Georgia-Armenia

Combined Tour |14 Days                            

Day 1. Arrival at Yerevan Zvartnots international airport – transfer to hotel – overnight
Day 2. Yerevan City tour –History museum – Matenadaran –Mother Armenia – Tsitsernakaberd
Day 3. Amberd – Oshakan – Saghmosavank – Yerevan
Day 4. Khor Virap – Noravank – Yerevan
Day 5. Dilijan – Haghartsin – Sevanavank – Yerevan
Day 6. Garni – Geghard – Yerevan Cognac Factory
Day 7. Echmiatsin – Zvartnots – Sardarapat Memorial – Yerevan – Farewell Dinner
Day 8. Transfer to Tbilisi (on the way visit to Haghpat – Sanahin complex) – Hotel
Day 9. Tbilisi – David Gareji - Sighnaghi
Day 10. Sighnaghi – Bodbe – Gurjaani – Tsinandali - Kvareli
Day 11. Kvareli – Gremi – Ikalto – Alaverdi - Telavi
Day 12. Telavi - Tbilisi city tour
Day 13. Tbilisi – Mtskheta - Kazbegi
Day 14. Kazbegi – Tbilisi international airport - Departure
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DAY 1.  Arrival at Zvartnots International airport in Yerevan. Meeting at the Airport. Transfer to the Hotel.
DAY 2. City Tour - History Museum – Matenadaran –  Mother Armenia -  Tsitsernakaberd
HISTORY MUSEUM - was founded by the Parliament September 9, 1919. It was called Ethnographic-Anthropological Museum-Library and Yervand Lalayan was the first director. Yerevan History Museum with the number of its exhibits, the number of its publications and its preservation means corresponds to the demands of a modern museum. It has become one of the leading museums of our country.
Matenadaran (a book depository), one of the world's earliest libraries, is situated on the northern part of Mashtots avenue. Its collections contain ancient Armenian books and miniature paintings that have gained world-wide fame. Among its unique treasures are the works of ancient classical authors and rare manuscripts that have come to our days only in the Armenian translation.
The statue of Mother Armenia is a female personification of Armenia. Her most public visual rendering is a monumental statue in Victory Park overlooking the capital city of Yerevan, Armenia.
The memorial-complex to the victims of the Armenian genocide towers over Tsitsernakaberd hill. At the center of the monument there is the Memorial Sepulcher with eternal flame and twelve, tall basalt slabs tilting over the flame. As a part of the Monument the arrow-shaped 44 meters high granite stele symbolizes the spiritual rebirth and bold spirit of the Armenian people. The Genocide Museum is a special constituent part of the complex. The exhibit contains a number of photos taken by the witnesses, archival documents, documentary films and the original documents issued by international organizations and parliaments of foreign countries condemning the Genocide.  
  
DAY 3. Fortress of Amberd – Oshakan – Saghmosavank – Yerevan
Fortress of Amberd - The area where the fortress presently sits, started as a Stone Age settlement. The fortress was built during the Bronze Age and Urartian periods. The castle of Amberd and some sections of walls were constructed in the 7th century AD as a possession of the noble House of Kamsarakan. Under Zakarian control during the 12th–13th centuries, the walls were structurally reinforced and the castle and outer buildings were renovated
Oshakan is a village in the Aragatsotn Province of Armenia located 8 kilometres southwest from Ashtarak. it is famous for the tomb of Mesrop Mashtots, the creator of the Armenian alphabet, which is of extreme value to the Armenian patriotism. Above his grave is a church rebuilt by Katholikos George IV in 1875.
Saghmosavank – the monastery complexes of Hovanavank and Saghmosavank are five kilometers apart and situated in the villages of the same names in Ashtarak district. Both monuments perch on the edge of the precipitous gorge of the Kasakh river. The main temples of the monasteries – the Church of Zion in Saghmosavank (1215) and the Church of Karapet in Hovanavank (1216 – 1221) belong to the same type of cross-winged domed structure with two-floor annexes in all the corners of the building.
       
