Armenia: In The Shadow Of Mt Ararat
Availability: 12 places
Spanning cultures and continents, Armenia lies at the heart of the Caucasus, its ancient monasteries and candlelit churches standing silent sentinel over centuries of conflict and religious devotion.
Watched over by the biblical heights of Mount Ararat, its mountains and forests play host to a stunning collection of ecclesiastical treasures, from the beautiful cathedral at Echmiadzin, to the serene majesty of the Khor Virap and Tatev Monasteries.
This incredible journey takes us into the heart of this remarkable country, offering us a chance to discover the very soul of Armenia as we travel from its bustling capital and into the remote fortresses, ancient caravanserais and breathe in the spectacular landscapes of the Dilijan National Park and Transcaucasian Trail. Deeply religious, staunchly traditional and steeped in the bloody passage of history, Armenia is emerging as one of Europe’s most fascinating destinations.
DAY 1: Tour starts in Yerevan
DAY 2: In & around Yerevan
This morning we drive a short distance to the UNESCO site of Echmiadzin, the spiritual centre of the country and the home of the head of the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church. We’ll visit the city’s stunning cathedral*, one of the oldest churches anywhere in the world and purportedly home to a number of sacred relics, including a piece of Noah’s Ark and the Holy Lance from Geghard. After a chance to observe Sunday mass - a remarkable sight in itself - in this most revered of places, we will visit the 7th century archaeological site of Zvartnots, also UNESCO. We will then return to Yerevan where there will be time to visit the colourful Vernissage Market and the city’s Matenadaran Museum, one of the world’s richest repositories of medieval manuscripts and books.
*Please note, Etchmiadzin Cathedral is undergoing restoration and is currently closed. There is no official information yet on when it will re-open. It may be possible to walk around the outside of the cathedral and take photographs, but there is scaffolding. The visit to Etchmiadzin will also be comprised of the other churches and monasteries, St Hripsime being the second grandest one there.
DAY 3: Yerevan – Khor Virap - Norovank – Areni - Karahunj – Goris
DAY 4: In & around Goris
DAY 5: Goris – Selim Caravanserai – Lake Sevan – Dilijan
DAY 6: Dilijan - Transcaucasian Trail in Dilijan National Park – Dilijan
DAY 7: Dilijan - Garni - Yerevan
DAY 8: Tour ends in Yerevan