Zvartnots and Etchmiadzin Tour
Zvartnots Cathedral, Saint Hripsime Church, Shoghakat Church, Saint Gayane Church, Etchmiadzin Cathedral
Embark on a pilgrimage on the Zvartnots and Etchmiadzin Tour to a collection of religiously significant UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Stand in awe of Zvartnots Cathedral before exploring a trio of churches connected by a heartbreaking tale and participating in Holy Mass in Armenia’s most esteemed church, Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Small museums and instructive explanations from your private guide will enhance your unforgettable journey.
The city of Vagharshapat, formerly New City, is better known as Etchmiadzin, “The Only Begotten Descended”. Etchmiadzin Cathedral, seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church, was built on the site of a pagan temple and has traces of various historical periods, from 5th-century bases to 18th-century frescoes. The cathedral is enhanced by the nearby Saint Hripsime, Shoghakat and Saint Gayane Churches and the ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral.
In the morning, your guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel in Yerevan to begin your day trip with a drive 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.
- 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). End of Zvartnots and Etchmiadzin Tour.
Tour duration: approximately 5 hours
- Private, local guide;
- Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
- Transportation throughout the tour.
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