbed through vertical passages. This outpost of Karabakh played a major role in protecting the region from the Tatar rioters during the Armenian-Tatar clashes in 1905-06 and from Turkish invaders in 1918-20. The defenses stretch for more than 1.5 km on both sides of the river Karkar.
Visiting the excavations of the ancient city of Tigranakert founded by Tigran II in the I century BC. and a museum dedicated to the study, and preservation of artifacts unearthed from Tigranakert’s ruins.
One of the most significant archaeological monuments was founded in the Hellenistic period (1century BC), by the Armenian king Tigran the Great (95-55 BC) in the city of Tigranakert.
Tigranakert at the time (the city existed since the middle ages) was a flourishing and lively settlement, which played an important role in the life of the region.
Visitors will be able to see and walk the streets not only of the Karabakh Pompeii – Not far from Tigranakert a Christian monastery wes found, which used to be a pagan temple, later turned into a church (this church was founded in the middle of the 1 century AD and is one of the oldest on the planet).
Next to Tigranakert are very well preserved castles. From the 18th Century Shahbulah and on a mountaintop above Tigranakert is located the Vankasar monastery from the 6-7th centuries. All these monuments are included in the reserve “Tigranakert”.
Return to Stepanakert.
Dinner.Overnight.
 
 
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Day 7
 
 
Breakfast at the hotel.
Excursion to the Ethnographic Quarter and the Museum of Nikol Duman.
A trip to the monastery of Gandzasar (X c.).
For residents of Artsakh the monument that symbolizes folk wisdom and centuries of Christian tradition, is Gandzasar (Treasure Mountain) Monastery, it sits on a high hill on the left bank of the river Khachen. If only there was a way to describe the Gandzasar monastery – “the greatest miracle of Armenian architecture”, “church-like dome temple of heaven,” “the perfect creation”, but the human language is powerless in describing this truly grand spectacle. Construction of the monastery was began in 1216 and completed in 1238.
A trip to the Askeran fortress (Mayraberd) at the southern edge of the town of Askeran.
Askeran fortress, with majestic walls of which can be seen fourteen kilometers east of Stepanakert, on the way to the historical and cultural reserve “Tigranakert”, it was built in the middle ages. In the 18th century it underwent a major renovation and acquired its present form. It has a wall thickness of up to 2 meters and a height of up to 9 meters, with round watch towers connected by narrow corridors. Within the walls are battlements. The walls can be climbed through vertical passages. This outpost of Karabakh played a major role in protecting the region from the Tatar rioters during the Armenian-Tatar clashes in 1905-06 and from Turkish invaders in 1918-20. The defenses stretch for more than 1.5 km on both sides of the river Karkar.
Visiting the excavations of the ancient city of Tigranakert founded by Tigran II in the I century BC. and a museum dedicated to the study, and preservation of artifacts unearthed from Tigranakert’s ruins.
One of the most significant archaeological monuments was founded in the Hellenistic period (1century BC), by the Armenian king Tigran the Great (95-55 BC) in the city of Tigranakert.
Tigranakert at the time (the city existed since the middle ages) was a flourishing and lively settlement, which played an important role in the life of the region.
Visitors will be able to see and walk the streets not only of the Karabakh Pompeii – Not far from Tigranakert a Christian monastery wes found, which used to be a pagan temple, later turned into a church (this church was founded in the middle of the 1 century AD and is one of the oldest on the planet).
Next to Tigranakert are very well preserved castles. From the 18th Century Shahbulah and on a mountaintop above Tigranakert is located the Vankasar monastery from the 6-7th centuries. All these monuments are included in the reserve “Tigranakert”.
Return to Stepanakert.
Dinner.Overnight.
 
 
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Day 8
 
 
Breakfast in the hotel.
Visiting the “Vernissage” Fair, where you can buy gifts, souvenirs, jewelry and other handicrafts made of wood, semi-precious stones, silver and other materials.
No matter what city you’re in, you will want to bring a piece of it home. And you would want to bring more from an amazing, colorful country like Armenia. Selecting a souvenir from Armenia is a very exciting exercise.
Visiting the Oriental market.
Lunch Time.
Free time, depending on the time of departure.
Transfer to the airport.
Departure from Yerevan.
 

The price includes:

  • All transfers (In comfortable modern minibuses);
  • Staying at the hotel (accommodation in double rooms);
  • Full board: Breakfast (hotel), lunch, dinner (restaurant / menu); and drinks – coffee, tea, water are available on request throughout the trip;
  • Excursions in the program with a professional guide;
  • All entrance fees (museums, galleries, participation in various events);
  • Entry to the Nagorno – Karabakh Republic (Artsakh);
  • During the trip you will be accompanied by a group representative of the
    “Land of Noah”.

The price does not include:

  • Insurance;
  • Personal and other expenses not covered by the program (souvenirs);
  • Airplane ticket (we can help you find the best and most convenient ticket);

Notes:

  • Excursion program first and last days, will depend on the time of your arrival and departure, as well as days of the week;
  • If you wish, you can choose any other hotel in Stepanakert;
  • The tour can be started from any desired address in Yerevan;

At 6 people the price of the tour per person will be €1315, when there are less than 6 people, the price per person will increase – when there are more than 6 people the price per person will be lowered.

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