Architectural Detail at Armenia's Tatev Monastery

Architectural Detail at Armenia's Tatev Monastery


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Tatev monastery ringed in mountains, Syunik, Armenia - stock photo

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Planning your Armenia itinerary

To help you plan your Armenia visit I want to start with some itinerary planning basics. If you’re all over the logistics, you can skip straight to the first itinerary using this link.

When is the best time to visit Armenia?

Late spring (April/May) and early fall (September/October) are, in my opinion, the nicest times of year to visit Armenia. I recommend avoiding peak summer season (especially July/August) as the cities get very hot and crowded. Temperatures in Yerevan regularly exceed 35 degrees Celsius in the middle of summer.

I first visited Armenia in spring and still think this is probably the most pleasant season. Outdoor cafes start opening up and you’ll see beautiful flower markets overflowing on every sidewalk in Yerevan. Celebrating Orthodox Easter in the world’s first Christian nation is a special experience, as is marking Genocide Remembrance Day on April 24.

The itineraries presented here are trans-seasonal and can be done at any time of year.

Do you need a visa for Armenia?

Armenia has a generous visa policy that allows passport holders from 35+ countries (including the US, the European Union and Australia) to visit visa-free for up to 180 days within a year.

If you’re not on the visa-free list, you may be eligible to apply for a visa on arrival (available at both air and land borders) or an e-visa. Some nationalities are required to apply for a visa in advance.

Check if you need a tourist visa to travel to Armenia and apply for an expedited visa if you do via my partners at iVisa.

How many days do you need in Armenia?

I think 3 days is the absolute minimum amount of time you should spend in Armenia. Broadly speaking, you can see the highlights of northern Armenia in about a week, and with 10 days or more you can get a good overview of the country.

This itinerary focuses on northern Armenia and can therefore be added onto the start or end of your Georgia itinerary quite easily. All of Armenia’s major cities are in the north, as is its biggest lake, the wine region, and a good number of its must-see monasteries.

At the end of this guide I’ve included recommendations for more places to visit in southern Armenia.

Where to start your Armenia itinerary

Armenia has two major transport hubs: Yerevan (flights from Georgia, Europe and the Middle East plus overnight trains from Tbilisi) and Gyumri (flights from Europe). I recommend starting your travels in the capital, Yerevan.

The itineraries outlined here all start in Yerevan and finish in Gyumri, Armenia’s second-largest city, located in the north-west corner of the country. From here, you have the option to fly out of Gyumri airport, loop back to Yerevan by bus, or continue overland into southern Georgia via Akhaltsikhe.

Note that Armenia’s borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey are closed and overland travel between these countries is not permitted. If you’re coming from Azerbaijan, you will need to cross through Georgia first. I recommend using the night train to get from Baku to Tbilisi.

How to get around Armenia

Armenia is compact with relatively good transport connections. This makes getting around quite quick and easy, even if you’re relying on public transport alone.

Armenia has a railway network, but marshrutka vans (fixed route minivans) are the most popular way to get from place to place. Marshrutka vans are affordable and fast, but schedules are flexible as drivers only tend to depart when their van is sufficiently full (rather than sticking to a set timetable). Shared taxis are a good alternative to marshrutky if you’re willing to pay a bit more. Drivers can usually be found at the bus station.

Minivans are centrally administered under Armenia’s National Transport Authority. Note that Yerevan has several bus stations spread around the city so you’ll need to double-check where your van departs. Use the T-Armenia website to check marshrutka (and train) schedules and fares, then cross-check times locally where possible.

Most drivers take their lunch break from 11am-2pm so there are often no vans running during the middle part of the day. Road safety is something you should be wary of in Armenia so I strongly suggest you only travel by road during daylight hours.

Organised day trips are very affordable in Armenia and are a good way to make the most of your time, especially if you’re basing yourself in Yerevan. I recommend booking day trips through Get Your Guide. Vendors are vetted and more likely to observe good road safety practices. The platform also has a generous refund policy.

It’s possible to hire a car in Armenia and self-drive, but be aware that the driving style takes some getting used to and road conditions vary dramatically throughout the country. If you’re thinking of hiring a car, I recommend using MyRentACar to search for a local rental. Prices start from $20 per day.

The itineraries described here use marshrutka vans exclusively, with a couple of organised day trips and one taxi transfer.


