Caucasus Capitals Tour

6
Days
Yerevan, Garni, Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Baku, Gobustan National Park

The Caucasus Capitals Tour is an unforgettable journey through the heart of Eurasia. Come join us as we travel by train, plane, cable car, funicular and private vehicle to discover the centers of culture and history in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, soaking up soaring mountain landscapes and unusual natural phenomena along the way.
Pensive monuments in Armenia’s pink-hued Yerevan compete for travelers’ attention with nearby Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery. Georgia’s Tbilisi takes on a whimsical air as modern and medieval collide, while ancient Iberian capital Mtskheta stands guard over religious UNESCO sites. Azerbaijan’s diversity ranges from Old Baku and sky-scraping stunners to subterranean marvels in Gobustan Park and Absheron Peninsula.

Arrive in Yerevan, capital of Armenia. You will be met by our driver and transferred to the hotel, where check-in begins at noon. Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel for a private tour to the following:

  • Matenadaran, a.k.a the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, which holds nearly half of the world’s historic Armenian manuscripts. See original texts, early 5th-6th century writings and over 400,000 manuscripts in multiple languages.
  • Cascade Complex, whose 500 steps serve as a modern city symbol and house the Cafesjian Center for the Arts.
  • 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.
  • Saint Gregory The Illuminator Cathedral (2001), the world’s largest Armenian Apostolic cathedral. It sits atop a hill and consists of three churches, a bell tower and dozens of arches.
  • Tsitsernakaberd (1967), the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex on Tsitsernakaberd Hill which is dedicated to the victims of the massacres of the early 20th century.
Transfer back to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Meals provided: none

After breakfast, meet your guide and driver for a trip to Garni in Kotayk Province (30km, 45min), where you’ll tour the following:

  • Garni Temple (1st century AD), ancient Temple of the Sun dedicated to Mithra. This Hellenistic structure strongly mirrors architecture of the Greco-Roman Empire.
  • Garni Fortress (3rd-2nd centuries BC), a once-powerful fort and the summer residence of Armenian kings which overlooks the Azat River from a height of 300 meters.
Depart Garni and drive to Geghard (10km, 20min).
Explore Geghard Monastery (4th century), also known as Ayrivank Monastery. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is famous for its bas-reliefs and stunning scenery. Explore its tombs and tunnels and see the spear believed to have pierced Christ's body. Return to Yerevan (40km, 1hr) for an afternoon flight to Tbilisi. Pick-up from the airport and transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
Meals provided: breakfast

In the morning, your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel for a private city tour to the following:

  • Holy Trinity Cathedral (Sameba Church) one of the largest houses of worship in the world.
  • Drive to Tbilisi’s modern quarter, passing the Parliament Building on Rustaveli Avenue before reaching Freedom Square.
  • Metekhi Church (13th century), guarded by a statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali.
  • Bridge of Peace, which leads to the popular Rike Park.
  • Cable car ride to Narikala Fortress (4th century), Georgia’s oldest citadel and the best spot for a panoramic view of the city. Nearby stands the 20-meter-high statue of Kartlis Deda, Mother of Georgia.
  • Old Tbilisi, the city’s largest district, including the famous Jumah Mosque.
  • Bridge of Lovers, found near the cooling waters of the 22-meter-high Legvtakhevi Waterfall.
  • Historic Abanotubani District, including the Tbilisi Sulfur Baths.
  • Jan Shardeni Street (Jean Chardin), an area filled with cozy coffee shops, wine tasting bars and souvenir stores.
  • Sioni Cathedral (7th century), with a jaw-dropping interior of gold and turquoise frescoes.
  • Leaning Clock Tower of Tbilisi, next to the famous Reza Gabriadze Puppet Theater.
Transfer to the hotel or continue exploring Old Tbilisi on your own. Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
Meals provided: breakfast

Check out of the hotel by noon. Drive to Mtskheta (25km, 30min), ancient capital of Iberia and a holy pilgrimage site for most Georgians. In Mtskheta you will visit two UNESCO sites:

  • Jvari Monastery (6th century) - a unique remnant of the early Georgian church, it overlooks the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi Rivers and amazes visitors with simple yet beautiful facades.
  • Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century), where one of the holiest items of the orthodox Christian world - the robe worn by Jesus Christ at crucifixion – is believed to be buried. Admire the stunning architecture and frescoes as you learn various legends connected with the church.
Walk the streets of Mtskheta to admire the homes and balconies or shop for Georgia’s national sweet, churchkhela.
Return to Tbilisi to admire the classical architecture of Kashveti Church of St. George before continuing to the Georgian National Opera Theater, one of the oldest opera halls in Eastern Europe.
Ride the Tbilisi Funicular to the top of Mount Mtatsminda to enjoy recreation at Mtatsminda Park.
Take an overnight train to Baku. Overnight in a private compartment for two people.
Meals provided: breakfast

Arrive to Baku in the morning and transfer to the hotel, where check-in begins at noon. After breakfast, begin your tour of the capital and its surroundings:

  • Drive to Absheron (25km, 45min) to visit Yanar Dag (Burning Mountain), a natural gas fire which has been burning for thousands of years due to the large reservoir of gas under the Absheron Peninsula.
  • Drive (20km, 30min) to Ateshgah Fire Temple (dates vary), a historic center of Zoroastrian worship and philosophical teaching.
  • Return to Baku (18km, 25min) and visit Heydar Aliyev Center (2012), a futuristic cultural complex renowned for its symbolic and unusual architecture.

Continue to Old Baku (Icheri Sheher) to see several historical monuments:

  • Maiden Tower (date unconfirmed), an ancient fortress believed to have once been a fire temple, it is now a city symbol which affords a great view of Baku from the top.
  • Palace of the Shirvanshahs (15th century), a UNESCO ensemble and Azerbaijan’s finest example of medieval architecture that includes a mosque, bathhouse and entrance gates.
  • Multani Caravanserai (15th century), built as a haven for Indian merchants and fire worshipers hailing from the city of Multan in present-day Pakistan.
  • Juma Mosque (12th century, rebuilt 1899), defined by intricate stone carvings and an adjacent 14th-century minaret, it was constructed on the site of a Zoroastrian temple.
Transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Baku.
Meals provided: breakfast
Check out from your hotel in Baku and drive to Gobustan National Park (60km, 1hr), located on the west bank of the Caspian Sea. Start your excursion at Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape, an open-air gallery dating back to 10000 BC. Discover 6000 petroglyphs ranging from depictions of ritual dances and warriors to animals and the cosmos.
Explore the small Petroglyph Museum for a brief introduction to the park’s cultural and ecological history.
Drive to the Mud Volcanoes (10km, 15min), an unusual natural phenomena where underground gases bubble up from the earth in a mixture of mud and methane.
Return to Baku for transfer to Heydar Aliyev International Airport. End of Caucasus Capitals Tour.
  • Round-trip airport and train station transfers;
  • Private local guide;
  • Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
  • Transportation throughout the tour;
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room at hotel (5 nights, with breakfast);
  • Bottled mineral water (1 liter per person per day);
  • One-way economy class flight ticket from Yerevan to Tbilisi;
  • One-way compartment class overnight train ticket from Tbilisi to Baku.
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Meals (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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