Day 4.  Khor Virap – Noravank – Areni - Yerevan
Khor Virap is the most famous pilgrimage site in Armenia, as it is directly connected with the adoption of Christianity. As a state religion Christianity in Armenia was adopted in 301 due to endeavors of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, who before converting king Trdat the 3rd to Christianity, was imprisoned in the dungeon over which a church of Khor Virap monastery was built in the 17th century. From the monastery one can admire the stunning view of the Biblical Mount Ararat.
Noravank – is a 13th century Armenian monastery, located 122km from Yerevan in a narrow gorge made by Amaghu river, near the city of Yeghegnadzor, Armenia. The gorge is known for its tall, sheer, brick-red cliffs, directly across from the monastery. The monastery is best known for its two-storey Surp Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) church, which grants access to the second floor by way of a narrow stone-made staircase jutting out from the face of building. In the 13th–14th centuries the monastery became a residence of Syunik’s bishops and, consequently, a major religious and, later, cultural center of Armenia closely connected with many of the local seats of learning, especially with Gladzor's famed university and library.
Areni village is situated in the southwest of Armenia. It has an ancient history connected with winemaking. Since times of Noah people have been cultivating wine and bequeathing secrets of viticulture from generation to generation. Owing to the unique dry climate the valuable grapes of Areni have been cultivated here and nowhere else in Armenia has it shown itself as good as in the villages of Areni. Nowadays Areni Wine Factory has become the cradle of winemaking in this region. A visit to the winery will give the guests the opportunity to taste 15 sorts of wine, watch a short-length film about the history of the factory, wine-making in Armenia and its historical background. Afterwards the guests are welcome to have a walk in the cellars of the factory.
                       
Day 5. Dilijan – Haghartsin – Sevanavank – Yerevan
The health resort town Dilijan surrounded by the Lesser Caucasus mountain-range lies to the north-eastern part of the Republic of Armenia, in the valley of the river Aghstev, at a height of 1100 – 1510 meters above sea level. The gorge mountain-ranges are covered with rich forests changing to alpine meadows at the alp. Due to its natural and climatic conditions Dilijan is a single land. Fine landscape has an extra positive influence on patients and holiday-makers. To the east of Dilijan at a distance of 12 kilometers lies Haghartsin, a medieval monastery complex of the 10-13th centuries. It consists of four chuches, two chapels, a mess-room and khachkars (cross-stones). The mess-room is considered to be construction of great architectural value among the similar others.
Sevanavank is a monastic complex located on a peninsula at the northwestern shore of Lake Sevan in the Gegharkunik Province of Armenia, not far from the town of Sevan.  Initially the monastery was built at the southern shore of a small island. After the artificial draining of Lake Sevan, the water level fell abourt 20 meters, and the island transformed into a peninsula. The eastern shore is occupied by the Armenian president’s summer residence, while the monastery’s still active seminary moved to newly constructed buildings at the northern shore of the peninsula.
          
Day 6.  Garni – Geghard – Ararat Brandy Factory
Garni temple which towers over a three-cornered cape is the unique survived example of pagan culture in Armenia. It is a blend of Greco-Roman and Armenian styles. King Trdat began builind of the temple in the first century A.D. and dedicated it to the God of Sun. after adopting Christianity in 301 the pagan temple lost its significance and the fortress of Garni became the summer residence of the kings. Nowadays the ruins of the royal palace and the bathroom with a stunning mosaic work can be found near the temple.
Geghard monastery is the unsurpassable masterwork of the 13th century Armenian architecture. Some of the churches of the complex are masterfully hewn in a huge rock. From the outset the complex was called Hayrivank (cave monastery), later it was renamed Geghard (lance), as the lance used by the roman soldier to sting Jesus Christ’s side, was kept in this monastery for many centuries. Due to its construction Geghardavank serves the best place for singing spiritual songs. The complex is rich in subtle sculptural embellishments and many striking khachkars (cross-stones).
Ararat Brandy Company - Visit the museum of the factory, get acquainted with the legends of ARARAT brandies, learn the 120 years old history of Armenian brandy manufacture, know who has drunk Armenian brandy, and see the oldest Armenian barrels and the medals which decorate the ARARAT legend. Walk around the ageing cellar and see how the brandy spirits are preserved, know who has nominal barrels and enjoy the delicate aroma of the cellar. Spend a lovely and unforgettable time in the tasting hall enjoying the wonderful "THREE STARS",  "NAIRI".
               
