Day 1. Arrival in Yerevan, meeting at the airport, transfer to the accommodation, sightseeing tour of the city (optional),greeting dinner
- Yerevan is one of the ancient cities in the world, founded in 782 B.C. by Argishti II. During the excursion you’ll attend the Republic Square, which had been building for 50 years by different architects, nevertheless a perfect architectural ensemble has been made; Opera and Ballet National Academic Theatre is a unique architectural complex in the center of Yerevan; Ring boulevard, where you’ll see monuments to Andranik Zoravar, Griboedov, Zoravar Vartan Mamikonyan, Michael Nalbandyan, Ivan Aivazovsky; St. Grigor Lusavorich Cathedral; Cinema ‘’Russia’’, Komitas Chamber Music House, Cascade hills, Yerevan train station of Sasuntsi David, which has become the symbol of Yerevan.
- Visiting "Erebuni" Historical and Archaeological Museum
- Greeting dinner
Day 2. Etchmiadzin, Hripsime, Shoghakat, Gayane, Sardarapat, National Museum of Armenian Ethnography, Zvartnots
- Etchmiadzin is 15 km from Yerevan. This place is worshiped by Armenians all over the world, because here is the center of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Etchmiadzin, the former name of which is Vagharshapat, was founded in the first half of the II century on the site of ancient colony Vardgesavan. Since 163, after the destruction of Artashat by the Romans, the town has become the political, cultural, and later the religious and enlightening center of the country.
- St. Hripsime Church before the entrance to Etchmiadzin stands a magnificent St. Hripsime Temple. Hripsime is the name of a martyr, whose grave is located in the tomb, under the altar. On the site of her death in the fourth century A.C. was built a chapel, and in the seventh century Catholicos Komitas erected a temple.
- St. Shoghakat Church. Shoghakat is the name of one of the 40 martyrs, whose grave is also under the altar. It is located not far from the St. Hripsime Church. According to a blindly accepted belief, the temple got its name from the name of a virgin, who perished there. However, the name of the martyr, according to а legend, is Marine. The name ‘’Shoghakat’’ is connected with the vision of Grigor Lusavorich and means ‘’descending ray’’. The church was built in the XVII century.
- St. Gayane Church is south from the temple of Etchmiadzin. It was built in 630 by the designation of Catholicos Ezra, on the site of a chapel, erected in the place, where, according to the same legend, was buried Gayane, the abbess of virgin-christians and the governess of Hripsime, who also accepted martyrdom and, like Hripsime, was convicted to a rank of saints. In the southern aisle, near the altar apse, the relics of Hripsime are at rest.
- St. Etchmiadzin Cathedral in 301 Christianity became the state religion in Armenia. According to a legend, the first patriarch Grigor Lusavorich had a vision as the only begotten, Jesus Christ, came down from heaven with a flaming hammer in his hands and indicated the place for building the Cathedral. There, where was an ancient pagan temple, in 303 was built the church, named Etchmiadzin, which in Armenian means “Descent of the Only Begotten Son".
- Sardarapat is a sculptural and architectural complex, 45 km west from Yerevan. It was founded in 1968, In honor of the triumph of the Armenians over Turkish Invaders in 1918, when the Turkish troops intruded into Ararat valley and occupied Sardarapat village. The decisive battle for the Armenians took place in May of 1918 and was crowned with victory. This memorial complex doesn’t have any analogs in Armenian Architecture, it harmoniously combines the sculpture and architecture from red tuff.
- National Museum of Armenian Ethnography is a scientific and cultural, educational complex, where the historical exhibits, referring to the cultural heritage of the Armenians from ancient times till our days, are kept, studied and exhibited since ancient times. It was founded in 1968 as a part of Memorial Complex of Sardarapat. The architect of the whole complex and museum is Rafael Israelyan.
- Zvartnots Temple is 10 km from Yerevan. The construction of the Temple of Watching Forces began in 641-643 and had been conducting for 20 years. The initiator of the construction was Catholicos Nerses III the Builder (Shinarar), who engaged masters from ancient Armenian town Dvin, a city which was famous for its beauty. Extant to our days remains of Zvartnots are witnessing the glory of the building.
Day 3. Garni, Geghard
- The temple of Garni is 28 km south-west from Yerevan, over the gorge of the River Azat is located a fortress of the same name. On the hill, surrounded by vineyards, rise the remains of the pagan temple (the I century). The pagan temple Garni is the only monument to the epoch of Hellenism in Armenia. The temple, dedicated to the sun goddess Mythra, was built in the second half of the first century, in the days of Tiridates I.
- Geghard Monastery is 7 km north-west from Garni, above the gorge of the River Azat. There was founded a cloister named Ayrivank (Cave-Monastery) because of its location in natural and artificial caves. The later name of the Monastery – Geghard, church legends connect with the spear, once kept there, the one, with which Jesus Christ was pierced by one of the Romanian legionaries, guarding him.
The diamond-shaped tip plate of that spear nowadays is kept in the Museum of Armenian Church in Etchmiadzin.
