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Armenia - the Cradle of Christianity!
6 days / 5 nights

Welcome to the open-air museum of Christianity

Pilgrimage tour

Every Christian should visit the country, which  in the year 301  was the first country in the world to be declared a Christian nation. And this country is  Armenia with the biblical Mount Ararat, where  Noah's Ark landed after the Great Flood.

You will have  a  unique opportunity to touch  great relics and visit  holy places. You will see  Khor Virap monastery and  the deep  pit, where Gregory the Illuminator, the first  official head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, was imprisoned for 14 years; admire the magnificent panoramic view of Mount Ararat; visit the Armenian Vatican, Etchmiadzin Cathedral, which houses the greatest relic of Christianity - the tip of the spear that pierced Jesus’s  body; visit  Geghard, where according to legend Spear of Longinus was  stored, and many other churches and monasteries of  Armenia, the cradle of Christianity! 

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Day 1. Yerevan - Matenadaran - City tour - Tsitsernakaberd - St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral

Arrival in Yerevan. Meeting at the airport and transfer to the  hotel.

After accommodation and a short rest  you will have a  City tour around our  colorful and hospitable Yerevan; You will visit  the Matenadaran, the Museum of Ancient Manuscripts, you will also see the architectural composition of the Grand Cascade and the statue of Mother Armenia in Victory Park. Then the tour continues to the heart of Yerevan, to the Republic Square. The next point of the tour is  St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral, one of most beautiful   churches built  in recent years.

Our City - tour  will end in  Sergei Parajanov’s  museum. Return to the hotel.

Day 2. Echmiadzin - Zvartnots -  St. Sargis Church

In the morning after breakfast we start a trip to the most sacred place for all Armenians, the Armenian Vatican, Etchmiadzin,  the  official residence of the Catholicos of All Armenians, the supreme head of the Armenian Church.

Since 1441 the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has been the administrative headquarters of the Armenian Church. The word <>  translated  from Armenian sounds like the " "the Descent of the Only-Begotten ".  There are main Christian relics stored in Echmiadzin: The Holy Lance spear that pierced the side of Jesus, a  fragment of   Noah's Ark and others.

You can also visit  St. Gayane, St. Hripsime and St.Shokagat  churches  which  along with the  Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin  were added to  the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

On the way back  we will visit the ruins of ancient Zvartnots Cathedral, another  site listed as  World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.    On arriving  in Yerevan-visit to St. Sargis Church located  over the Hrazdan Gorge, where opens  a  wonderful view of  Victory Bridge.

Return to the hotel.

Day 3. Khor Virap - Noravank

Breakfast in the hotel. The excursion will start with a trip to the roots of Christianity, the monastery of Khor Virap, which keeps the history of   Christianity  adoption in Armenia: according to legend,  here   in a deep pit, Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 14 years . The name of the monastery is translated as a "deep pit". This monastery was built on the site of Artashat , the ancient capital of Armenia; the oldest building  of the monastic complex,   the chapel of St, Gregory,  was built in 642.

 The walls of Khor Virap  monastery  overlook  a proudly standing  magnificent Mount Ararat, the symbol of Nairi  country

The  next holy place that you will visit is  Noravank monastery, located  among  the picturesque red rocks of Vayots Dzor,  in the valley of the river Arnie. The  name of the monastery is translated from Armenian as "a new monastery". Noravank was built  by great masters in the 13th century.

Noravank was a major religious center of Armenia for  many years. The monastery complex includes the Churches  of St. Karapet, St. Asvattsatsin with refined decoration of the facade and the chapel of St. Gregory. The several cross-stones, which are  preserved on the territory of Noravank are unique. The most famous and most beautiful of them was created by famous master Momik.

Return to Yerevan.

Day 4. Kobayr - Sanahin - Haghpat - Akhtala

In the morning after breakfast we will proceed to Lori region, which is rich in churches and monastic complexes.

The first church, which is expected to visit is  Kobayr monastery.

Kobayr monastery was built in 1171 on the high slopes of the gorge over  the Debed river by two sisters, Kyurikyan princesses. The monastery was severely damaged by an  earthquake and now it is an  impressive architectural structure consisting  of a  bell tower-tomb,  a chapel,  cross-stones and the remains of the fortress walls with unique frescoes depicting the Virgin Maria  and saints’ figures.