Inlculded

Accommodation at hotel in DBL/Twin rooms (11 nights)

Transportation with a comfortable cars with AC

Entrance fees to all visited places

Armenian bread Lavash making in a local house in Garni village

Brandy Tasting & tour at NOY Ararat Brandy factory

Not included

Visa to Armenia (if required)

Detailed Itinerary

Airport pick-up and transfer to Yerevan

Drive through the central streets of Yerevan: Republic Square, Opera House, “Cascade” Monument and Stairs, “Mother Armenia” Monument with a breathtaking view of Yerevan, Victory Bridge, Hrazdan Stadium, Sports and Concerts Center, Presidential Palace, National Assembly Building, Academy of Sciences, Tsitsernakaberd-Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex and Museum.

Visit Matenadaran, a unique Research Institute of Ancient Manuscripts and a Museum, the largest center of study and safekeeping of Armenian manuscripts in the world. Lunch in a traditional Armenian restaurant, where you’ll enjoy the best dishes of the rich Armenian cuisine.

Overnight in Yerevan

Leave for Echmiadzin town, the Holy See of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Visit St. Hripsime Church built in the 7th century and is considered a masterpiece of early medieval Armenian architecture. Continue to Echmiadzin Mother Cathedral. Historically, it is the focal point of the town of Echmiadzin, and it’s the oldest church in the world. It was originally built by Saint Gregory the Illuminator as a vaulted basilica in 301-303A.D., when Armenia was the only country in the world the state religion of which was Christianity. On the way back to Yerevan visit the Ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral. Zvartnots, built as Armenia’s main cathedral in 641-661A.D. was to suppress the Echmiadzin Cathedral by its grandeur. The remnants of Zvartnots, even in ruins, are a majestic sight. The Ruins of Zvartnots are listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Free time at t he Vernissage market, the largest opened-air market of arts and crafts in the Caucasus.

Overnight in Yerevan

Tour to Garni Pagan Temple and Geghard Monastery. The Pagan Temple of Garni is the only pagan temple currently standing in Armenia. Gracing the hillside the pagan temple was dedicated to the God of Sun, Mithra. It was built in 77 A.D. by the Armenian King Trdat I. The architectural complex of Garni was Armenia’s foremost center of Hellenistic culture and the summer residence of Armenian kings.

Driving for 9 more kilometers from Garni, you’ll reach the Monastery of Geghard, which is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Geghard is an incredible ancient Armenian monastery, partly carved out of a mountain. Though the monastery has been around since before the 4th century, the main cathedral was built in 1215.It is said that the holy lance that pierced the body of Christ was kept here.Lunch in an Armenian peasant house in Garni village. Thereafter we visit “Noy” Wine-Vodka-Brandy factory. Built in 1877 and made famous by the entrepreneur Nikolay Shustov prior to the Russian October Revolution, the factory not only produces premium cognac, but also has an unrivaled wine cellar, complete with wines that are ca. 100years old. Our degustation will include their best cognac and one kind of the oldest wines from 1944.

Overnight in Yerevan

Visit Khor Virap Monastery. To this day you can visit the underground chamber where St. Gregory the Illuminator, the first Armenia’s Patriarch, was imprisoned for 13 years before curing King Trdat III of a disease. This caused the conversion of the king and Armenia into the first officially Christian nation in the world in the year 301. Its location, near the closest point to Mount Ararat within Armenian borders, offers a spectacular view of the mountain, the national symbol of Armenia. Proceed to Noravank Monastery (13-14th centuries), an architectural gemstone nestled among brick-red cliffs, just above a deep gorge.
Lunch in a lovely restaurant. Near the town of Sisian visit Karahunj-Armenia’s Stonehenge. This stone circle, now shown to be a prehistoric observatory, long predates Stonehenge in England. Ancient inscriptions found here may mark the birthplace of the Zodiac – and of Western Civilization itself. Possibly it was the world’s first astronomical observatory founded 7500 years ago. Its history is really very impressive.

Continue to Goris town which is in a deep gorge having houses with red roofs. It’s a town of orchards having a rather interesting architecture of civil structures.
Overnight in Goris

In the morning we explore Goris, one of the most beautiful towns in Armenia. It’s a town in orchards where the houses have the same unique architecture with red tile roofs. The town is beautifully planned by a German architect in the 19th century. Drive to Old Khndzoresk abandoned cave town frozen in time with thousands of caves, where people were living until the beginning of the 20th century.

