“Beyond The Border” 14 days

artsakh, karabakh, арцах, карабах, тур, армения

Tour Description:

Among our cultural/historical trips this tour is the longest one which stretches from the south to north and from the east to west including the most remarkable sights of Armenia together with Nagorno Karabakh. Four overnights are in capital city of Armenia, tree overnights are in Karabakh, the other six overnights are in different towns of Armenia: in the resort town of Jermuk, on the shores of Lake Sevan, in the town of Dilijan and in the town of Gyumri. Armenia has 11 regions including the capital – Yerevan. During this tour you will have the opportunity to see 10 of them as well as NagornoKarabakh with its fascinating nature and historical places.

During your cultural/historical tour you will get acquainted with Armenian culture and cuisine while communicating with the locals and feel the similarities as well as differences between traditions, customs and people of Armenia and NagornoKarabakh. This journey will show you the most popular major sights and attractions in the quite remote areas of two countries.

If you are interested in experiencing something new and fill your day with unalike impressions at home with the hospitable people as well as in gaining more knowledge about one of the oldest countries in the world than join us in our ‘’Beyond the Border’’ trip.

Let’s cross the border together!

Type of tour: Guided cultural tour in Armenia

Duration: 14 days/13 nights

Distance: 1668 km / 1037 miles

Group size:  2 + pax

Accommodation: Hotels, B&B

Best period: May – November

Start/End point: Yerevan, Armenia

 

Tour route:

beyond_the_border

Highlights:

  • Religious center of Echmiadzin city and Zvartnots temple (UNESCO)
  • Matenadaran – Armenia’s state repository of ancient manuscripts
  • Khor Virap monastery where Armenian first Catholicos has been imprisoned for 13 years
  • Vayots Dzor region with Noravank monastery and Areni winery
  • Spectacular and stunning Syunik region with Khndzoresk cave village, Tatev monastery, Karahoonj observatory that  is older than Stonehenge in England and Armenia’s biggest waterfall Shaki
  • Nagorno Karabakh Republic with the most beautiful sights including historical Tigranakert city, Gandzasar monastery, Dadivank monastery, 2000 years old huge plane tree, etc
  • The highest freshwater lake in Caucasus, Lake Sevan with the monastery on the peninsula
  • Tavush region with Dilijan resort town known as the small Switzerland, Makaravank medieval architectural church complex and recreational Yenokavan village
  • Lermontovo village where Molokans live, a national and religious Russian minority
  • Lori region with Haghpat and Sanahin monastic complexes (UNESCO) and Dendropark Botanical Garden
  • Aragatsotn region with Hovhanavank and Saghmosavank monasteries
  • Kotayk region with the only pagan temple in Armenia Garni and Geghard monastery (UNESCO)

 

Detailed Itinerary:

DAY 1:    Arrival

Depart from your country and start a nice journey to Caucasus Region. Arrive at the airport. Meet and greet, transfer to the accommodation.

Meals: (–/–/–)

Overnight: Yerevan

Transfer: Airport / Hotel

 

DAY 2:    Yerevan City tour – Tsitsernakaberd – Echmiadzin – Zvartnots– Yerevan

Echmiadzin

Start tour in the capital of Armenia and explore the important sightseeing places of 2796 years old Yerevan city including Food Market where we can taste and buy home-made dried fruit and fresh vegetables. Visit Genocide museum with Tsitsernakaberd Monument designed to memorialize the innocent victims of the first Genocide of the 20th century. Depart for the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the worldwide Armenian Church. Visit St Hripsime church (7th c.). Hripsime was a Christian nun who refused to marry the roman emperor and left to Armenia. Visit the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin (302-303 AD) the oldest state-built church in the world and the seat of the Catholicos. Return to Yerevan and stopover for Zvartnots temple (means “celestial angels”) 7th century wonderful architectural masterpiece. The remnants of Zvartnots, even in ruins, are a majestic sight. These sights are listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Meals:(B/–/–)

Overnight: Yerevan

Distance: 90 km / 56 miles

 

DAY 3:    Yerevan – Carpet Factory – Khor Virap –Areni – Noravank – Yeghegnadzor

Noravank

Drive to the Carpet Factory which is a great opportunity not only to see the unique examples of handmade rugs but also to watch the process of the rug weaving. Sightseeing tour to historical Khor-Virap monastery (4- 17th cc) with a beautiful view to the biblical Ararat Mountain, were Noah’s arch cast anchor. Khor-Virap monastery (means «deep dungeon») rests atop a little hill in an otherwise very flat Ararat Valley; it is where Grigor Luisavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) was imprisoned for 13 years before adapting Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD. Proceed and visit Areni wine factory to taste local wine made from special sorts of vines. Visit Noravank 13th c. (means “New Monastery”) a masterpiece of Armenian architecture which is situated in a narrow gorge and encircled by tall, sheer, brick-red cliffs highlighting spectacular nature of Vayots Dzor province. Drive to Yeghegnadzor.

