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Armenia: The Cradle of Christianity

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  • Date: September
  • Destination: Armenia
  • Duration: 8 nights
  • Price: 1789
Destination Armenia
From Dublin
Date June, September, October 2017
Duration 8 Nights
Price From €1,789 pp

Details are for guidance only and are subject to change

Introduction to Armenia

Visit the home of Christianity on this tour of Armenia. Based in the capital, Yerevan, you will spend 8 days discovering the diverse history of this fascinating country. Armenia is one of our most popular tours for culture and history. Visit temples dating back to 1st Century and the sites of Noah’s ark landing according to the Bible.

Itinerary

Day 1: Fly from Dublin to Yerevan, via Paris. Transfer to the hotel and overnight.

Day 2: Breakfast at hotel in morning.

YEREVAN CITY TOUR:

Yerevan: Yerevan once sat at the crossroads of several important trade caravans thus solidifying its importance in the region. Modern Yerevan was redesigned in the early part of the 20th century on top of the old city, creating a series of parks and squares that run through the city centre. The visit will start with the visit to the Matenadaran museum, which houses a unique collection of ancient manuscripts covering such lofty topics as philosophy, law, mathematics, medicine and geography. Genocide Memorial and Museum.

The 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.

Next visit to the Brandy Factory with the tasting of 3 types of cognac.

Day 3: GARNI and GEGHARD

Garni Temple, site of Roman Temple of the Sun built in the 1st century. Soon after Armenia adopted Christianity, the temple became the summer residence of Armenian royalty. Next stop is Geghard the cave Monastery. The name Geghard derives from the relics of the Armenian Apostolic church: the spear that one of the Roman guards had used to pierce the rib of crucified Christ.

This pagan temple of Garni was built in 1st. c. AC and was devoted to one of the Armenian Pagan Gods – Mitra. After Armenia converted to Christianity in the 4th c., the rulers of the country used the temple as their summer residence. King Khosrov stayed there often as the area was his favourite hunting ground. Garni was destroyed when the Arabs conquered Armenia but was rebuilt in the beginning of the 10th c. Its final destruction came in 1638 during the Turkish invasion. A violent earthquake buried what remained from it in 1679. The complete restoration of the temple began in 1970 and was over in 1978.

Geghard was initially known simply as Ayrivank (Cave Monastery). The present buildings comprising it date back to 10-13th cc., at which time it was renamed as Geghard meaning “lance” (spear) in Armenian. The name refers to the biblical lance used by a Roman soldier to pierce Christ’s body to find out if he was alive or not. The lance was kept in Geghard for a long time before being moved to the museum of Echmiadzin Cathedral. The main church, constructed in 1215, is the oldest building in the monastery complex. Avazan church, 1283, is carved right into the solid rock and is an incomparable work of art. It leads to a rectangular portico and then to another church deeper in the rock.

Day 4: LAKE SEVAN and DILIJAN

Breakfast at hotel. Trip to Dilijan spa. Old District of Dilijan.

Dilijan is a famous spa rich in curative mineral springs, some of which are comparable to those at Vichy in France and Davos in Switzerland. The surrounding mountains are covered by forests and Alpine meadows. The climate is rather mild with cool summers and warm sunny winters. Armenians believe that if there are woods, mountains and mineral springs in paradise, then paradise has to look like Dilijan. Its picturesque locality, healthy climate, mineral springs and rich flora attract many tourists.

Sevan, this wonder of nature, is 60 Km from Yerevan on a highway which cuts northward through mountains and rocks. Sevan is so austere and majestic that the gentle turquoise waters are astonishing. They fill the gigantic depression situated at the height of almost 2000 m above sea level. Sevan, with its pure air and sandy beaches, is a popular holiday resort. Sevan has always been famous for its fish “Ishkhan” which means “prince-fish” in Armenian. The fish has graced many Lords’ tables in old times.

Return to Yerevan. Evening free. Overnight in Yerevan.

Day 5: KHOR VIRAP and NORAVANK

A short drive from Yerevan  to Khor Virap Monastery, a once famous pilgrimage site and from where you may witness the stunning views of Mount Ararat. Stop at Areni village for wine tasting at the famous Areni factory.

After proceeding to Vayots Dzor and visit Monastery of Noravank-one of the most splendid monuments of medieval Armenia, built in a location of significant natural beauty.

Khor Virap is a place of pilgrimage for Armenians all over the world. According to history annals, Armenian pagan king Trdat imprisoned Saint Gregory the Illuminator in a cave which became known as Khor Virap. He was the first Patriarch of all Armenians. From here one can enjoy the majestic view of Mount Ararat (where Noah’s ark landed according to the Bible), not too far from the Arax river. Khor Virap is the closest point to Mount Ararat from the territory of Armenia, the most convenient place for observing and taking pictures of the biblical mountain.

