16 May ARMENIA – A HIKING ADVENTURE
Armenia is the only country remaining from 3,000 year old maps of Anatolia (also known as Asia Minor). It became the world’s first Christian country more than 1,700 years ago in 301 AD. As a former Soviet republic it lies in the Caucasus region straddling Asia and Europe and has a rich and ancient culture.
English is not widely spoken in Armenia. Many taxi drivers and salespeople in grocery stores and malls do not speak or understand English. Russian has remained the most important foreign language.
A great mixture of hiking trails, great scenery and discoveries on this 14 day/13 night program.
Operational Period: June – September
1st day: Arrival in Armenia
Transfer from the airport to the hotel and relax time.
2nd day: In the region of Aragatsotn
Yerevan – Saghmosavank – Hovhannavank – Amberd – Byurakan
After breakfast transfer to the region of Aragatsotn to visit the monastic complexes of Saghmosavank and Hovhanavank of the 13th century. The monastery complexes are located five kilometres apart. Both monuments perch on the edge of the precipitous gorge of the Kasakh river. Their silhouettes dominate the adjacent villages and rise sharp against the background of the mountains crowned by Mt. Aragats. Then we visit the fortress of Amberd built in the 7th century on the southern part of Mount Aragats at a height of 2300m. Amberd is a key example of impregnable fortresses built in medieval Armenia.
Lunch in a villager’s house where visitors can get acquainted with traditional Armenian traditional food. Dinner and overnight in Byurakan.
3rd day: Aragats- the highest peak of the country
Lake Kari – The Southern Summit of Aragats (3 879 meters) – Alaverdi – Haghpat
Hiking from Lake Kari to the Southern part of Aragats (3 879 meters)
Distance: 9 kilometres – Duration: 4-5 hours – Elevation: +600m -600m
After breakfast transfer to lake Kari “Kari Litch” (3200 m) from which we begin to walk towards the Southern Summit of Aragats. Picnic on the way. After the descent transfer to, Haghpat village in Lori region. Dinner and overnight in Haghpat.
4th day: The country of the troubadour- Sayat-Nova; monasteries of World Heritage of UNESCO
Haghpat – Sanahin – Dilijan
Hiking from Hagpbat Monastery to Sanahin Monastery
Distance: 9 kilometres – Duration: 3-4 hours – Elevation: -250m +250m
After breakfast we visit the monastery of Haghpat (10th-13th centuries) which is registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Haghpat is divided into a main church with a belltower in its right side, a number of chapels, a refectory, a library, etc. Hiking from the village of Haghpat to the monastery of Sanahin through the fields and pastures of the homonymous village. We arrive in the village of Sanahin where the monastery of Sanahin (10th-13th centuries) is located. Sanahin as well as Haghpat represent the highest flowering of Armenian religious architecture, whose unique style developed from a blending of elements of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture and the traditional vernacular architecture of the Caucasian region for which reasons they are both registered in UNESCO World Heritage List. Sanahin monastery complex belongs to the Armenian Apostolic Church with numerous khachkars (stones with elaborate engravings representing a cross) and bishop gravesites scattered throughout it. Picnic on the way. We cross the villages of Molokans (Russian Christian sect that disobeyed the Russian Orthodox Church and fled to Armenia and different countries to escape oppression). Dinner and overnight in Dilijan.
5th day: The region of Gegharkunik and lake Sevan-one of the largest mountain lakes in the world
Tsapatagh, between rocks and waterfalls
Hiking on mountains of Tsapatagh between rocks and waterfalls
Distance: 15 kilometres – Duration: 4-5 hours – Elevation: +700m; -700m
After breakfast transfer to Tsapatagh village and start trekking from Tsapatagh village to the surrounding mountains. On climbing up the mountains from above opens a spectacular panorama of Lake Sevan. Picnic on the way. We also visit the waterfalls of the village. Dinner and overnight in Tsapatagh.
