Travel to Georgia » Caucasian Fairytale

Caucasian Fairytale

Dates for Guaranteed Departures:

April-October, 2012
Start date 1st of each month
End date 19th of each month

 

Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct
Guaranteed Guaranteed

 

Day 1 Arrival in Yerevan
Arrival at the Zvartnots airport. Transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in Yerevan.

Day 2 City tour /50km
Start city tour round Yerevan. The contemporary capital of Armenia is 13th and is one of the oldest cities of the world founded in 782 BC. During tour visit Erebouni Museum of the History of the Foundation of Yerevan which stands at the foot of the Arin Berd hill, on top of which the Urartian Fortress Erebouni has been constructed. The next visit is Yerevan History Museum which throw light on the history of the city beginning from ancient times up to our days. Visiting Tsisernakaberd Memorial Complex. Return to the hotel.
Overnight in Yerevan.

Day 3 Yerevan/Ejmiatsin/Zvartnots/Yerevan (40km)
Breakfast at the hotel. Morning visit to Matenadaran-one of unique Institutes of Ancient Manuscripts in the world. Excursion to centuries-old monuments Ejmiatsin andZvartnots listed on UNESCO World Heritage list. Visiting the churches of 3 Virgins: centre-domed cruciform church of Saint Hripsimeh (618), domical basilica of Saint Gayaneh (630) and ‘domed gallery’ type church of Shoghakat (1694). The Cathedral of Ejmiatsin(303) is an official residence of Armenian Catholicos. Visiting Zvartnots (7-10thcc..) – a Temple of Vigil Forces. Return to Yerevan. After dinner time optional visits to:
1. Armenian wine and cognac factory;
2. Carpet factory;
3. Parajanov house museum.
Overnight in Yerevan.

Day 4 Yerevan/Khor Virap/Noravank/Areni/Jermuk/Yerevan (120km)
Breakfast at the hotel. First trip to Khor Virap(4-18th cc..) the importance of which is connected with Gregory the Illuminator, who introduced Christianity in Armenia. On the way to Khor Virap you can enjoy the spectacular view of the sacred Ararat Mountain- an immortal symbol of Armenia. Then excursion to Noravank(13-14th cc..)situated among amazing sheer rocks on the bench of a twisty gorge. After that you’ll enjoy your dinner in a grotto with a spirit of mystery and antiquity. On your way back You will visit Areni church(14th c). The village of Areni is famous also for its excellent wine, which You are welcome to taste. Drive to Jermuk. Afterwards drive back to Yerevan.
Overnight in Yerevan

Day 5 Yerevan/Garni/Gegard/Yerevan (73km)
Breakfast at the hotel. Visiting History Museum of Armenia, where you will get acquaintance with the large collection of materials connected with history of Armenia and ancient eastern countries in the Armenian Highland. Drive to Garni temple(1stA.D.) which is the only “witness” of Hellenistic Epoch in the territory of CIS. After numerous Roman attacks, the temple was reconstructed and dedicated to Mithra, the God of Sun. Continue tour to Gegard Monastery(12-13thcc..). Geghard initially known simply as Irivank (Cave Monastery). The name refers to the biblical lance used by Roman soldier to pierce the Christ’s body. Hundreds of Khachkars and caves are built in the rocks surrounding the Monastery. Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Return to Yerevan with stop at the Charents’s Arch. It is from here that the Greatest Armenian poet of XX c. admired the view of the double-peaked Ararat. Drive to Hotel.
Overnight in Yerevan

Day 6 Yerevan/Lake Sevan/Dilijan/Haghpat/Meeting at Sadakhlo border/Tbilisi (340 km)
Early departure from Yerevan to the “Armenian Pearl” – Lake Sevan which is the 2nd high-altitude and largest lake in the world with its sweet and astonishingly blue water. Drive to Dilijan which is one of the famous resort areas in Armenia. People say, “If Paradise had mountains, woods, and mineral springs, it would be just like Dilijan”. Continue tour to the architectural complex of Haghpat (976 AD) which is among the outstanding works of medieval Armenian architecture and is inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list. Drive to Armenian -Georgian border Sadakhlo. Border formalities. Guide and transport change. Transfer to Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi.