Later we visit the miraculous monastery of Tatev riding the world’s longest aerial tramway (5.7 km) built by the Swiss in 2010. Tatev is a formidable monastic complex founded in the 9th century. It’s the biggest monastery in Armenia. It’s located on a rocky peninsula more than 100 meters above the Vorotan River. According to tradition the relics of the Apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul, were placed under the dome’s supporting pillars.

Drive to Jermuk Spa town, famous for its hot spring mineral water.
Overnight in Jermuk

Driving through Vardenyats Mountain Pass famous for its fascinating colorful mountains we reach the Orbelian Caravanserai on the Great Silk Road at the highest point of the pass (2410 m). Here little has changed since the fourteenth century. The Caravanserai offered hospitality to travelers along the highway crossing the Selim mountains.

Visit the Stone Garden – Noratus, the largest field of Armenian exquisite cross-stones in the world. Proceed to Lake Sevan National Park. We drive to the Lake Sevan, the world’s second largest highest lake at 1900 m above sea level and the most beautiful lake of Armenia taking up 4% of the territory of Armenia. Marvel at stunning turquoise waters of the Lake Sevan and dramatic mountain scenery after climbing up the peninsula hill where we visit the 9th century Sevanavank Monastery (optional, over 240 steps to get there).
Overnight in Sevan

After breakfast drive to Dilijan, a resort town in the north of Armenia. Words alone can’t describe the natural beauty of Dilijan. Many poets used to say, “If there are woods, mountains, streams and mineral waters in paradise, it must be like Dilijan.” As a climatic balneal health centre of medium- mountain zone, Dilijan is characterized by mild, moderate warm summer, sunny warm winter and dry warm weather during the whole year. Due to its forested mountains and mild climate, Dilijan is named “Armenia’s little Switzerland.”
You’ll see the most beautiful part of the town, Old Dilijan. Visit Haghartsin monastery, a fairy-tale nestled in the middle of the forest. The next route will lead to Goshavank, which was founded by famous Armenian cleric and law – codifier, Mkhitar Gosh, in 12-13th centuries. Drive to Lori region.
Overnight in Dzoraget

Today we visit the Monastery of Haghpat (UNESCO), an exceptional example of Armenian ecclesiastical architecture that developed in Armenia in the 10th to 13th centuries which is unique by virtue of its blending of elements of Armenian Church architecture and the traditional vernacular building style of the region. Later we drive to Sanahin Monastery (UNESCO) (7 KM), an important medieval education and spiritual center which was famous for its school of illuminators and calligraphers. Proceed to Gyumri, the 2nd largest city in Armenia.

Overnight in Gyumri

Welcome to Gyumri, a vivid town with a distinct urban fabric and friendly locals, famous for their indelible sense of humor! We’ll take a stroll in Kumayri Reserve with over 1000 old houses dating back to the 18-19th centuries. The old buildings have their funny nicknames and there are many stories connected with them. Tour of the museum of National Architecture and Urban Life or instead tour of Shiraz House Museum. Drive to Yerevan.

Overnight in Yerevan

Drive towards Mount Aragats (4090m), the highest peak of Armenia and Trans-Caucasus. Visit Amberd Castle (“castle in the cloud”), a fitting name given to it because of its elevation at 2300m. Breathtaking views of the castle and its citadel, snow covered peaks of Aragats, sun scorched grasslands dressed in wild flowers combine to provide an unforgettable experience this morning. On the way we can stop to take a photo of high-mountain camps of friendly Yezidi people who tend their sheep under the towering peaks of Aragats. Photo stop at “Armenian Letters” park. Visit Saghmosavak (“Psalm Monastery”) perched on the edge of Kasakh Canyon.


Published by qhurshida

My name is Qhurshida Hassan and living in Dubai for more than 25 years. I came to UAE in the early 90s with my family. Our life was all about surviving the 90s and somehow make a comfortable living in the Middle east. As impossible it may have been at the time, we dreamt big about travelling the world, to learn and enrich in the history and culture of each place, But we kept building castles of dreams and wishes and here I am, almost 30 years later, living the dream. This blog is my exit from the daily chaos hope you enjoy it! View all posts by qhurshida


Explore Armenia 2020

Armenia is a small, mountainous country in the South Caucasus sandwiched between Turkey, Georgia, Iran, and Azerbaijan. Armenia was the first country in the world to officially adopt Christianity in 301 AD. As a consequence, it has some of the most beautiful centuries-old churches and gorgeous monasteries in dramatically scenic settings in the world such as the Khor Vrap, Geghard and Tatev.

