Attractions and Sacred Places:

Weekend, 3 days, 520 km (325 miles)

The tour program designed for three days includes a city tour, a visit to the religious center of Armenia – the First Cathedral of Saint Echmiadzin, the pagan temple of Garni, the monasteries of Khor Virap and Noravank, the Geghard Monastery complex carved in rock, as well as a degustation of real Armenian wine in Areni factory.

Day 1

Yerevan – Echmiadzin – Yerevan
Arrival in Yerevan. Transfer to hotel.

Visit to Echmiadzin (Vagharshapat) and the First Cathedral of Saint Echmiadzin, churches of Saint Hripsime and Saint Gayane. St Echmiadzin is believed to be the first Christian church in the world, founded by Gregory the Illuminator in 303. Echmiadzin is the residence of the Supreme Catholicos of all Armenians and the center of Armenian Apostolic Church.

Visiting Zvartnots Temple (7th c). The temple of Zvartnots (temple of «Celestial Angels») is like a proud eagle, perched on a high pedestal. This majestic temple was built in 652 AD and its ruins remain as a reminder of a masterpiece of medieval Armenian architecture.

Evening sightseeing tour: Republic Square, the «singing» fountains, State Museum of Armenian History, National Gallery of Armenia: Museum of Sergey Parajanov; «Haghtanak» park (commemorating Armenia's participation in World War II); Cascade; Cafesjian Center for the Arts, Contemporary Art Museum; Alexander Tamanyan statue; Monument to Sasuntsi David (Armenian folk hero); Museum and Monument of Armenian Genocide of 1915.

(The first day and the last day of the tour program will be adjusted based on your actual arrival and departure time).
Meals: Lunch
Hotel Accommodations: Regineh
Travel Distance: 50 km (31 miles)

Day 2

Yerevan – Khor Virap – Noravank – bird's caves - Areni – Yerevan
Ararat valley – home of Khor Virap («Deep Dungeon») Monastery, from which Grigor Lusavorich rose from imprisonment to become the first patriarch of Armenian Apostolic Church. The monastery is very near the Turkish border and offers Armenia's most splendid view of Mount Ararat, from which, according to the Holy Bible, Noah's ark landed following the «Great Flood».

The tour continues to Vayots Dzor marz, along the picturesque gorge of the Gnishik River and comes to the monastery of Noravank («New Monastery») (12-15cc.) the religious center of principality of the Orbelyan dynasty, home to prominent Armenian figures of the medieval culture.

The excursion also includes a trip to Areni village which is famous for its various factory and home-made wines. Visitors will see wine as it is being processed, followed by a degustation.

Viewing the stalactites and stalagmites in Bird's cave.

Back to Yerevan. Overnight.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch
Hotel Accommodations: Regineh
Travel Distance: 320 km (200 miles)

Day 3

Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Zvartnots Airport
Trip to Geghardavank, Armenia's 12-13cc «Monastery of the Lance» (about 45 minutes outside Yerevan city center). The name of Geghard is connected with a lance which, according to the Holy Bible, was used to pierce the side of the crucified Christ. (What is believed to be a remnant of the lance is preserved in the museum at Holy Echmiadzin).

Excursion to Garni Temple and Garni Castle (3c. BC-13c. AD) – the summer residence of Armenian kings and the site of a pre-Christian temple honoring Mithra, god of the sun.

Transfer to Zvartnots International Airport.
Meals:
Travel Distance: 150 km (94 miles)

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