Meals:(B/–/–)

Overnight: Yeghegnadzor

Distance: 170 km / 105 miles

 

DAY 4:    Yeghegnadzor– Karahunj – Shaki waterfall – Tatev – Goris

Shaki-Waterfall_small

Drive to the first observatory in the world – Karahunj (kar-means stone, hunj-means voice, sound). It has a history of 7.500 years and scientists believe that there is a tight connection between the observatory in Armenia and Stonehenge in Britain, since the latter is much younger (about 4000 years). Continue the trip and stop to admire Shaki Waterfall Armenia’s highest waterfall (18 m) on the left side of Vorotan River Gorge. Drive to the 9th century Tatev monastic complex located on a large basalt plateau near the village of the same name in part of Zangezur. Monastery is known for the unique monument called“Gavazan” (pillar) which aimed to give early warning signals about possible earthquakes and invaders.Proceed to Goris – a beautiful city with a very charming regional style of stone architecture surrounded by high mountains and some great rock formations striving to the sky with ancient cave settlement.

Meals:(B/–/–)

Overnight: Goris

Distance: 205 km / 124.5 miles

 

DAY 5:    Goris – Khndzoresk – Shushi– Stepanakert

Shusha

Start city tour in Goris. Drive 20 minutes and appear in a fantastic cave village with a picturesque view to the ruins of an old village, churches, tombs, nature, springs and a new bridge that spans the gorge. Khndzoresk is an ideal place for hiking. In the end of the 19th century Old Khndzoresk was the biggest village of Eastern Armenia. Our next destination is Nagorno Karabagh. Drive to the border and after visa regulations proceed to the cultural centre of Karabagh–Shousi. Sightseeing at the beautiful Holy AmenaprkichGhazanchetsots Cathedral (1868-1887). Drive to Stepanakert the capital city of Nagorno Kharabakh.

Meals:(B/–/–)

Overnight: Sepanakert

Distance: 130 km / 81 miles

 

DAY 6:    Stepanakert – Amaras monastery – Azokh cave – Stepanakert

Amaras

Start city tour in the capital of the NagornoKarabakh Republic – Stepanakert nestled in a bowl of mountains. Visit the central bazzar to taste juicy local fruits, vegetables, greens, dried cornel that is made only in Karabagh. Visit ‘’We and our Mountains’’ monument that considered to be a national landmark. Continue tour and visit Amaras Monastery (4th c.) one of the most treasured historical and religious sites of the South Caucasus, and one of the world’s oldest Christian monuments. Drive to HadrutDistrict to visit the Stone Age cave-settlemen situated between Azokh and Drakhtik villages, excavated for 18 years. On the way back to Stepanakert visit a huge plane tree (54m) that is more than 2030 years old.

Meals:(B/–/–)

Overnight: Stepanakert

Distance: 160 km / 99.5 miles

 

DAY 7:    Stepanakert – Askeran – Tigranakert – Gandzasar

Tigranakert

Drive to Askeran’s remarkable fort (18th century). Since ancient times the fort together with the medieval Armenian village next to it has been called Mayraberd. Continue tour and visit Tigranakert (an important archaeological site) a ruined Armenian city dating back to the Hellenistic period.  Visit Tigranakert Hellenistic city museum. Drive to Vank village with an interesting entertainment complex. Visit Gandzasar Monastery (10-13thcc.) one of the most renowned and well-preserved ecclesiastical complexes of medieval Armenia and a first-class example of outstanding universal value of the Armenian architectural and decorative tradition. Walk and explore the village.

