Armenia is one of those unique countries which provides a huge experience of Christian heritage. The country is known for its remarkable architectural monuments, wonderful churches and monasteries and khachkars (cross-stones), it is the land where Noah’s ark settled on the top of Ararat Mountain according to the bible, the first country in the world to proclaim Christianity as its State religion in 301 AD. It is the country that provides excellent opportunities for pilgrimages and spiritual vacation.
This 8 days Pilgrimage and Religious tour in Armenia includes most sanctuary parts of our historical country with a number of churches and monastic Complexes. Three overnights are in Yerevan, capital city of Armenia, four overnights are in different towns of Armenia. Armenia has 11 regions including the capital – Yerevan. During this tour you will have the opportunity to see 9 of them.
If you are interested in experiencing monasteries and sanctuaries and take unforgettable memories with you as well as in gaining more knowledge about one of the oldest countries in the world then join us in our ”Crossing Routes of Pilgrimage” trip.
Let’s cross the routes of pilgrimage together!
Type of tour: Guided pilgrimage tour in Armenia
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
Distance: 840 km / 522 miles
Group size: 1 + pax
Accommodation: Hotels, B&B
Best period: April – November
Start/End point: Yerevan, Armenia
DAY 1: Arrival
Arrive at the airport. Meet and greet, transfer to the accommodation.
Transfer: 15 km / 10 mile
DAY 2: Yerevan City tour – Garni – Geghard – Yerevan
Start tour in the capital of Armenia and explore the important sightseeing places of 2794 years old Yerevan city including Food Market where we can taste and buy home-made dried fruit and fresh vegetables. Walk on Aram Street and meet the sculptor who carves khachkars (cross-stones) just right in his workroom. Be a witness of how these masterpieces are being made. Drive to Kotayk province and visit Garni fortress (3rd-2nd cc. 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 Azat River, there is an outstanding monument of medieval Armenian architecture – Geghard monastery (4-12th cc.) listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Geghardavank means “the Monastery of the Spear”, originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Echmiadzin treasury.
Distance: 120 km / 75 miles
DAY 3: Yerevan – Sevanavank – Lake Sevan – Haghartsin – Dilijan
Drive towards 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. At that time there was a big rock placed in the island, the pilgrims were tacking a nails into that rock with a faith that if the nail is straight than their sacrament would be blessed. Nowadays this rock is removed from the area. Note that the track leading to the monastery consists of 220 stairs. Afterwards take a nice Boat Trip in a replica of 13th century merchant sailing ship of Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. Continue our pilgrimage and pass Sevan-Dilijan tunnel. We appear in the fabulous forested resort town of Dilijan. Visit Haghartsin monastery (10-14th cc.) nestled in a temperate rainforest on a mountainside. It is one of those spots in Armenia that feels like you are walking through a huge, unreal movie set.
Distance: 125 km / 76 miles
DAY 4: Dilijan – Goshavank – Odzun – Akhtala – Alaverdi
Drive towards the impressive monastic complex of Goshavank (12-13th cc.) which has remained in relatively good condition also houses one of the world’s finest examples of a khachkars (cross-stone). Drive to Odzun village and visit the famous Church which is a rare example of a domed basilica built at the end of the 6th century. According to legend, in the 1st century Thomas the Apostle came to Odzun and ordained priest and bishops in the place of the church. He brought with him Christ’s swaddling clothes which are buried under the altar of the church. There is a VI century record attesting to this above the southern door of the church. Drive to Akhtala monastery (10th c.) fortified Armenian Apostolic Church monastery. The fortress played a major role in protecting the north-western regions of Armenia and is among the most well preserved of all in modern Armenia. The main church at the compound is famous for its highly artistic frescoes, which cover the inside walls, the partitions, and the bearings of the building.
Distance: 182 km / 113 miles
DAY 5: Alaverdi – Haghpat – Sanahin – Gyumri
Drive to medieval Armenian monastery complexes of Haghpat (976 AD) and Sanahin (966 AD) which are inscribed in UNESCO world heritage list. Both were built in the same era and both have played an important role in the spiritual and cultural life of Armenia. The two monasteries symbolize the highest blossoming of Armenian religious architecture, unique styles developed from a blending of elements of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture and the traditional vernacular architecture of the Caucasian region. Transfer to the second largest city of Armenia. Gyumri is the cultural center of Armenia known for its traditions and talented people. Evening is free.
Distance: 137 km / 85 miles
DAY 6: Gyumri – Mastara – Talin – Arutch – Yerevan
Start this day and drive to The Church of St. Hovanes (5th c.), also known as Mastara Church in the village of Mastara. According to the historical sources relics of St. John the Baptist brought by Grigor the Illuminator (Lusavorich) from Caesarea, are buried here. That’s why the village is called Mastara (“mas” is translated from Armenian as “relics”). Continue to T’alin Cathedral (7th c.) is one of the most imposing churches in Armenia in both size and height. On the interior, T’alin contains remnants of important wall paintings. Christ’s entry into Jerusalem is represented on the south wall and the only existing Armenian example of a wall painting showing Christ in a medallion with busts of the apostles surround the apse arch. Drive towards Yerevan and visit Aruch village on the way where we can see the Cathedral (7th c.) a remarkable monument of Armenian architecture and the Caravanserai (13th c.) a medieval roadside inn which had an important role in the development of international trade.
Distance: 129km / 80 miles
DAY 7: Yerevan – Echmiadzin – Khor Virap – Yerevan
Transfer to the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the worldwide Armenian Church. Visit the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin (302-303 AD) the oldest state-built church in the world and the seat of the Catholicos. Participate in liturgy. Visit St.Hripsime church (7th c.). Hripsime was a Christian nun who refused to marry the roman emperor and left to Armenia. These sights are listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Transfer 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. It is where Grigor Lusavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) was imprisoned for 13 years before adapting Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD.
Distance: 117 km / 72 miles
DAY 8: Departure
Transfer to the airport. Have a safe flight home.
Transfer: 15 km / 10 miles