Lake Sevan covers one fifth of its territory. Before gaining independence in 1991 Armenia was part of the Soviet Union. Throughout most of its long history, Armenia has been invaded by a succession of empire. Under constant threat of domination by foreign forces, Armenia became both cosmopolitan as well as fierce protectors of their culture and tradition. Throughout history, the people suffered greatly in large numbers at the hands of some of its neighbors. There is a very large Armenian Diaspora worldwide. The climate is rich dry with hot summers and moderately cold winters. Ideal for growing abundant fruit such as apricots and produces some of the finest cognac in the world.

For a longer vacation we suggest you also our tour Combined Tour of Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia 2020.

TOUR DETAILS

2021 pricing, please contact us for an estimate anytime

2020 Land Cost Per Person (double occupancy)

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights $1750.00 per person based on double occupancy based on two travelers. $2250.00 per person based on one traveler

Offered year-round but especially Spring, Summer & Fall!

UNESCO SITES:

  • St. Hripsime Church
  • St. Ejmiadzin Cathedral
  • Zvartnots Temple
  • Sanahin Monastery
  • Garni

Price Includes:

  • Full services of a tour leader with local guides and drivers
  • Meal plan – HB
  • Transfers and all transport as outlined in the itinerary
  • All accommodation DBL/TWIN room at 4* hotels (breakfast included)
  • Paris Hotel in Yerevan o Mirhav Hotel in Goris
  • Best Western Bohemian Resort in Sevan
  • Avan Dzoraget Hotel in Dzoraget
  • All entrance fees sightseeing and activities as per the itinerary
  • Wine degustation
  • Brandy degustation
  • Farewell Dinner
  • Master Class of preparation of Armenian bread Lavash
  • Ropeway fee in Tatev

DAY 1: YEREVAN

Arrive in Yerevan at Zvartnots International Airport. Transfer to the hotel for free time before exploring the city. Through the Yerevan City Tour experience one of the oldest cities in the world, founded in 782 BC. The capital of Armenia is called “The Pink City” because of the color of the stone used for building.

Yerevan is acclaimed for its excellent water, for its hospitable people and of course for the breathtaking view of Holy Mount Ararat. The sense of Ararat’s presence in the city and numerous remarkable churches in Yerevan has attracted many pilgrims. The town is adorned with inviting squares, museums, and galleries. Culture is shown through their theaters, universities, restaurants, cafes and parks.

Matenadaran is one of the oldest and richest book depositories in the world. Its collection of about 17,000 manuscripts includes almost all of the areas of ancient and medieval Armenian culture and sciences – history, geography, grammar, philosophy, law, medicine, mathematics, cosmography, theory of calendar, alchemy, chemistry, translations, literature, chronology, art history, miniature, music and theatre, as well as manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Greek, Syrian, Latin, Ethiopian, Indian, Japanese and others. Mashtots Matenadaran Ancient Manuscripts Collection is included in UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

Proceed to Yerevan Brandy Company. Armenian brandy is the pride of Armenians: it accompanies every single wedding and celebration. Yerevan Brandy Factory is the right place to receive first-hand information regarding the techniques of production, to taste this legendary drink.

DAY 2: YEREVAN-EJMIATSIN-ZVARTNOTS-MARAN WINE FACTORY-YEREVAN

Start tour at St. Hripsime Church, a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. This church was built in 618 and is one of the magnificent examples of Classical Armenian architecture. Its central dome is an illustration of architectural perfection. The church was named after Virgin Hripsime and was erected in memory of her beauty, purity and faith.

Continue to St. Ejmiadzin Cathedral (UNESCO Site), located in the city of Ejmiatsin founded in the first half of the 2nd century. Since 1441 the city has been Armenia’s religious center. Today, it is the spiritual and administrative center of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The cathedral is surrounded by beautiful gardens and structures.

Tour at Cathedral Museum. 5 km away from Echmiadzin are the ruins of Zvartnots Temple a UNESCO Site. It collapsed in earthquake in the 10th century. Zvartnots is a three-tiered central-dome construction with striking sublimity and is considered as one of the wonders of Armenian architecture.

Transfer to Yerevan. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 3- YEREVAN-KHOR VIRAP-NORAVANK-KARAHUNJ-GORIS

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to southern Armenia where the Khor Virap Monastery lies on the Ararat Plain. Khor Vrap is one of the sanctuaries of the Armenian Apostolic Church and a pilgrimage site. In 301AD Saint Gregory the Illuminator converted Armenia to Christianity here. Continue to Noravank Monastery which is included in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage0 sites. This medieval Armenian monastery stands out not only with its marvelous structure but also the surrounding marvelous scenery. The monastery was built in the 12th century in the territory of two earlier churches.

