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Silk Road program-9 nights

Day1 – Departure from..Arrival to Yerevan.

Day2 – YEREVAN/HISTORY MUSEUM/CASCADE/GENOCIDE MUSEUM

Yerevan, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, once sat at the crossroads of several important trade routes, solidifying its importance in the region. The city was redesigned in the early 1900’s, when lovely parks and squares were added to the historic part. Begin in Victory Park, situated on a hill north of the city, where you will see the towering statue of Mother Armenia up close. Enjoy panoramic views of Yerevan from the top, including Mount Ararat (where Noah’s Ark landed according to the Bible). The next stop is The History Museum of Armenia specialized in the fields of Archaeology, Numismatics and Ethnography. It possesses a large collection of stone age, as well as 3rd to 2nd millennium BC bronze specimens, that belong to the world treasury of masterpieces.
Continue to Cascade , a long stairway alongside multiple levels of fountains with it’s amazing sculptures square of world famous artists as Botero, Chadwick, Flanagan, the Republic Square with it magnificent buildings enhanced by singing fountains, via Northern Avenue, an ambitious project of independent Armenia to Freedom Square and Opera House.
Your visit includes also Genocide Memorial and Museum.

Overnight in Yerevan.

Day3 – ECHMIADZIN/ZVARTNOTS/SARDARAPAT

Echmiadzin is the spiritual center of Armenia, the Armenian Vatican. It is truly amazing experience to visit to Echmiadzin Mother Cathedral, one of the world’s ancient churches built and consecrated by St. Gregory the illuminator and St.Trdat the Great in 303 AD . Echmiadzin translates literally “the place” where the Only Begotten Son of God descended. According to tradition, St. Gregory the illuminator saw a vision of the Only Begotten descended from heaven and with a golden hammer stroke the ground where the Cathedral was to be located.
Echmiadzin is also The See of the Armenian Apostolic Church and residence for its head, the Catholicos
Five kilometers towards Yerevan from Echmiadzin there are the ruins of Zvartnots.
The temple was a tree tiered central – domed structure that astounded with its magnificence. According to the opinion of European specialists the temple of Zvartnots may be ranked with greatest monuments of ancient architecture.
One hour drive west from Yerevan and this tour will bring you to the largest Ethnographic museum of Armenia- Sardarapat Museum. Incredible collection of national costumes from every region, handmade carpets, old farming instruments, pottery and furniture are housed under one roof. The museum building itself is impressive and meaningful located near the memorial devoted to the battle of Sardarabad in 1918.

Overnight in Yerevan.

Day4 – KHOR VIRAP/NORAVANK/ARENI CAVERN/KARAHUNJ/GORIS

Driving through the most fertile Ararat valley you will make stop in 45 minutes in medieval Khor Virap monastery (4-17c) with incredible view to glorious mount Ararat. Khor Virap has its special place in the history of Armenia and adoption of Christianity as a state religion in 301. The name Khor Virap means a Deep Dungeon, where Gregory was imprisoned by King Trdat for 13 years and survived, proving the real God and true religion.
The next stop is at the monastery Noravank (9-14c), the masterpiece of master Momik.
Recently excavated very well preserved Copper Age settlement Bird’s Cavern uncovers the secret s of 6000 years old wine production in Armenia. The site boasts incredible items excavated in 2008-2010,among which is the world’s oldest shoe 5,500 years old. Explore the unique cavern’s ritual and burial halls.
Visit outstanding archaeological site Karahunj.The first excavation of 1980 focused on religious worship meaning of the standing 222 stones, while recent researches started lively discussions about site’s origin as observatory established 7500years ago.

Overnight in Goris.

Day5 – TATEV/KHNDZORESK/SELIM CARAVSERAI/LAKE SEVAN

Explore the beauty of Syunik region starting from Tatev monastery. Tatev is a majestic monastery complex ,UNESCO world heritage candidate. . In the 14th and 15th centuries Tatev was the most acclaimed scientific and theological center s in Armenia. Reach the monastery from the village Halidzor by the longest reversible passenger aerial tramway in the world , affording spectacular views of the valley below.
Continue exploring Syunik region of Armenia visiting cave village of Khndzoresk- not every village in Armenia can afford a whole bunch of activities. The Village of Khndzoresk is a huge complex with an interesting caves waiting to be explored.
The gorge of Khndzoresk simply amazes and seems to play tricks on the human imagination because as you look at the giant stones around, you basically start thinking that giants once really existed. People lived in the caves of Khndzoresk until 1950s. During the early times people lived in the village’s pyramids having dug artificial dwellings.
In the afternoon we drive to Lake Sevan via South North shortcut of Great Silk Road discovering archaeological devises and majestic churches, monasteries:
Proceed to Sevan by Selim pass,on the way visiting Selim caravanserai, situated in the Selim (Sulema) mountain pass, 2410 m above the sea level, on the old road that connected historical Gegharkunik with Vayots Dzor. According to the two building inscriptions (one of which is in Arabic) the caravanserai was built in 1332 by Prince Orbelyan Chesar

Overnight in Lake Sevan.

