Armenia Silk Road Tour

8
Days
Yerevan, Khor-Virap, Areni, Noravank, Goris, Khndzoresk, Tatev, Jermuk, Noratus, Dilijan, Gosh, Gyumri, Saghmosavan, Oshakan, Etchmiadzin
  • Yerevan
  • Yerevan
  • Yerevan
  • Sevan Lake

Join us on the Armenia Silk Road Tour as we view the world from Selim Caravanserai, explore Khndzoresk Cave Village, feel the ancient might of Erebuni and Amberd Fortresses and revel in the mystery of Karahunj. Glide through the air on the Wings of Tatev, eavesdrop on local lore at Jermuk Waterfall and taste local specialties at Areni Winery as we uncover Silk Road influences all across Armenia.
Armenia, a vital link on the Silk Road’s northern artery, served as both giver and recipient of beliefs and material goods through the centuries. Vestiges of the country’s early and medieval periods, preserved in such relics as UNESCO-inscribed Haghpat and Sanahin Monasteries, the medieval university at Tatev Armenian Apostolic Monastery and the cobblestone streets of Dilijan, continue to invoke curiosity and awe.

Arrive in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. You will be met by our driver for drop-off at the hotel, where check-in begins at noon. After a rest, enjoy your private city tour to the following sights:

  • Matenadaran, also known as the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, which holds nearly half of the world’s 30,000 Armenian manuscripts, including original texts and early 5th-6th century writings, plus over 400,000 scientific texts in multiple other languages.
  • Holy Mother of God Katoghike Church (13th century), one of the city’s oldest churches which is famous for the historic engravings on its walls and for its mysterious disappearance from the public eye on two occasions.
  • Republic Square, a famous plaza in the heart of Yerevan filled with fountains and lined with early 20th-century government buildings.
  • Blue Mosque (18th century), a Shia mosque commissioned by Huseyn Ali Khan of Erivan. Today it is Armenia’s only functioning mosque and is valued for its display of Iranian-era architecture.
  • Megarian Carpet Museum, where you can observe the production of rugs firsthand and see colorful carpets from each region of Armenia.
  • Erebuni Museum and Fortress (782 BC), built during the Urartu Kingdom and one of the world’s oldest fortresses. Also known as Arin Berd, many artifacts unearthed at the fort are on display in the adjacent museum.
Transfer back to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Meals provided: none

After breakfast, depart Yerevan to travel to Khor-Virap in southeast Armenia (45km, 50min), passing through green pastures on the way.

  • Discover Khor-Virap Monastery (dates vary), located near Mt. Ararat in Artashat (Artaxata), ancient capital of Armenia. Originally a royal dungeon, the site now includes a beautiful monastery, the remains of an old chapel, monks’ cells and the original dungeon.

Drive to Noravank (75km, 1hr 20min).

  • Explore nearby Areni Cave, where the world’s oldest shoe and winery were discovered and where ancient qvevri wine vessels are still on display.
  • Tour Areni Winery, one of Armenia’s most popular wineries. Admire its traditional stone walls and wooden door and taste local wines distilled from grapes, apricots and pomegranates.
  • Visit Noravank Monastery (13th century), located on a beautiful mountain precipice near Zangezur Canyon. The complex includes St. Karapet Cathedral and St. Gregory and St. Astvatsatsin sepulchers, as well as various cross-stone khachkars.
Continue driving towards Goris (130km, 2hrs). Overnight at the hotel in Goris.
Meals provided: breakfast
In the morning, visit Karahunj (Carahunge), also known as Armenian Stonehenge. Surrounded by mountains in a gorgeous locale, Karahunj consists of over 200 basalt slabs between 4500-7500 years old. Some historians believe that these “speaking stones” may have served as the world’s first astronomical observatory.
Continue to Khndzoresk Cave Village, situated 1600 meters above sea level and often referred to as Little Cappadocia. Walk across a swinging 160-meter-long bridge to access the network of natural and manmade caves, as well as an old church. Free time to enjoy the view and explore the caves.
Drive to Tatev (45km, 1hr). Ride the Wings of Tatev, the world’s longest cable car (5700 meters) to reach Tatev Armenian Apostolic Monastery (9th century). In the 15th century, the monastery served as a university for the study of science, religion and philosophy and the reproduction of books and miniature paintings.
Transfer to Jermuk (130km, 2hrs), a small mountain town famed for its mineral water and hot springs.
Overnight at the hotel in Jermuk.
Meals provided: breakfast
After breakfast, breathe in the fresh air at Jermuk Waterfall, a captivating natural cascade swirling in legend.
Drive to Noratus via Selim Caravanserai (14th century), a major stop on the Armenian Silk Road. Located 2400 meters above sea level at Selim Pass, it provides a beautiful view of the valley.
Arrive in Noratus Historical Village in Gegharkunik Province (12km, 15min) to see Noratus Cemetery, a unique khachkar graveyard filled with thousands of carved cross stones of various styles and eras.
Drive to Hayravank Monastery (9th-12th centuries), a secluded hermitage on the shore of Sevan Lake comprised of a church, chapel and an incredible view.
Continue to Sevanavank Monastery or Sevan Monastery (9th century), built by Princess Mariam, daughter of King Ashot I, the founder of the Bagratid Dynasty. Climb hundreds of stairs on this island-turned-peninsula to enjoy the view of Lake Sevan and explore Arakelots (Church of the Apostles) and Astvatsatsin (Church of the Virgin).
Descend to Sevan Lake. Known as the Blue Eye of Armenia, the lake has long been famous for its Ishkhan (Prince of Fish) trout, a delicacy formerly served to Armenian and foreign kings.
End the day with a drive to Dilijan (40km, 40min). Overnight at the hotel in Dilijan.
Meals provided: breakfast