Proceed to Syuniq Region. Three kilometers away from Sisian are the remains of an ancient astronomical site and the stone observatory of Karahunj.

DAY 4- GORIS-KHNDZORESK-TATEV-SELIM PASS-SEVAN

Breakfast at the hotel. Visit Khndzoresk Village one of the largest villages in Eastern Armenia where you can find the famous swinging bridge at an altitude 1580 meters above sea leve. It the two banks of the village with a magnificent view of the gorge below. Proceed to the deepest part of the Vorotan gorge which becomes a significant part of the road from Goris to Tatev.

Tatev Monastery a masterpiece of the confluence of ingenious medieval architecture and fabulous natural scenery of Armenia. The road to the monastery goes through a gorge with very steep slopes. The bottom of the gorge is the roughThe Vorotan River that goes a few dozen meters into the cliffs.

Transfer to Sevan via Selim Pass. Overnight in Sevan.

DAY 5- SEVAN-GOSHAVANK-DZORAGET

After breakfast proceed to the blue pearl of Armenia- Lake Sevan. It is the largest lake in the region and one of the highest fresh water lakes in the world at an altitude of 1,950 meters above sea level. Almost 28 rivers and streams flow into Lake Sevan but only the river Hrazdan originates from it. Sevan is famous for its different kinds of fish particularly a Sevan Trout endemic to the lake which has become endangered of late. Sevanavank Monastery is situated on the peninsula of Lake Sevan. The peninsula was originally an island where two churches are situated. These two churches were built in 874 AD and together form Sevanavank Monastery.

Proceed to Goshavank Monastery, located in Tavush region, which was founded by Mkhitar Gosh – an Armenian scientist, chronologist, writer of fables and author of the first code of law. Goshavank was a center of medieval Armenian culture.

Transfer to Dzoraget. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 6- DZORAGET-SANAHIN-HAGHPAT-DZORAGET

Breakfast at the hotel followed by transfer to the Lori region. Visit Sanahin Monastery (UNESCO from the 10 th century to view the magnificent design and scientific significance of this architectural construction. For a period of three centuries all the architects thoroughly examined everything built by their predecessors and were careful preserve the style.

Transfer to Yerevan, en route visit Armenia Alphabet Park, situated on the road to the east of Mt. Aragats. It was Erected in 2005 to commemorate r the 1600th anniversary of the creation of the Armenian alphabet. The monument is an interesting demonstration of the stone carvings of 39 Armenian letters. Overnight in Yerevan.

DAY 7- YEREVAN-GARNI-GEGHARD-YEREVAN

Breakfast at the hotel. Depart for the Kotayk region on the way to the Temple of Garni. En route a short stop at “Charents Arch”for a breathtaking view over Ararat Valley and Mount Ararat.

Proceed to Garni ( UNESCO) a classical Hellenisitc Temple, the only extant temple in Armenia, dating back to the era of Paganism and Hellenism. Built by King Tiridates 1 in 76 B.C. Garni was dedicated to the pagan god of the sun Mithra.

Take a Master Class, teaching students how to prepare traditional Armenian bread, Lavash.

Transfer to Yerevan the capital of Armenia to visit Vernissage a large open-air market. 600 meters long, the market mainly features a collection of different types of traditional Armenian art works, traditional carpets, old collections of coins and medallions, books, silver jewelry, musical instruments, electronics and even pets.

In the evening tour the Megerian Carpet Company. Their spectacular showroom attracts visitors from many foreign countries as well as local residents where you can make your purchase. Visitors and guests are welcome to watch the production of the rugs which involve dyeing of the yarns using vegetable dyes, weaving, shearing, finishing, etc.

Farewell dinner at Megerian Carpet. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 8- DEPARTURE

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport. Depart.

Duration: 8 days / 7 nights

If you have any questions or you’d like to book this trip, please contact us.

Custom itineraries available to this or any of the destinations we travel to.

Please check the Resources page for more information on Travel Insurance, Visa Service and other useful links.

Kutrubes Travel can assist you with your flight reservations to your destination with all major carriers. We offer special rates through our various airline contracts. Please call us or email us with your proposed travel plans and we will be sure to accommodate you and respond quickly.