Day 7 Tbilisi/Gori/ Uplistsikhe/ Kutaisi (300 KM)
After breakfast drive to Gori. The city was founded by one of the greatest kings of Georgia, David the Builder (1089–1125). On the way visit Samtavisi, an 11th century Georgian Orthodox cathedral. The first monastery on this place was founded by the Assyrian missionary Isidore in 572 and later rebuilt in the 10th century. Visit The Joseph Stalin Museum in Gori (entrance fee: USD 6). Afterwards visit Uplistsikhe (entrance fee: USD 1, 70), “the lord’s fortress”, which is an ancient rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia. Built on a high rocky left bank of Mtkvari River, it contains various structures dating from the 2nd ML BC to the Late Middle Ages, and is notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures. Drive to Kutaisi. Visit Gelati monastery and walk in Kutaisi city.
Overnight in Kutaisi.

Day 8 Kutaisi/Sataplia/Zugdidi/Mestia (250 KM)
After breakfast drive to visit Sataplia caves (entrance fee: USD 4). Sataplia State Reserve is a most multifarious and very rare monument. It is of complex character and contains geologic, paleontological, speleological and botanical monuments. The Sataplia Mountain is famous by its rarest and the most beautiful caves. This cave was firstly noticed by Kutaisi museum employee, pedagogues P. Chabukiani who was able to make organization of this valuable monument protection by the local government, and in 1933, there was found a dinosaur trace. Sataplia State Nature Reserve was created in 1935 to protect geological, paleontological, speleological and botanical monuments. The reserve is located in Tskaltubo region in 260 km. from Tbilisi, and in 9 km. from the resort Tskaltubo. Sataplia Nature Reserve represents the south-west edge of Racha gorge, total area of the Nature Reserve is 354 ha., 209 ha from here is covered by forest. Relief: Sataplia Nature reserve is mountainous, it’s great area is covered by most beautiful and multifarious wood strain Colchian type mixed forests. Mountainous Sataplia is located at 500 m. above sea level. Here we meet 5 carts caves which are famous for their beauty, size and from the scientists’ points of view were taken great consideration. One of these karst cavern length is 600 m., the beauty of this cavern is a cupola-shaped hall, located in 100 m. from the entrance, where the size and beauty of stalactites and stalagmites in the centre astonishes visitors. At the end of the cavern flows the spring which flows into the well, after that the water goes on in narrow impassable clefts and finds its way out in the south slope of the Sataplia Mountain as Oghaskura. There is an extinct volcano crater in the Nature Reserve. The highest top is at 520 m. above sea level. Drive to Zugdidi. Visit Dadiani Palace there (entrance fee: USD 1, 70) . The representatives of Dadiani Dynasty were acquainted with world history, culture latest technical achievements. They were tightly involved in the social events. The Palace keeps 41 000 museum objects. Most of them are unique and invaluable examples of Georgian and foreign art. En route we visit Enguri Dam with the height of 271 meters (the highest dam of this type in the world). The Dam makes a water-storage reservoir in the picturesque gorges of Samegrelo and Svaneti mountains. It’s time to get ready for the most exciting part of the trip – a journey to Svaneti, the region of the highest mountains and glaciers and the most abiding ancient traditions.
Dinner and overnight at the guesthouse in Mestia.

Day 9 Mestia/Ushguli/Mestia (90 KM)
After breakfast drive to Ushguli by Jeeps. Visit Laghami Saint George’s church (7th-12th c.c.) and Svan dwelling complex. Visits to: The church of St. George in Nakipari (1130 AD) and Ethnographic Museums in Ushguli. Ushguli is considered to be the highest populated place in Europe (2200 m above sea level). (NOTE: please note that in Svaneti region you may need approximately USD 6 for each sight, this is stated not by government, but by the local people who are taking care of each sightseeing place).
Dinner and overnight at the guesthouse in Mestia.

Day 10 Mestia/Batumi (280 KM)
After breakfast visit Latali and Lenjeri single-nave basilicas of the 8th-9th-14th c.c., built by stones without ornamentation, with the interior richly decorated with murals. Afterwards drive to Batumi the most beautiful city of Georgia. Have a free time in Batumi to take a walk across the beach in a famous Batumi boulevard.
Overnight in Batumi.

Day 11 Batumi/Mtskheta/Tbilisi (400 Km)
After breakfast Batumi sightseeing. Visit Gonio Fortress (entrance fee: USD 1, 70), Petra castle and Batumi botanical garden (entrance fee: USD 4, 50). Drive to Mtskheta (UNESCO Heritage Site), an ancient capital of the Georgian Kingdom from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. Jvari Monastery (6th c.); Svetitskhoveli Cathedral built in the 11th century. Drive back to Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi.