Day 7. Echmiatsin – Zvartnots – Sardarapat Memorial – Yerevan – Farewell Dinner
Echmiatsin is the center of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is where the Catholicos  Of All Armenians lives, and the location of the Echmiatsin Cathedral. The word "Echmiatsin" means ‘the Only Begotten descended’, and the cathedral was built on the very spot Grigor Luysavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) dreamt Jesus Himself descended from heaven to show him where He wanted the church to be built. It is a scenic place to visit. It is a traditional Armenian design with a belfry and a number of rotundas. Most of the exterior is plain until you make it around to the entrance which is intricately carved and very beautiful.
The architectural masterpiece of Zvartnots was built by order of the Catholicos Nerses 3rd between the years 641 and 662. It was damaged by an earthquake in the 10th century and unearthed nearly a thousand years later in 1900 – 1907, in the town of Echmiatsin. Zvartnots is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000.
On a low ridge is the battle monument of Sardarapat, commemorating the Armenian defeat of an invading Turkish army. The Sardarapat Memorial is located 25 kilometers from Echmiatsin. A memorial park was laid out on the battlefield in 1968. The entrance is flanked by huge winged oxen made of red tuff. A flight of steps leads to a square from which a 26-meter high bell tower rises. The bells ring every year on the day of the historic victory. A lane of eagles, symbolizing the spirit of the fearless fighting men, leads to a curved Wall of Victory (length – 55 meters, height – 7 meters) with scenes of the battle, and the figure of a woman with a child – a symbol of revival. Visitors are also welcome to drop into the Museum of Ethnography of Armenia on the territory of the park.
Farewell Dinner. In the end of the tour the tourists are invited to a farewell dinner at ‘Ararat’ restaurant in Yerevan, during which they are not only served delicious traditional Armenian food, but also enjoy an amazing show with national dances and music. Within 3 hours almost the whole Armenian culture and history is presented to the visitors.  This event is organized to make their trip to Armenia even more unforgettable.
      
Day 8. On the way to Tbilisi, visit Sanahin – Haghpat Monastic complex. Transfer to hotel in Tbilisi.
The architectural complexes of Sanahin and Haghpat (UNESCO Heritage Site) are among the outstanding works of medieval Armenian architecture. In their artistic merits they transcend the limits of national culture. The monasteries are situated in the north of Armenia, in Tumanian district. Sanahin is now within the limits of Alaverdi city, and Haghpat is to the north-east of it, in the village of the same name. Standing on a high plateau, among low structures, they rise sharp against the background of steep forest-grown slopes of bazum ridge. The ensembles are complemented by small churches built near them. The exact date of the foundation of Sanahin and Haghpat is unknown. Documentary evidence and monuments of material culture suggest that these structures date back to the middle of the 10th century.
Crossing of Armenian-Georgian border. Transfer to the hotel in Tbilisi.
Arriving in legendary Tbilisi, transfer and hotel accommodation. Free time. Overnight at hotel.
                  
 
Day 9: Tbilisi – David Gareji – Sighnaghi
Today we will drive from Tbilisi to Kakheti region to the east part of Georgia and the cradle of Georgian wine. Visit David Gareji - one of the most important landmarks of Georgia. This site is characterized by a unique combination of historic architecture, prehistoric archaeological sites, rich paleontological fields and important bio-geographical features widely spread within the arid and semiarid landscape of the river Iori plateau. The dozens of cave monasteries decorated with unique frescoes are the best examples of harmonious interaction of man-made structures with the dramatic landscape. They bear the traditional principles of sustainable living and are considered as the masterpieces of Georgian Medieval art. Afterwards, drive to Sighnaghi, city of love. Have excursion in the city, visit local wine cellar to taste wine. Overnight in Sighnaghi.
    
Day 10: Sighnaghi – Bodbe – Gurjaani – Tsinandali – Kvareli
After breakfast visit Bodbe monastery of St. Nino. According to Georgian tradition, St. Nino, having witnessed the conversion of Georgians to the Christian faith. Then drive to Tsinandali. On the way, visit Gurjaani All Saints’ church. Then make a visit to house museum of Prince Aleksandre Chavchavadze, with beautiful garden and wine cellar, where we will taste 5 sorts of wine. Alexander Chavchavadze inherited this village, lying in the Alazany River valley, from his father, Prince Garsevan. He refurbished the estate, constructed a new Italianate palace and built a decorative garden in 1835. It was the place where Chavchavadze frequently entertained foreign guests with music, wit, and – most especially – the fine vintages made at his estate winery (marani). Familiar with European ways, Chavchavadze built Georgia’s oldest and largest winery where he combined European and centuries-long Georgian winemaking traditions. The highly regarded dry white Tsinandali is still produced there. The next spot is Kvareli, wine cellar called “Gvirabi”- tunnel. This unique wine cave represents the tunnel that is cut off in the stone massif of Caucasian mountain range, where yearlong natural temperature is 10-12ºC. The length of this construction is 7,7 Km. Overnight in Kvareli.
          