Noravank monastery is considered to be the pulpit of Syunik bishops. The main church of St. Karapet was built in 1227. The reliefs on the entrance tympanum and the windows on the western facade are very interesting from an architectural point of view. To the south of the complex one can see a two-storied sepulchre church built in 1339. This tomb monument can be traced to the 4th or 5th centuries. To the right of the entrance of the tympanum, one can find recently discovered stalactite caves. The monastery had been completely reconstructed and reopened in 1999. The magnificent landscape of mountains, surrounding the monastery, display a beautiful array of colours from the sun’s reflection.

Day 6: ECHMIADZIN

Located 30 min outside of the city and considered one of the holiest cities in Armenia. This former capital is now home to the Supreme Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox faith. The main Cathedral was founded by St.Gregory in 303 B.C and sits on a former pagan shrine. Visit of the church of Hripsime, dedicated to the martyred Christian virgin .On the way back visit ruins of Zvartnots Temple. Return to Yerevan and visit to Genocide Memorial and Monument. Later visit to Vernissage -open air market of souvenirs and art works.

This is a masterpiece of architecture and a marvellous example of cross-cupola architecture of the 7th century. Weddings and baptisms are performed here on Saturdays and Sundays. Remnants of very old constructions were discovered under the temple in 1959 while the temple was being restored. Virgin’s tomb lies here in the crypt of the church.

Cathedral of St. Echmiadzin (UNESCO World Heritage). Liturgy (on Sundays only).

This oldest Christian temple was founded in 301 and is one of the first churches in the Christian World. Holy Mass takes place on Sundays in the Cathedral. It is an architectural monument of early Christianity. It houses a unique museum of religious artefacts. There is a small altar in the centre of the Cathedral where, according to legend, Christ descended from Heaven and with a golden hammer pointed to the site upon which the Cathedral was to be built.

Return to Yerevan. En route – Zvartnots temple (UNESCO World Heritage):

Zvartnots, built as Armenia’s main cathedral in 641-661, was to suppress Echmiadzin Cathedral by its grandeur and extraordinary artistic splendour. This determined by the size of the temple, its layout and spatial arrangement, its structural features and its decoration which emphasizes the central axis of the building and its upward sweep. The building consisted of three polyhedrons with rich ornamentation of outer walls and capitals.

Day 7: SANAHIN and HAGHPAT

Tour to Sanahin Monastery which is 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, amidst low structures, they rise sharp against the background of steep forest-grown slopes. The ensembles are complemented by small churches built near them. Among them :churches and chapels, four annexes, sepulchers, bell-towers, the building of the Academy, book depositories, refectories, galleries, bridges and other monumental structures. Return to Yerevan.

Day 8: ASHTARAK and HAMBERD

Ashtarak has many historical and architectural monuments. The most famous is the church of Karmravor, one of the cross-domed kind with its well’ preserved shingled roof. The monastery of Hovhanavank in the village of Hovhanavan, richly decorated with vegetative ornaments, it has a bas-relief with the depiction of Christ on a throne. Hamberd fortress and castle was the familial estate of the Pahlavouni princes. Fragments of the water system, as well as baths and the secret passage to the canyon are preserved.

Hamberd Fortress and Church of Pahlavouni Princes:

Hamberd fortress stands at an elevation of 2300 meters above sea level on the high cape, in the canyon of two rivers high upon the southern slope of Mount Aragats. It is considered to be the only preserved monument of secular type on the territory of Armenia. The fortress, founded in the 7th century by Pahlavouni princes, had its own water-supply pipe which channels springs from the Aragats Mountain. The church inside the fortress was built in 1026 as shown by the date inscribed on the door.

Day 9: Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Dublin, via Paris.

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Price inclusions

  • Flight Dublin to Yerevan, Via Paris
  • Airport transfer to your hotel
  • 8 nights accommodation in the 4* Ani Plaza Hotel or similar
  • Meals on a B&B basis
  • Tours each day, outlined in the itinerary
  • The use of luxury coaches throughout
  • Return transfer from your hotel to airport
  • Flight Yerevan to Dublin, via Paris
  • Services of guide and local representatives
  • Taxes, charges & 20kg

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Booking remarks

  • Inclusive of taxes and service charges as indicated
  • Single room supplement €200
  • Non refundable or transferable booking deposit €200 per person
  • Full payment due on receipt of confirmation if within 16 weeks
  • 2% surcharge if balance is paid by credit card
  • Optional Insurance €48 (conditions apply)
  • Taxes, charges or compulsory charges introduced after publication are not included in the above price

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Accommodation details

Yerevan – 4* Ani Plaza Hotel or similar – 8 Nights

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Dates and Prices

Date Price
05 June 2017 €1,789
11 September 2017 €1,789
02 October 2017 €1,789

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