Day 12 Tbilisi tour (100km)
We will visit the Old Tbilisi Sulfur Baths, Georgian Orthodox and Armenian Gregorian churches, and a Jewish synagogue and a Turkish mosque side by side, reflecting Tbilisi’s acceptance and tolerance of different religions. We can also see a recent monument, the Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the Caucasus. Tour includes following sights: Metekhi Church is erected on the cliff, overlooking the Mtkvari River. There is a statue of King Vakhtang Gorgaslani, founder of Tbilisi, in front of the church. The church dates back to the 12th century and has a diverse history, connected with Mongol invasions and political repressions of the Soviet Empire. The colorful Darejani Palace is also situated on the cliff, like the nest of a swallow. The Sulfur Baths are located in Old Tbilisi, on the other side of the river, opposite Darejani Palace. Tbilisi was named after the natural Sulphur springs. Have lunch in Georgian restaurant. The Orthodox Narikala St. Nikolas Church is in the same district. The church is furnished with frescoed portraits of martyrs and scenes from the Bible. It is wrapped in a defensive Narikala fortress, established in the fourth century. We can walk up the stairs of the fortress and overlook Tbilisi. Walk down the path from the hill and on cobbled Leselidze Street, we come across the 13th century Armenian St. George Church and a Jewish synagogue with an elegant facade.On the opposite side of the street is Sioni Church, leading to the bank of the Mtkvari. Here you discover Shardeni Street with its fashionable cozy cafes and art galleries. Walking we will come across the Anchiskhati church, the oldest church in Tbilisi keeping the miraculous icon of Jesus Christ. Finally the tour takes you to Rustaveli Avenue, where attractions such as the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Parliament, Rustaveli Theatre, different art galleries and cafes will draw your attention and provide a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Drive to Open Air Ethnographic Museum, place, where are built all kinds of Georgian national old country-houses and castles (entrance fee: USD 1, 70).
Overnight in Tbilisi.

Day 13 Free day in Tbilisi without guide and transportation service
Overnight in Tbilisi.

Day 14 Tbilisi/Telavi
Today we make Wine tasting Tour in Kakheti region. We drive to Telavi. Visit residence of the King Erekle the II (entrance fee: EURO 2; working hours 10:00 – 18:00, every day accept Monday). Afterwards visit Tsinandali Wine cellar and Al. Chavchavadze house museum (entrance fee: from EURO 3 to EURO 10, with 6 sorts of wine tasting; working hours 10:00 – 19:00, every day). The next spot is Gremi Monastery the 16th century architectural monument – the royal citadel and the Church of the Archangels – in Kakheti. Afterwards we drive to Nekresi Monastery complex, located in an amazing nature and finally drive to local Restaurant in Telavi to taste most delicious local dishes and wines.
Overnight in Telavi.

Day 15 Telavi/Gurjaani/Sighnaghi/Lagodekhi – Meeting time 16:00 Georgian time
After breakfast drive to Gurjaani wine cellar and also visit Gurjaani All Saints Church, which is the only two domed church in Georgia. Drive to Sighnaghi Love town, visiting on the way Bodbe monastery of Saint Nino. After lunch in Sighnaghi drive to Azerbaijan border in Lagodekhi. Border formalities, transport and guide change. Drive to Ilisu village which is a municipality in the Qakh district of Azerbaijan and has a wonderful panoramic view. It has a population of 1,370. The village was settled in XIII century. A distance of 3 km for the first Ilisu village existed in the past have been people living in the area now known as Kendtala. The area of the ancient tombs on examples of epigraphic written in Kufic line proves it once again. Then continue to Sheki. Sheki is one of the most famous and ancient places of Azerbaijan. Situated 700 m (2297 ft.) above sea level like an amphitheatre surrounded by the mountains and forests of oak trees, this ancient city was long famed as a silk centre and an important stop on the Great Silk Route. There is an assumption that the name of the town goes back to the ethnonym of the Saks, who reached the territory of Azerbaijan in the 7th century BC. We’ll start our Sheki tour from visiting the 18th century Khan’s summer palace with magnificent frescos and exquisite stained glass work. Sheki History museum is famous with artifacts from several periods. Overnight in Sheki.

Day 16 Sheki/Kish/Lahij/(180km/2,5 hours)
After breakfast visit the Albanian church located in Kish village. Legend says that the church was built in 78 AD, but the researchers place it a few centuries later. Then drive to famous Lahij village in Ismayilly district. Many of the 2,000 people living in Lahij are involved in ancient crafts such as engraved copper work and carpet weaving. In the mid-19th century, there were more than 200 workshops in Lahij. Traders discovered Lahij crafts many centuries ago, and sold them for high prices at bazaars in Baghdad [now Iraq], Shiraz [now Iran] and other Middle Eastern cities. Stop by a copper workshop for a impromptu lesson in ancient craftsmanship you’ll get to see coppersmiths use small mallets to decorate plates, trays, jugs, goblets and pitchers, just as their ancestors have done for centuries.
Overnight in Ismayilly.