Day6 – LAKE SEVAN/DILIJAN/HAGHARTSIN/DILIJAN

One of the world’s high altitude lakes Sevan is one of the main tourist attractions of Armenia. Take stairs to the top of Sevan peninsula to enjoy breathtaking scenery of splendid mountain chain surrounding glittering surface of the lake. Now it is time to uncover the secrets of Sevan monastery dating back to 9th century, St.Arakelots and St.Astvatsatsin churches are beautiful examples of Armenian church architecture of medieval period.
Known as Armenian Switzerland, Dilijan attracts visitors with lash forests, fertile meadows, rushing river Aghstev, stunning and quiet nature .Stroll through the picturesque old quarter, particularly Sharambeyan street and its pottery, carpentry and other artisan shops. And taking another 18km drive through forest road find out the hidden treasure- 13th c Haghartsin monastery.
Immerse yourself into the idyllic beauty of Lori region. Debed canyon ,Pambak and Lori mountain chains, rushing river Debed will make your drive into very enjoyable experience.
The monastery of Haghpat was founded in 976 during the reign of king Ashot III Bagratouni. The oldest structure of the Monastery is the church of St. Nshan. It is of the domed hall type and was consecrated in 991.The monastic complex also includes: a small domed church of St.Grigor, the chapel of St.Astvatsatsin, the scriptorium, the refectory which is outside of the monastery limits.

Overnight in Alaverdi.

Day7 – GYUMRI/ARUCH/YEREVAN

Accompanied by the beautiful sceneries and glorious view of mount Aragats take a direction to the north west of the country for the second largest city of Armenia Gyumri.
Kumayri Alexandrapol Leninakan, Gyumri, , these many names had this traditional and very warm, hospitable town. Home town of talented Armenian artists, poets and musicians, Gyumri is famous for its museums, galleries, art centers, churches. Tour to Dzitoghyan museum will unveil the story of this city and its grief (1988 devastating earthquake).Notwithstanding the hardships residents of Gyumri claim to have the best sense of humor in the country.
Medieval caravanserais had an important role in the development of international trade. 13th c Aruch caravansarai was located on the road connecting Armenian capital Ani to Dvin. It is a part of travel routes on Armenian Silk Road.
The cathedral of Aruch is among the most celebrated monuments of Armenian architecture in the middle Ages. According to manuscripts and wall inscriptions, the building was constructed during the years 670 to 680 by Prince Grigor Mamikonian, governor of Armenia. The cathedral, which had survived in a rather ruined state, has been partially restored.

Overnight in Yerevan .

Day8 – GARNI/GEGHARD

Garni temple is the only pagan temple in a territory of Armenia built in 1st C AD by the Armenian King Trdat the First. It is dedicated to God of Sun Mithras.The Garni temple lies about 32KM East of Yerevan and the complex hosts a number of buildings including a royal palace, Roman bath and a church. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1679, the Garni Temple was reconstructed in the 1970’s and is now made up of both original and replacement masonry.
Geghard( UNESCO world heritage site in Armenia) is incredible medieval 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. The existing ensemble dates back to the 12th—13th centuries, the time of the flourishing of national culture, especially architecture.

Overnight in Yerevan.

Day9 – AMBERD FORTRESS/SAGHMOSAVANK/HOVHANAVANK

Named after the tallest mountain peak of Armenia Aragats (4090m), the region Aragatsotn boasts numerous historical and architectural monuments.On your route to Amberd fortress(7-10cc) you will see the camps of Yezidi nomads grazing their cattle in the pastures. Amberd fortress and castle (10-13th cc) was the familial estate of the Pahlavouni princes. It is one of the few feudal castles of Armenia that has been more or less preserved to our days. The location for its has been selected quite skillfully, the builders took advantage of the mountainous terrain and put the fortress on a cape surrounded on three sides by ravines.
Not far from the fortress overlooking the gorge is 11th c church Vahramashen. This tour includes a visit to typical Armenian villages famous for their monasteries Saghmosavank and Hovhnanavank The monastic complex includes a single-nave church of the 5th c, the oldest in the monastery and the principal church of St. Karapet of the cross-domed type built in 1216. The church is richly decorated with vegetative ornaments, it has a bas-relief with the depiction of Christ on a throne.
Overnight in Yerevan.

Day10 – Transfer to the Airport