Treasures of Caucasus - Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan
day 1 -
Arrival - Тransfer to the Hotel - Garni - Geghard - Arch of Charents Meeting at the airport. Transfer to the Hotel. Check-in. Take trip to Garni. This Pagan Temple was built in the Ist century AD. It is the only temple that remains from the Pagan times in Armenia. It was devoted to the God of the Sun Mihr, and was a gift to the queen. In 1679 it was destroyed by earthquake. In the 1975 the Temple was restored. Lavash(Armenian Bread) baking ceremony and degustation. This traditional flatbread is made with flour, water, and salt, and its thickness depends on how thinly it’s rolled out. Toasted sesame or poppy seeds — or both — are sometimes then sprinkled on top before baking. Traditionally, the dough is rolled out flat and slapped against the hot walls of a clay oven where it then cooks. Watch a demonstration on how lavash is made and take the opportunity to try your hand at preparing and baking it. Then, once it’s ready, enjoy a tasting: savoring it with local cheese and green vegetables. We will continue our trip to Geghard a medieval monastery being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the main chapel was built in 1215, the monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. The whole complex is awash with detailed sculptures, cliffside monks’ cells, and many striking stone crosses (khachkars), elaborately etched into the rock faces. Afterward you will see Charents Arch that is located on the road to Garni and is used as a spectacular place to view Mt. Ararat and its valley. Back to Yerevan. Overnight.
day 2 -
Tsaghkadzor Ropeway - Lake Sevan – Sevanavank -Dilijan - Haghartsin Breakfast at the Hotel. Take trip to Tsaghkadzor Resort where you can enjoy cable car and the picturesque views and colors of nature. Next stop in Lake Sevan; the largest lake in Armenia and the Caucasus region. It is one of the largest freshwater high- altitude lakes in the world. Lake Sevan is situated in the central part of the Republic of Armenia, in the Gegharkunik Province, at the altitude of 1,900 m (6,200 ft) above sea level. The total surface area of its basin is about 5,000 km2 (1,900 sq mi), the lake itself is 940 km2, and the volume is 34.0 billion m3. It is fed by 28 rivers and streams. Here we will visit Sevanavank, a monastic complex located on a peninsula at the northwestern shore of Lake Sevan. Heading to Dilijan. Dilijan usually is called Little Switzerland by the locals. Mild climate and gorgeous nature made this town well known as a beautiful resort – but you won’t be indifferent either to the ancient part of the city, full of monasteries, situated deep in mountain forests – like Hagartsin. Haghartsin Monastery (13th-century) located near the town of Dilijan. It was built between the 10th and 13th centuries (in the 12th under Khachatur of Taron); much of it under the patronage of the Bagratuni Dynasty. Overnight in Dilijan.
day 3 -
Goshavank Monastery - Armenian-Georgian Border - Tbilisi Breakfast at the Hotel. Take trip to Goshavank which is a 12th- or 13th-century Armenian monastery located in the village of Gosh. Goshavank was erected in the place of an older monastery once known as Nor Getik, which had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1188. Mkhitar Gosh, a statesman, scientist and author of numerous fables and parables as well as the first criminal code, took part in the rebuilding of the monastery. At Goshavank, Mkhitar Gosh founded a school. One of its alumni, an Armenian scientist by the name of Kirakos Gandzaketsi wrote The History of Armenia. The architect Mkhitar the Carpenter and his disciple Hovhannes also took an active part in the building of the monastery. The complex was later renamed Goshavank and the village named Gosh in his honor. The monastery of Haghartsin, together with Goshavank, may become part of a natural site based on the state protected area of Dilijan National Park, an important forest in north-eastern Armenia. Transfer to Armenian-Georgian Border and after to Tbilisi.
day 4 -
Mtskheta - Jvari Church - Narikala Fortress Breakfast at the Hotel. Take trip to the first capital of Georgia - Mtskheta, which is referred to as town-museum. Entire Mtskheta has been listed in the cultural heritages of UNESCO. The tour will start at Jvari church (VI c.), situated on a hilltop at the confluence of the river Kura and Aragvi. Afterwards the group will visit Svetitskhoveli Patriarchal Cathedral (VI-XI cc). This cathedral is known as the burial site of Christ's mantle and has long been the principal Georgian cathedral and remains to be one of the most venerated places of worship till present days. After visiting the cathedral the group will return to Tbilisi and have an excursion in the historical district of Old Tbilisi, where history of the city started 17 centuries ago. The excursion starts from Anchiskhati Church and continues by visiting Sioni Cathedral, also Chardin and other pedestrian streets around. The tour will continue by car/bus and visitors will see famous Georgian sulfur baths which are situated side by side with Georgian, Armenian and catholic churches as well as Muslim mosque and Jewish synagogue. This is a great confirmation, how tolerant Georgian capital is. The next spot to visit will be the Metekhi church and the statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali – the founder of Tbilisi. Our guests will go up the mountain using cable car to visit Mother of Georgia Monument and Narikala Fortress, which is a solemn symbol of Tbilisi defensive brilliance. From the top of the mountain one can enjoy magnificent view of the whole city that lies right in front of spectators. Guests will have free time for buying souvenirs and then return to the hotel. Overnight in Tbilisi.