Kutrubes Travel also offers a variety of other tours throughout this region. Contact us for detailed itineraries and descriptions.


History of Armenian architecture

The gradual development of Armenian architecture.

Pre-Christian Armenia

During the third millennium B.C, prehistoric Armenian architecture was already distinctive. The most common feature was its groundwork, which incorporated many geometrical shapes, ultimately forming a cell shape. An example of such architecture can be found in Kültəpə, near Nakhchivan. These buildings were approximately 6𔃅 metres wide and about 5 metres high.

Urban architectural traditions, and other forms of art in the years before Christ continued to develop and later were influenced by Greco-Roman art. [5] Urartian architecture is known for its use of intricately cut rocks, used as foundations for mud brick buildings, usually constructed in a compact manner (such as in Erebuni).

The Temple of Garni, the only standing Greco-Roman building in Armenia

Urartian temples had massive stone walls at lower levels and a relatively small interior space, usually square, and rose high they were generally placed at the highest point of a site. Higher levels were in mud brick, which has not survived, and it is not fully clear how appeared. The late Temple of Garni of the 1st century AD, in a fully Hellenistic style, is the only pagan monument left in any sort of complete state in Armenia, as many others were destroyed or converted to Christian places of worship under Tiridates III of Armenia. [6] Garni includes local elements of sacred numerology and geometry. The temple has a column to inter column ratio of 1/3 (1 is the primary number of the universe and 3 is the holiest of all numbers as it represents the Greco-Roman triad Jupiter, Juno and Minerva). Aside from being aesthetically beautiful, Garni's design can be seen as being a reaffirmation of the universal laws that governed man's destiny. The angles, number of columns, and dimensions were created with a careful eye Armenian pagans wanted to appease the gods and protect humanity from their wrath. This sacred geometry is evident in the entire temple. To the people who created it, it was the perfect embodiment of their communion with the universe. Note that although sacred geometry was mostly used in religious buildings, secular buildings adopted some aspects of it. [7]

Christian Armenia

Armenian gravestones. Lake Van. Late-medieval Armenian Khachkars from Julfa, Azerbaijan. They were removed from the Julfa graveyard before its destruction and are now on display within the precincts of Etchmiadzin in Armenia.

Christianity's institution as Armenia's official religion in 301 allowed new developments in Armenian architecture, which nevertheless preserved older traditions. [5] In fact it would be almost impossible to find any religion that rose completely on its own without borrowing some traditions from the past. Exploring Armenian churches is critical to our understanding of Medieval Armenia. Beyond that, the Armenian churches describe us the general landscape of the Christian East at a time when eyewitness accounts were exceedingly rare. In their messages of authenticity and legitimacy, the churches shaped and preserved public memory, negotiating among diverse linguistic, religious, political, and ethnic groups. [8]

The first Armenian churches were built on the orders of St. Gregory the Illuminator, and were often built on top of pagan temples, and imitated some aspects of Armenian pre-Christian architecture. [7]


WONDERS OF ARMENIA 10-DAY TOUR

If you want to fall in love with Armenia and discover mysteries of this country of sun, this round trip is a good opportunity to do it. This tour with overnights in 5 cities includes the most visited sights in Armenia. You will get acquainted with Armenian culture, history and cuisine. It’s a good opportunity to travel in time, going back to the era of paganism, experience intercultural dialogue that is the ideal form of intercultural communication while communicating with the locals and be a co-author of this ancient culture.

Departure & Return Location

Armenia, Yerevan <-> Armenia, Yerevan

Price Includes

Price Excludes

Special Notes

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival

Pick up from the airport and transfer to the hotel. Welcome dinner at traditional Armenian restaurant with folk program (Armenian national songs and dances). Evening walk from the Northern Avenue to Republic Square. Participation in Dancing fountains show. Overnight: in Yerevan.

Day 2 Yerevan City-tour

Breakfast in the hotel. Yerevan sightseeing tour (Republic Square, Parliament House, Opera House, State University, President’s Palace and Cascade complex). Tour to Matenadaran, a repository of ancient manuscripts, research institute and museum. Overnight: in Yerevan.

Day 3 Yerevan - Garni - Geghard - Stone Symphony - Vernisage - Yerevan

Breakfast in the hotel. Tour to Geghard medieval monastery: a fantastic example of medieval Armenian architecture of XIII century. It is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Participation in Armenian bread “Lavash” baking. Tour to the only preserved pagan temple Garni. On our way back we will visit Miracle Cave. The underground cave goes 21 meters deep into the earth. The floor space of the cave is 280 square meters and is located beneath the yard of the two- story house. Return to Yerevan. Dinner at traditional Caucasian restaurant. Overnight: Yerevan.