Meals:(B/–/–)

Overnight: Gandzasar

Distance: 89km / 56 miles

 

DAY 8:    Gandzasar – Sarsang reservoir – Dadivank – Jermajur –Tsapatagh

Jermajur

Drive through Drmbon village and reach Sarsang reservoir a large lake formed by a hydroelectric dam (125 m) with beautiful surrounding nature. Proceed to the most magical place in all of Karabakh–Dadivank monastery (9-13th cc.) where the road winds along a gorge with a river and beautiful forests. Turn off the road towards the natural warm water which comes from underground. The water stream runs up to 7m. The mineral water has healing property. Return to the main road and continue to Vardenis town. Drive to the village Tsapatagh.

Meals:(B/–/–)

Overnight: Tsapatagh village

Distance: 250 km / 155 miles

 

DAY 9:    Tsapatagh – Sevan – Dilijan – Makaravank – Yenokavan

sevan

Drive along the lake Sevan the largest lake in Armenia and the Caucasus region. It is also one of the largest fresh-water high-altitude lakes in the world. This huge mountain lake is situated at an altitude of about 1,900 meters above sea level. Visit Sevanavank 9th c. (Sevan monastery) located in the peninsula which used to be an island before. Note that the track leading to the monastery consists of 220 stairs. Passing Sevan-Dilijan tunnel we appear in the fabulous forested resort town of Dilijan. Stop at the town for a short walk and rest. Continue trip and visit Makaravank (10-13th cc.) a medieval architectural church complex situated on the forested slopes of the Bazum mountain ridge. Drive to Yenokavan village and enjoy the evening.

Meals:(B/–/–)

Overnight: Yenokavan village

Distance: 200 km / 124 miles

 

DAY 10:  Yenokavan free day

Enjoy your free day in a wonderful recreational resort surrounded by beautiful nature. Ride a horse in the vicinity of high mountains, hike to the virgin forests along the bank of the Aghstev (Khachaghbyur) or just have a rest and to get ready for the next day.

Meals:(B/–/–)

Overnight: Yenokavan village

 

DAY 11:  Yenokavan – Lermontovo – Sanahin and Haghpat Monasteries – Stepanavan

Haghpat

Drive to Lermontovo village to meet Molokans a religious movement, among the Russian peasants that refused to obey the Russian Orthodox Church in the beginning of 17th century.  It has the feel of an ethnic Russian village where villagers live according to long-held traditions. After a nice host in Molokans’ village drive to medieval Armenian monastery complexes of Haghpat (976 AD) and Sanahin (966 AD) which are inscribed in UNESCO world heritage list. Continue the trip across the river Debed and drive to Stepanavan.

Meals:(B/–/–)

Overnight: Stepanavan

Distance: 210 km / 130.5 miles

 

DAY 12:  Stepanavan – Dendropark – Hovhanavank – Saghmosavank – Yerevan

Hovhannavank

At the head of Stepanavan’s central square, the Stepan Shahumyan museum is situated.  After visiting the museum drive to Dendropark Botanical Garden (35 hectare) that features a diversity of tree species brought from different regions of the world. It is also a place of rest, green and fresh, even during hottest times of summer. Continue and visit the monastery complexes of Hovhannavank (4-13th cc.) and Saghmosavank (13th c.) are five kilometers apart and perch on the edge of the precipitous gorge of the Kasakh river.The most ancient structure in Hovhannavank is a basilica typical of the fifth century. Return to Yerevan and enjoy the evening.

Meals:(B/–/–)

Overnight: Yerevan

Distance: 170 km / 105 miles

 

DAY 13:  Yerevan – Matenadaran – Garni – Geghard – Yerevan

Garni

Visit the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts –Matenadaran the state repository that holds one of the world’s richest depositories of medieval manuscripts and books. Drive to Kotayk province and visit Garni fortress (3rd-2ndcc.BC) the summer residence of the kings and Garni temple (1st c.) which is the only survived pagan temple of heathen culture in Armenia. Nowadays the ruins of the royal palace and the bathroom with a stunning mosaic work can be found near the temple.  Northeast of Garni, higher up the gorge of Azatriver, there is an outstanding monument of medieval Armenian architecture –Geghard monastery (4-12th cc.) listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Drive back to Yerevan. Free evening.

Meals:(B/–/–)

Overnight: Yerevan

Distance: 80 km / 50 miles

 

DAY 14:  Departure

Transfer to the airport 2 hours before the departure. Have a safe flight home.

Meals:(–/–/–)

Transfer: Hotel / Airport

 

For more details concerning to the holiday availability go on How to Book or simply send us an e-mail to info@ayastour.com.

Photos by: Vigen Hakhverdyan, Ashot Arushanyan


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