Day 11: Kvareli – Gremi – Ikalto – Alaverdi – Telavi
After breakfast, visit Gremi Monastery the 16th century architectural monument – the royal citadel and the Church of the Archangels – in Kakheti. Afterwards we drive to Ikalto. Founded in the 5th century it was the region's largest centre of culture and education at that time. In the 11th-12th centuries’ a famous Georgian ecclesiastical figure Arsen Ikaltoeli ("Ikaltoeli" meaning "from Ikalto") founded the Academy here. Near the complex there are three churches and the ruins of this Academy. Then drive to Alaverdi monastery. Architecture of Alaverdi is one of most outstanding examples of Kakhetian and Georgian Architecture. The monastery was founded by the Assyrian monk Joseph (Yoseb, Amba) Alaverdeli, who came from Antioch and settled in Alaverdi and then a small village and former pagan religious center dedicated to the Moon. At the beginning of the 11th century, Kakhetian King Kvirike the Great built a cathedral, today known as Alaverdi Cathedral, in the place of a small church of St. George. At a height of over 55 meters, Alaverdi Cathedral is the second tallest religious building in Georgia, after the recently consecrated Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral. It is the focus of the annual religious celebration Alaverdoba. Afterwards we drive to Telavi and overnight there.
       
Day 12: Telavi - Tbilisi city tour
After breakfast, drive to Tbilisi. We will have Tbilisi tour. We will visit the Old Tbilisi Sulfur Baths, Georgian Orthodox and Armenian Gregorian churches, and a Jewish synagogue and a Turkish mosque side by side, reflecting Tbilisi's acceptance and tolerance of different religions. We can also see a recent monument, the Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the Caucasus. Tour includes following sights: Metekhi Church is erected on the cliff, overlooking the Mtkvari River. The colorful Darejani Palace is also situated on the cliff, like the nest of a swallow. The Sulfur Baths are located in Old Tbilisi, on the other side of the river, opposite Darejani Palace. The Orthodox Narikala St. Nikolas Church is in the same district. The church is furnished with frescoed portraits of martyrs and scenes from the Bible. It is wrapped in a defensive Narikala fortress, established in the fourth century. At Leselidze Street, we come across the 13th century Armenian St. George Church and a Jewish synagogue with an elegant facade. Here you discover Shardeni Street with its fashionable cozy cafes and art galleries. We can taste Georgian wine on Meidani Square, in the wine cellar. Visit Karvasla - a multi - storey building located in the district of Old Tbilisi It was a multifunctional construction used for several commercial units at a time, such as hotels, warehouses, pubs etc. Today Karvasla is the integral part of the historical center of Tbilisi, hence the substantial part of the travel route of the city. The fact that the Museum of History of Tbilisi is located at karvasla, makes that building more prestigious and charming. Finally, the tour takes you to Rustaveli Avenue, where attractions such as the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Parliament, Rustaveli Theatre, different art galleries and cafes will draw your attention and provide a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Visit national museum to see golden treasury of Georgia. Overnight in Tbilisi.
        
Day 13: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Kazbegi
After breakfast, drive to Mtskheta (UNESCO Heritage Site), the ancient capital of Georgia - early kingdom of Iberia. Inhabited since before 1000 BC it was religious centre of the country, where St. Nino converted the country to Christianity in around 337 AD. Located at the crossing of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers and the ancient trade routes, it's clear, that Mtskheta is one of the most important attractions of Georgia. As the centre of cultural tourism, it has very convenient location and is distant from today's capital Tbilisi for only 20 kilometres. Tour includes following sights:  Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, a life-giving pillar - Cathedral of 11th century - Magnificent, both inside and outside, the Cathedral is an important piece of Christian history, as it is a place where Christ’s robe was buried. Jvari Church – 6th century monastery- Jvari, or the Holy Cross Church, stands where a sacred wooden cross was erected in the 4th century by St Nino before she converted Mtskheta (and King Mirian III of Iberia) to Christianity. It was built on a hill overlooking the confluence of the two rivers Mtkvari and Aragvi. Then drive to Kazbegi.
On the way, we pass Ananuri Castle and Jinvali water reservoir of amazing beauty. En route stop and see different local hand made things (thick felt, embroidery, iconographic painting). A stunning drive from Gudauri along the Tergi River will bring us to Kazbegi – the main town in the region.  From Kazbegi a leisurely 1.5 hour walk up through beautiful valleys and woodlands leads us to Gergeti Trinity Church located at 2170m. Weather permitting you may catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – Mt Kazbegi (5047m). Then drive to Dariali Gorge, Georgian – Russian border. Overnight in Kazbegi
          
Day 14: Kazbegi – Tbilisi International Airport – Departure
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Package Includes:
· Hotel accommodation 7 nights  in Armenia, 6 nights in Georgia
· Half  Board meals in Armenia and Georgia, including tastings
· Full transportation and transfers during the whole tour on comfortable buses
· Professional guide
· Entrance fees to all sightseeing destinations
Package does not include:
· Alcoholic beverages
· Optional tours that are not mentioned in the package
· Tips
· Dinners

For more details about the tour please contact us at incoming@spinnaker.am