After breakfast, visit Haghartsin Monastery (10th-13th centuries), hidden in a wooded corner of paradise some ten kilometers from Dilijan. Visit St. Gregory Church, St. Stepanos Church, St. Astvatsatsin Cathedral and the refectory, an impressive example of medieval secular architecture.
Drive (20km, 30min) to Goshavank Monastery Complex (12th -13th centuries), located in the picturesque village of Gosh. Formerly a major university and library, you’ll have the chance to tour its churches and see Armenia’s famous cross-stone khachkars.
Continue to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites near Alaverdi (90km, 2hrs):

  • Sanahin Monastery Complex (10th century), the former administrative and religious center of the Kyurikians Kingdom. Explore the university, library, scriptorium, ancestral tombs and wooded grounds of the famous ensemble which includes St. Astvatsatsin, Amenaperkich and St. Gregory Churches.
  • Haghpat Monastery (10th century), a former science center holding a rich collection of manuscripts situated on a large plateau surrounded by deep ravines. Along with St. Neshan Cathedral, the complex includes several churches, a dining hall, scriptorium, bell tower and tombstones.
Drive to Gyumri (130km, 3hrs), Armenia’s cultural capital and second largest city. Overnight in at the hotel in Gyumri.
Meals provided: breakfast
In the morning, pay a short visit to Vartanants Square, the enormous central plaza of Gyumri, and Holy Saviour’s Church (19th century), an Armenian Apostolic Church which survived two major earthquakes.
Drive to Saghmosavan (100km, 1hr 40min) to tour Saghmosavank Monastery (13th century). Erected by Prince Vache Vachutian and known for its manuscript collection, its dazzling view of the Kasagh River Canyon leaves many speechless.
Visit the Armenian Alphabet Monument (2005), larger-than-life recreations of local letters which were created in Artashavan village to celebrate the 1600th anniversary of the Armenian alphabet.
Drive (22km, 45min) to Amberd Fortress (dates vary), located 2300 meters above sea level on the slope of Mt. Aragats, the highest peak in Armenia. Much of the famous castle’s bath house, robust walls and 11th-century Vahramashen Church remain intact.
Continue to Oshakan (30km, 40min). Stop at Saint Mesrop Mashtots Church (dates vary), an Armenian Apostolic Church and popular pilgrimage destination built to mark the grave of Mesrop Mashtots, father of the Armenian alphabet.
Head to the nearby Armenia Wine Winery. Built according to Armenian classical architecture, it remains a favorite destination of tourists and wine enthusiasts. Drive to Yerevan (25km, 30min). Overnight at the hotel.
Meals provided: breakfast

Drive in the morning to the city of Vagharshapat, commonly known as Etchmiadzin (20km, 30min). Upon arrival, discover the following sights:

  • Zvartnots Cathedral (643AD), ruins of a 49-meter-tall, three-tiered pyramidal church with unusually beautiful carvings and perfect form. Built by Catholicos Nerses III, it collapsed in an earthquake in 930 A.D. Nearby is Zvartnots Historical-Cultural Museum-Reserve, which contains artifacts unearthed on the territory and a replica of the original Zvartnots Cathedral.
  • Saint Hripsime Church (7th century), one of the oldest houses of worship in Armenia which has served as a blueprint for numerous other churches in the country.
  • Shoghakat Church (17th century), a domed medieval chapel with cross-stone khachkars, it is noted for its brown limestone walls and scenic environ.
  • Saint Gayane Church (7th century), built in memory of a nun’s tragic martyrdom, the cathedral’s original design has been preserved to this day.
  • Etchmiadzin Cathedral (301AD), the world’s first official Christian church and the main cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Participate in Holy Mass, admire the bell tower, rotundas, vestry and frescoes and view manuscripts and religious treasures in the small museum.
Return to Yerevan (20km, 30min). Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Meals provided: breakfast
Free morning for packing or independent exploration of Yerevan. Discover Yerevan Ararat Brandy Factory, an old cellar with 120 years of experience in brandy making. Taste the world-famous brandy and learn how it is produced.
Check out of the hotel by noon and transfer to Zvartnots International Airport. End of Armenia Silk Road Tour.
Meals provided: breakfast
  • Private, local guide;
  • Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
  • Wine tasting at Areni Winery and Armenia Wine Winery;
  • Accommodation in a double/twin room in 3-star hotels with breakfast (7 nights);
  • Mineral water (1 liter per person per day);
  • Round-trip airport transfers;
  • Transportation throughout the tour.
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Lunches and dinners;
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • All other charges and services not mentioned under Inclusions;
  • Tips are not included but are appreciated.

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