Day 4 Yerevan - Sardarapat - Etchmiadzin - Zvartnots - Yerevan

Breakfast in the hotel. Tour to Sardarapat Memorial, complex dedicated to the Battle of Sardarapat (May 22–26, 1918). The complex is located in the Armavir Province. Depart for Etchmiadzin. Visit Etchmiadzin Cathedral (302-303 AD), the oldest state-built church in the world and the seat of the Catholicos. Visit St. Gayane and St. Hripsime Churches (7th c.). Return to Yerevan and stopover for Zvartnots Cathedral, 7th century architectural masterpiece, listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Dinner at an Armenian restaurant. Overnight: in Yerevan.

Day 5 Yerevan - Khor Virap - Areni - Noravank - Goris

Breakfast in the hotel. Tour to Khor Virap Monastery. The monastery is famous for its location, especially for the view of the Biblical Mount Ararat. Visit to Areni Cave complex, where the earliest known winery in the world was announced to be found. Also in 2011, the discovery of a straw skirt dating to 3900 BC was reported. Tour to Noravank Monastery, 13th century Armenian Monastery located in a narrow gorge of Amaghu river. Overnight: in Goris.

Day 6 Goris - Khndzoresk - Tatev -Karahunj - Jermuk

Breakfast in the hotel. Tour to Khndzoresk that is very famous for its canyon with picturesque rock formations and ancient cave settlement. The artificial caves, some of which are currently used as stables and warehouses, used to be inhabited till the 1950’s. Tatev Monastery, founded in the 9th century, is one of the most wonderful places in Armenia. Visit Karahunj, a prehistoric archaeological site near the Sisian. Overnight: in Jermuk.

Day 7 Jermuk - Lake Sevan- Noratus - Hayravank - Sevanavank

Breakfast in the hotel. Jermuk is a famous Armenian spa city, where much of the country’s mineral water comes from. Drive to lake Sevan, one of the greatest high mountainous freshwater lakes of Eurasia. Visit Noratus cemetery of khachkars, unique phenomenon of Armenian culture. Visit Hayravank Monastery and Sevanavank Monastery. Overnight: in Sevan.

Day 8 Sevan - Dilijan - Lake Parz

Breakfast in the hotel. Dilijan is one of the most important resorts of Armenia, famous for its amazing surroundings, situated in Dilijan National Park. Trip to Lake Parz, one of the primary tourist destinations in Armenia. Hidden in Dilijan National Park the lake appears as an unpolished diamond surrounded by forests. Overnight: in Dilijan.

Day 9 Dilijan - Apaga Resort - Horse riding - Yerevan

Breakfast in the hotel. Visit Apaga Resort where well qualified personnel will teach you the most important riding skills for beginners. Overnight: in Yerevan.


In town there's a church, a market, the Axel Bakunts Museum and some other minor sites. On the edges of town are some great rock formations which are great for photographers, both from near or far.

  • Old Khndzoresk Cave Village ( Hin Khndzoresk ). A couple villages east of Goris is the village of Khdzoresk, and under it, in a gorge pocked with caves is Old Khndoresk. Until a few decades ago, people lived in those caves still, and this was an active cave village - so be careful who you call a caveman around here!  edit
  • Tatev Monastery , ( 30 km southwest of Goris ). Not so far from Goris on the map, but a seeming eternity on the bad road is the stunning Monastery of Tatev, on an 850 meter high cliff. All this above a natural land bridge, springs, a cavern in an underground river and you've got yourself an unforgettable place. Even though the bus trip (1 1/2 h, around 2 pm next to the post office in Goris, light blue bus you can also ask the driver for accommodation in Tatev as he is a local villager) is an adventure in itself, you can try to get to the village Halidzor and use the presumably longest ropeway in the world up to Tatev. You better don't ask taxi drivers for it as they will propose you to take you themselves to Tatev by car. If you will do so, try to catch a four-wheel ATV with Soviet shock absorbers. Ropeway is 3500 AMD one-way, 5000 AMD return, as of august 2017 .  edit
  • Devils Bridge , ( on the way from goris to tatev monastery ). george, cave, mineral springs and pool, colorfull rocks  edit
  • Bgheno-Noravank Monastery , ( 16km south of Goris ). A couple of kilometers off the main highway is the little known and less visited monastery of Bgheno Noravank. Easy to miss the turnoff, and just consisting of a couple of chambers, it's a good spot for a break if you're on a long drive.  edit
  • Tsitsernavank Monastery , ( 8km north of the Karabakh entry checkpoint - without entering! ). A very ancient monastery that's undergone recent renovation.  edit