6th day: Gegham Mountain Range
Tsapatagh – Sevan –Gavar (Tsaghkashen) – Akna Litch
Hiking from Tsaghkashen towards Lake Akna
Distance: 14 kilometres – Duration: 5-6 hours – Elevation: +950m
After breakfast transfer to Gavar. We stop off in Lake Sevan and have a boat ride in the lake and visit the monastery of Sevanavank on the peninsula of Lake Sevan. Walking from Tsakhkashen to Lake Akna. Picnic on the way. Dinner and overnight under tents.
7th day: Gegham mountain range- Azhdahak and Vishapasar mountains Lake Akna –Azhdahak Mount (3597 m) – Vishapasar Mount
Hiking from Lake Akna to Mount Azhdahak (3597 m) and descent to Vishapasar (2900 m)
Distance: 14 kilometres – Duration: 6-7 hours – Elevation: +550m -650m
After breakfast, we start ascending to Mount Azhdahak which rises to 3597 m. From the summit, we can admire Lake Sevan and the beautiful landscapes characteristic of Central Armenia. The panorama is dominated by high semi-desert plateaus and volcanic massifs with rounded forms covered with pasture where some nomadic families are still living. Descent on the other side towards Mount Vishapasar. Camp installation at 2900 m. Picnic on the way. Dinner.
8th day: State Reserve of Khosrov Forest
Vishapasar – Geghard – Garni – Yerevan
Descent from Vishapasar to Gegard
Distance: 14 kilometres – Duration: 4 hours – Elevation: – 950m
We finish crossing the mountain range of Gegham, then we descend to the monastery of Geghard which is nestled at the bottom of a deep gorge. Then we visit the monastery of Geghard (13th century). The monastery, named after the spear that pierced the body of Christ, is located on a very spectacular deep canyon. Half built and half carved in the rock, according to the tradition, it dates back to the IVth century. Geghard monastery is catalogued in UNESCO World Heritage List. Continuation with the architectural ensemble of Garni which consisted of a fortress (3rd century BC), a palace (3rd century BC), the Greco-Roman pagan temple of Mithra (1st century AD), the Roman bath (3rd century BC) and the church of Saint Sion (seventh century). Garni is the only standing pagan temple in Transcaucasia. Picnic on the way. Dinner and overnight in Yerevan.
9th day: Areni Winery
Yerevan – Khor Virap – Areni – Noravank – Sissian
This day is a cultural day dedicated to discovering the country’s medieval and spiritual pearls. After breakfast we visit the monastery of Khor Virap, on a hill in the region of Ararat. From here there opens a beautiful view of Mount Ararat with its two peaks which has been a sacred mountain for Armenians for many centuries ago. After visiting the monastery of Khor Virap we immerse ourselves into the region of Vayots Dzor to discover one of Areni village wineries. We visit a winery where we have some introduction about the winery and taste wine. We go on with our journey and visit the monastery of Noravank (13th-14th centuries). The monastery of Noravank is situated in the mountains with a spectacular red-brick color. The special feature of the monastery’s architectural design is harmonized with the natural beauty of the environment. Lunch near the monastery. Here we can also see the preparation of lavash- traditional Armenian paper-thin bread, that has a different and special preparation in the traditional ‘tonir’ (deep stone oven).
After lunch we continue driving to the town of Sissian. Dinner and overnight in Sissian.
10th day: The petroglyphs of Ughtasar
Sissian – Ughtasar – Khndzoresk – Goris
Transfer in Jeep: Sissian – Ughhtassar 17.5 kilometres
Hiking in the gorge of Khndzoresk
Distance: 3 kilometres – Duration: 1.5-2 hours – Elevation: -100m +200m
Transfer in 4x4WD towards Ughtassar Mount. We observe the petroglyphs of Mount Ughtasar. Descent and transfer to the village of Khndzoresk. The village was a troglodyte site, dug in the volcanic tuffs and reminiscent of Cappadocia, inhabited until the early twentieth century of which there are significant traces. Hiking in the village gorge. Picnic on the way. Dinner and overnight in Goris.