The next points of our  pilgrimage tour  are the monastic  complexes  included in the list of World Human Heritage  by UNESCO - Sanahin and Haghpat, located near the town of Alaverdi.  Sanahin Monastery, located in a  village by  the canyon of  the Debed   River,  covers an area of ​​about 2 hectares. The legend says that it is the place where in the 4th  century Gregory the Illuminator laid   a stone cross.

The largest monument of Sanahin complex is  the Church of Amenaprkich. The main attraction of the church is considered a sculpture  presented in the form of kings Kyurike and Smbat   holding a model of the church. In 1061 a small chapel of St. Gregory was built.

Haghpat Monastery is located in  the north-east,   not far from  Alaverdi  town. According to historical documents   Haghpat  was built in  the middle of the 10th  century.

On the territory of Haghpat monastery complex  there were  built several churches, chapels, bell towers,  libraries.

The next destination of our tour is  Akhtala Monastery, which is located not far from Akhtala  town on a high ledge of the mountain.

Akhtala was founded in the 10th  century as one of the forts and till  the 14th  century was called Phindza-hunk which translated from Armenian as "copper mine". In the 11th  century  the fort of  Akhtala was an important strategic place  for  Kyurikids kingdom. At the beginning of the 18th   century Akhtala monastery  became  abandoned.   And when in 1801 the Russian Emperor Alexander I issued a decree about the transformation of the monastery in the center of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Caucasus, the Akhtala became an important place of pilgrimage for Greeks. Every year on September 21, they come to  Akhtala  to celebrate  the Birth of  the Holy  Virgin.

 Return to Yerevan.

 

Day 5. Kecharis - Sevan - Goshavank - Haghartsin

On this day, you will  get acquainted with most beautiful monasteries  which are  located in wonderful  picturesque places in  Armenia.

Drive to the resort town of Tsakhkadzor to visit Kecharis monastery . This  is an  ensemble of ancient buildings and a classic example of medieval Armenian architecture. The monastery complex consists of four churches, two chapels,  an ancient cemetery with cross stones - khachkars – of the 12-13th centuries. The construction of Kecharis monastery  began in the  11th century. But  it was completed   only in the middle of the 13th century.

The tour will continue  to Dilijan, where 18 kilometers away monastery complexes of Haghartsin and Goshavank are located  in a picturesque valley. Haghartsin   is a complex of buildings, and is considered as  a monument of medieval Armenian architecture. The earliest monastic buildings date back to the 11th century.

Goshavank Monastery  is a medieval monastery complex of the 12-13th centuries. It is located 20 km east from the town of Dilijan, in the village of Gosh, among the village houses and mountain rivers. The monastery was founded by an outstanding   theologian and priest Mkhitaryan Gosh, with the assistance of Prince Ivan Zakaryan. For many centuries Goshavank monastery was one of the main religious, cultural and educational centers in medieval Armenia.

The next stop is at  Lake Sevan, where you will see one of  the main sights  of this region - Sevan Monastery, built in 874.

Return to Yerevan.

 

Day 6. Gegard

Last monastery that you visit during  our  religious tour will Gegard  monastery,  one of the largest complexes in Armenia, and perhaps the most beautiful monument of  cultural heritage of mankind.

The monastery was founded in the 4th  century on the site of the cave mountain spring, and it gave it  the first name: Ayrivank "Cave Monastery".  According to legend   the present   name Gegardavank "Monastery of the Lance"  got after  apostle Thaddeus had  brought the spear of Longinus to Armenia   (Now it is kept in Echmiadzin).  Some parts of the monastic buildings were  carved  out of the rock.  Geghard  monastery as well as surrounding gorge are included in the list of World Human Heritage  by UNESCO.  

Return to Yerevan.

Depending on your departure - transfer to the airport.

The program includes:

- All the transfers

- All  the excursions

- Guide service during the whole program

- Accommodation in hotels 3 */ 4 */ 5 * in Yerevan (5N)

- Entrance fees to the Matenadaran and Zvartnots

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