Haghpat monastery

The Haghpat monastery is situated in the north of Armenia, in the same named village (Lori district). Standing on a high plateau, amidst low structures, they rise sharp against the background of steep forest-grown slopes of Bazum ridge.

The exact date of the foundation of Haghpat is unknown. Documentary evidence and monuments of material culture suggest that these structure date back to the middle of the 10th century. The formation of Tashir-Dzoraget kingdom of the Kyurikids in 979 and the great attention paid to Haghpat by various rulers of Armenia and their vassals favored the construction of many religious and civil structures there. In this monastery humanitarian sciences and medicine were studied, scientific treatises written and paintings, most miniatures created.

The main monastery buildings are grouped around chief temple. Religious structures are of the cross-winged dome type and have side-chapels in four corners, or of the cupola hall type. The structure of the fist type is St.Grigory church (1005), which lost its dome during the reconstruction in 1211.

The most important of the cupola-hall type buildings is St.Nshan church, founded by Khosrovanuish in 976 and completed in 991. The decoration, particularly ornamental carving, is very modest. A sculptural group of Smbat and Kyurike kings with a model of the temple in hands, which brings it closer to a three-dimensional sculpture fitted into a wall niche. The interior St.Nshan was decorated with frescoes which are almost totally lost by now. The altar apse was decorated with frescoes twice, the last time in the second half of the 13th century. Probably the whole of the interior was covered with frescoes.

Vestibules were intended for morning and evening services. Parishioners for whom there was no room left in the temple stood there. Such vestibules include the so-called Hamazasp building, erected in 1257. This is the usual type of structure rectangular in the plan - the biggest such structure in Armenia. The squat proportions of the building and its architectural details create the impression of interior and exterior heaviness.

Originally, the vestibule of St.Nshan church was a small vaulted gallery-type sepulcher of the Kyurikid kings, built in 1185. Under Father Superior Hovhannes of Khachen it was extended westwards in 1209. The artistic form of the interior is extremely expressive, which makes the vestibule very much different from others.

Vestibules and galleries, as well as special structures, served as sepulchers for members of aristocracy. There are several such structures in Haghpat. They differed from each other in their architectural composition, which is evidence of the great creative ingenuity of their architects. The sepulcher of Ukanants family (the early 8th century) is made as three large rectangular memorial chapels standing side by side. These also serve as pedestals for khachkars.

The bell-tower of Haghpat (1245) is one of the earliest examples of structures serving this purpose. This is tall three-floor tower. Its first storey is cross-shaped in the plan, and the second one rectangular, with the angles cut off. The artistic composition of Haghpat&rsquos bell-tower found its reflection not only in later bell-towers, but also in various other buildings - mausoleums and even churches.

The book depository of Haghpat (11th) is unique building illustrating the high level of development of civil architecture in the 11th-13th century Armenia. Such buildings were erected, as a rule, away from the main churches of the monastery. They were square-shaped in plan and had a niche for keeping manuscripts in. Special attention was paid to the design of the roof which gave the book depositories a distinctive appearance.

The refectory of Haghpat stands out among the civil monuments of Armenia. This structure, dating back to the middle of the 13th century is rare in its architectural composition.

The 1258 structure over a water spring in Haghpat, which is still in use, is triple-arched, with the middle arch larger than the side ones. There are stone troughs stretching along the back wall of the structure for watering the village cattle, and also a water reservoir used by local residents. The vaulted composition was prompted by the climate of the country. The cool and damp air inside is a good protection against the scorching midsummer sun.

Haghpat complex is especially rich in khachkars, which were intended not only as memorials. Most of the khachkar have the traditional shape of a cross which germinated out of a grain, with branches on its sides. In the khachkars of the 10th-11th century the framing of the cross was simpler than that of the 12th-13th century khachkars which developed new stylistic features. Amenaprkich khachkar (1273) stands out for a great number of realistically depicted human figures fitted into the unique composition of the decor.


Watch the video: Tatev Monastery - marvel of architecture and nature


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