11th day: The Canyon of the Vorotan
Goris- Tatev – Ltsen – Sissian
Hiking from the Monastery of Tatev to the village of Ltsen
Distance: 16 kilometres – Duration: 5-6 hours – Elevation: +600m -600m
After breakfast we visit the monastery of Tatev by the cable car named Wings of Tatev. It allows access to the monastery of Tatev from the village of Halidzor. It is the longest cable car to come and go in the world (5750 m) that is registered in the Book of Guinness World Records. The monastery of Tatev (9th-14th centuries) is raised on a rocky promontory on the edge of a bottomless precipice. The monastery was not only a religious but also political center of Syunik region. In medieval times the monastery housed a university that was greatly prestigious and included a wide spectrum of subjects like study of humanities and social sciences, philosophy, oration, grammar, literature and history, calligraphy and musicology. After the visit of the monastery we begin to walk from the top of the assembly where we reach by special Jeeps (4×4). We arrive in the village of Ltsen. We cross green meadows, fields, pastures, we meet shepherds and finally the farmers of the village of Ltsen. Picnic on the way. Dinner and overnight in the town of Sissian.
12th day: From Antiquity to the Middle Ages
Sissian – Karahunj – Museum Historical and Cultural Reserve “University of Gladzor”– Yerevan
After breakfast we set out and afterwards stop off in Karahunj or Zorats Karer observatory dating from the 4th or 5th millennium BC. which is a megalithic site in Syunik region, located 3 km north of Sissian. Our next stop of the day will be in the Museum of Historical and Cultural Reserve “University of Gladzor”. This famous Armenian educational establishment of the XIII–XIV cc. was a centre of religious, public-political, philosophical thought as well as a center of development of creative thought. The university was called by the contemporaries “Glorious Second Athens”, “Capital of Wisdom”, “Very Famous University”. Lunch on the way. Dinner and overnight in Yerevan.
13th day: Discovery of the city of Yerevan
Panoramic tour of the Armenian capital: Republic Square, Northern Avenue, Liberty Square, Abovian Street, Victory Park and the countless gardens of the city, Opera, the Cathedral of Saint Gregory the Illuminator … (external views). Then we will discover the famous Matenadaran, a surprising museum of ancient manuscripts classified “Memory of the World” by UNESCO. Lunch in an Armenian restaurant. In the afternoon, we will visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex. Farewell dinner in a traditional Armenian restaurant accompanied by Armenian music and folk songs.
14th day: Departure
Transfer to the airport (depending on flight schedules) accompanied by an English-speaking guide and or his/her assistant always speaking English.
The program includes:
- 4 nights in Yerevan
- 1 night in Byurakan
- 1 night in Alaverdi
- 1 night in Dilijan
- 1 night in Sevan
- 2 nights in bivouac
- 1 night in Goris
- 1 night in Sissian
- Transfer from the airport to the hotel and vice versa with the accompaniment of the cultural guide speaking English or his/հer assistant
- Transportation for the entire stay according to the program
- Jeeps (4×4) from Sissian to Ughtassar
- Tatev Jeeps (4×4) towards the mountain of Ltsen
- Cook on the mountains of Gegham
- Service of the cultural guide speaking English during the whole trip
- Mountain guide in the regions
- Full board (FB)
- Water in the bus (1 bottle ½ liter per person per day)
- Drinks (sparkling water, tea, coffee) during meals
- Wine on the last day for dinner
- Entrances to local museums and sites
- Boat ride in Lake Sevan
- Cable car to Tatev Monastery
- Tipping for hotel waiters and hotel doormen
The program doesn’t include:
- Extra expenses
- What is not indicated in the “The quotation includes”.