Day 4. Lake Sevan, Sevanavank, Dilijan, Haghartsin, Goshavank
- Lake Sevan, a nature miracle, adjoining the sky, the most beautiful of all the high-mountain lakes, is located in a huge thicket at the height of 1916 meters above sea level, it is the largest in the Caucasus region, 1240 km2, with the depth up to 83 meters. The Sevan is 63 km north from Yerevan. It is fed by 28 rivers and streams, the only flowing out river is the River Hrazdan. Its water is clear and pure, according to a legend, only stars and gods drank water from the Sevan.
- Sevanavank Monastery is 6 km west from the town of Sevan, on Sevan peninsula. Before the shallowing of the lake, the peninsula was a small island, separated from the land by a three-kilometer stride. At the end of the VIII century a few monarchs settled there. The congenial location of the island contributed to the enlargement of the monastic brethren and the dynamic construction of the Monastery.
- Dilijan is 99 km north from Yerevan. Dilijan is the climatic and balneological mountain resort of Armenia, which is famous abroad for its wonderful beauty.
- Haghartsin Monastery is 18 km west from Dilijan, in a wooded valley of the Ijevan range. It was built in the XI-XIII centuries.
- Goshavank Monastery is 20 km west from Dilijan, 8 km from Dilijan-Ijevan highway, in Gosh village, on the right bank of the River Getik. The Monastery was constructed in the XII century, on the site of ancient Getik Monastery, ruined in 1188 by an earthquake.
Day 5. Ashtarak, Karmravor, St. Marine, Oshakan. Mastara, Talin, Aruch
- Ashtarak is located on the bank of the River Kasakh, 20 km north-east from Yerevan. Ashtarak is one of the oldest towns of Armenia with a variety of monuments of Material culture.
- Karmravor Church the most famous monument of Ashtarak is well preserved Karmravor Church, built in the VII century. This is the only monument in Armenia, tiled roof of which retained until our days.
- St. Marine Church is located in Ashtarak and was built in 1281. St. Marine Church is devoted to one of the 40 virgin martyrs.
- Village Oshakan is 4 km south from Ashtarak. Here is the burial place of great Armenian Saint Mesrop Mashtots, the creator of the alphabets of very different in language nations – Armenian, Georgian and Albanian Caucasians. Above the grave of Saint Mesrop Mashtots, located in the south-east of the village, in 443 was built a small chapel by Vahagn Amatuni, where in 1875-1879 was built a church by Catholicos George III. On the right side, near the altar, was a tomb, where in the foundation of an ancient chapel, under the marble tombstone, the relics of Mesrop Mashtots are at rest.
- Village Mastara is 75 km north-west from Yerevan, here is located St. John (Surb Hovhannes) Church, founded in the V century. The architectural style of the temple symbolizes the transition of Armenian church from simple compositions to complex church structures, like the church of St. Hripsime in Etchmiadzin.
- Talin is 9 km from the village of Mastara and 66 km from Yerevan. In the V-VII centuries it was the center of Armenian princedom. In the city there is a religious complex of the Cathedral of Talin, consisting of the small church of Talin and the big temple, which were built by Kamsarakan brothers in the VII century.
- Village Aruch is 50 km north-east from Yerevan, where is located one of the largest churches in Armenia – St. George Cathedral, built in 666. Before the turn to Aruch there is also a caravanserai (a palace or house for rest on the trade route) of the XIII century.
Day 6. Khor Virap, Areni, Noravank Monastery
- Khor Virap, an architectural monument of the XVII century, monastery-fortress, is located on the hill, near the village of Pokr Verdi. In ancient times here used to be a historical city Artashat, one of ancient capitals of Armenia. The Monastery is one of the saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the place of pilgrimage. On the site of the monastery-fortress there used to be czar’s prison ‘’Virap’’, a deep pit, filed with poisonous snakes and insects, where condemned prisoners were thrown. Here bore his anguishes Saint Grigor Lusavorich, the initiator of acceptance of Christianity in Armenia (301). According to a legend, he was imprisoned in the dungeon by the order of King Tiridates III and spent there 13 years.
- Village Areni is one of the oldest villages of historical Syunik. The significance of the village was explained, first of all, by its geographical location on exit from a gorge, connecting Vayots Dzor with the valley of Sharur. Thereby, the village was not only a resting-place, but also an important military point. On the surrounding heights military fortifications were built. In the XIII century King Orbelyan Tarsaich built a palace here. By his order Bishop Sarkis (1265-1287) of Noravank built a three-arch bridge near Areni on the river, the foundation of which remained till our days. In 1321 by the order of Bishop Hovhannes of Syunik the architect Momik built St. Astvatsatsin Church in Areni.
- Dinner, wine degustation
- Noravank Monastery is located among fancy sheer red cliffs at the mouth of a meandering gorge. The Monastery was founded in the XII century on the site of ancient buildings. In the days of King Orbelyan it became a major religious center, and in the XIV century – the residence of the Bishops of Syunik. The gorge is famous for sheer red cliffs, rising behind the Monatery, on the territory of which is located a two-story St. Astvatsatsin Church with narrow cantilevered staircases. This Church, the construction of which was finished in 1339, is considered the last masterpiece of a talented Armenian sculptor and miniaturist Momik.
Day 7. Check out, Transfer to the airport