Day 17 Ismayilly/Shamakhy/Baku (200km/3hours)
After breakfast drive to Shamakhy district. Visit the town of Shemakha, Diri Baba Tomb and Yeddi Gumbez. Shemakha was the capital of Shirvan Kingdom for several centuries.Yeddi Gumbaz (The Seven Cupolas) Mausoleum is the burial place for members of the royal families of the Shirvan shahs. Continue to Baku. Arrive and check-in to the hotel. Then follows the visiting of the old city *Icheri sheher-the inner city*. Icheri sheher means the inner city. It was called the inner after the oil boom of the middle of the XIX century when the city stopped to hold in defense walls and left its limit. Several tens of the historical- architectural monuments at the same time the Shirvanshakhs Palace, the symbol of Baku city The Maiden Tower, the place of merchants rest Karavansaray are concentrated in the Icheri sheher, with the square of 22 hectares. Icheri sheher is the live organism which has its own infrastructure and inhabited files. The place where 1300 families are living. In a word it is an ancient city in the modern city. Evening walk along the central streets of the city and updated fountain square, shopping.
Overnight in Baku.

Day 18 Baku / Gobustan / Absheron Peninsula
Excursion to art- historical reserve Gobustan, where the petroglyphic drawings, barrows and housing objects have been remained which are dated from X – VIII centuries B.C. up to average centuries. The certificates of the Stone Age citizens and another periods, petroglyphic drawings, the human parking and the gravestone monuments are concentrated in Gobustan. Not far from there is *gavan chalan dash* is original tambourine-stone, like a huge flat wise plate. Rhythmical accurate motives could be taken from it by the percussion. It is considered that ritual dancing’s and ceremonies were accompanied by these sounds. The visiting of Gobustan will transfer you to another world, the world of the past mankind and will let you to feel the atmosphere of the thousand-year history of this place. Visiting the temple of the fire worshippers Atasgah and burning mountain *Yanar dag*. Atashgah means the House of Fire, place of fire. The territory of this temple is known for unique nature phenomenon as the burning exits of the natural gas. The temple of fire is of the main places where the ancient supporters of Zoroaster religion worshipped there to the fire. In The museum complex Atashgah you will be told about the life way Zaraustra worshippers and also about the traditions and the customs which they adhered. Excursion to Yanar Dag. You can see here nature phenomenon, incessant burning nature gas on the rock which named to the Yanar Dag reserve the burning rock. As the historians say, maybe this place gave the name *the fire country* to Azerbaijan.
Overnight in Baku.

Day 19 Transfer to the airport
Departure

From 5 pax:
Rates in Euro in 3* hotel (city center) per person in DBL/Twin room occupancy for: 1755 Euro

Number of Persons ARMENIA GEORGIA AZERBAIJAN TOTAL
1 Person € 1,150 € 2,609 € 1,394 € 5,153
2 Persons € 710 € 1,485 € 773 € 2,968
3 Persons € 590 € 1,136 € 685 € 2,411
4 Persons € 510 € 959 € 472 € 1,941
From 5 Persons € 470 € 840 € 445 € 1,755
Sup SNGL € 100 € 185 € 115 € 400
Sup HB € 100 € 120 € 70 € 290
Sup FB € 180 € 240 € 140 € 560
Sup 4*/pp in DBL/TWIN € 100 € 195 € 50 € 345
Sup 4*/SNL € 180 € 260 € 132 € 572

Armenian part rates include:

5 overnights in Yerevan
Transfers airport / hotel / border
Transportation as per program
English speaking Cultural tour guide
Meal plan BB: (breakfast at the hotel)
1 bottle of mineral water per day/per person

Azerbaijan part rates include:

1 overnight in Shekii
1 overnight in Ismayilly
2 overnights in Baku
Transportation as per program
English speaking Cultural tour guide
Catering BB: (breakfast at the hotel)
1 bottle of mineral water per day/per person

Georgian part rates include:

4 overnights in Tbilisi
1 overnight in Kutaisi
2 overnights in Mestia
1 overnight in Batumi
1 overnight in Telavi
Transfers airport / hotel / airport
Transportation as per program
English speaking Cultural tour guide
Catering BB: (breakfast at the hotel)
1 bottle of mineral water per day/per person

The rates do not include:

Air fare
Travel insurance
Lunches and dinners
Entrance fees
Optional visits
Armenia visa fee 3.000 AMD ~ 7 Euro
Azerbaijan visa fee
Alcoholic beverages except described