day 5 -
Kazbegi - Аnanuri Fortress - Gudauri Breakfast at the Hotel. In the morning you will start a trip along the famous Georgian Military Road to Kazbegi. The Georgian Military Road is the historic name of the main route from Georgia to Russia through the Caucasus. This road is famous for its gorgeous and fascinating landscapes. The road goes up along the river of Aragvi. You will stop at Ananuri castle complex. It is an elegant and glorious example of Georgian military architecture. The complex consists of towers, castle walls, churches and a belfry. Ananuri is dated XV-XVII and was a castle and seat of the Eristavi (Dukes of Aragvi) a dynasty that ruled the area. Then you will continue your journey and having passed Gudauri – famous ski resort, you will arrive to Kazbegi (Stepantsminda). Having gone up the mountain that opposes Kazbegi (by off-road vehicle) you will see the main landmark of the area St. Trinity church. The church was built in XIV and is the most sacred place in that area. This marvelous church is the only central dome temple in highlands of Georgia. Return to Tbilisi. Overnight.
day 6 -
Transfer to Baku - City tour Breakfast at the Hotel. Transfer to Baku - the capital of Azerbaijan. Check-in. City tour (evening tour) Baku is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, alongside the Bay of Baku. Officially, about 25 percent of all inhabitants of the country live in Baku's metropolitan area. Baku is the sole metropolis in Azerbaijan. Visiting: Old city, Upland Park, Boulevard, Short walk in Nizami Street or Fountain Square. Upland Park is a public park located at 3014 Jefferson Street in South Omaha, Nebraska. The park and surrounding neighborhood were opened in 1913. It has two tennis courts, two soccer fields, walking paths, and a small playground at the park, along with a 'spray ground,' which is a small water park. The spray ground replaced a swimming pool located at the park for several decades during a park-wide renovation in 1999. Nizami Street is a large pedestrian and shopping street in downtown Baku, Azerbaijan, named after classical poet Nizami Ganjavi. The street's history could be traced back to Baku's town-planning project of 1864. The street runs through the city's downtown from west to east. It begins from Abdulla Shaig Street, in the mountainous part of the city and ends at railroad bed on Sabit Orujov Street, near a monument to Shah Ismail Khatai in “Black City”. The total length of the street is 3,538 m. The traffic-free segment, which begins at the Fountains Square and ends at the Rashid Behbudov Street, is commonly known as Torgovaya ('the merchant street' in Russian). Overnight in Baku.
day 7 -
Gobustan - Mud volcanoes - Ateshgah temple - Yanar Dag Breakfast at the Hotel. Visit: Gobustan Historical Preserve – UNESCO World Heritage, the oldest human settlement in Baku. Gobustan State Reserve is very rich in archeological monuments, the reserve has more than 6,000 rock carvings, which depict primitive people, animals, battle-pieces, ritual dances, bullfights, boats with armed oarsmen, warriors with lances in their hands, camel caravans, pictures of sun and stars, on the average dating back to 5,000-20,000 years. Gobustan State Historical and Cultural Reserve acquired national status in 2006. As a part of the 31st Session of the UNESCO World Legacy Committee held in Christchurch, New Zealand on June 23 - July 2, 2007 included within the World Social Legacy List. Mud volcanoes (can be cancelled in case of bad weather condition – specially rain, then there will be refund 5 usd per person) Atesgah – Fire temple of Zoroastrians (Parsi temple). Atashgah is a temple built by Indian traders before 1745, west of the Caspian Sea. The inscription inscribed invocation to Lord Shiva in Sanskrit at the Ateshgah. Yanardag – Burning hill (a part of hill which is burning continuously for centuries). Yanar Dag is a natural gas fire which blazes continuously on a hillside on the Absheron Peninsula on the Caspian Sea near Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan (a country which itself is known as 'the Land of Fire'). Flames jet into the air 3 metres (9.8 ft) from a thin, porous sandstone layer. Heydar Aliyev Center (depending on time, not entering, just for a short break to take photo with I LOVE BAKU sign) The Heydar Aliyev Center is a 57,500 m2 (619,000 sq ft) building complex in Baku, Azerbaijan designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and noted for its distinctive architecture and flowing, curved style that eschews sharp angles. The center is named after Heydar Aliyev, the first secretary of Soviet Azerbaijan from 1969 to 1982, and president of Azerbaijan Republic from October 1993 to October 2003. Overnight in Baku.
day 8 -
Transfer to the Airport - Departure Breakfast at the Hotel. Check-out. Transfer to the Airport. Departure.