Dubai Airport Terminal 2, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Symphony of Rocks | Weekend in Armenia
Armenia, located in the South Caucasus, is somewhat an extraordinary place, frozen in time and totally living with its own rhythm. The history of first country in the world to adopt Christianity as the state religion, is shrouded in legends. It was in Ararat that Noah's Ark stopped, it was here that the miracle of Saint Gregory the Illuminator happened, who managed to survive in a cell under the monastery of Khor Wirap.
"Ararat" is first and foremost the name of the holy Armenian mountain on which, according to tradition, Noah's Ark settled. However, the story unfolded so that it is now located in the territory of Turkey. From Armenia, you can only admire its snow-covered peak from a distance, in good weather. Fortunately, there are many places worth visiting in Armenia. First of all, numerous monuments from the first centuries of Christianity. Those who enjoy the beauty of Armenian nature and architecture will also appreciate the Armenians' mastery in another field in which they undoubtedly lead the way - the art of producing cognac.
There are so many temples, monasteries and khachkars here that it is impossible to give their exact number. Nevertheless, each of these objects is gorgeous, beautiful and unique in its own way. Khachkars, literally "stone crosses", began to be forged in Armenia right after the adoption of Christianity. They were to replace pagan temples, later they also decorated crossroads, gardens and tombstones. Tens of thousands of crosses carved in stone tablets are covered with small ornaments - different for each of them.
It is true that this country does not have access to the sea, but it has the largest lake in the Caucasus - Sevan, not without reason called the Armenian sea. In addition, about 90% of the country lies at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level, and the highest elevation is the extinct volcano Aragac (4090 masl).
Established in 782 BC, Yerevan is older than Rome, considered the cradle of civilization, by 29 years! The capital of Armenia, despite its longevity, does not have a charming old town. It delights with something completely different - a mixture of modernity with places that perfectly remember nearly 70 years of communism.
Amazing Caucasus nature, hospitable inhabitants, world-class monuments and intriguing history is what awaits us on this short weekend trip, during best weather window of late spring.
Meeting at TERMINAL 2, 6am for direct flight at 8am. Immigration procedure, drive to the only remaining pagan temple in Armenia devoted to the God of Sun – Myrth, in Garni, built in 77 AD by King Trdat (Arshakid Dynasty). Trekking from the temple to Azat Gorge, magnificent and outstanding scene which creates the image of falling crags. It obtained the name "Symphony of Rocks" due to its view. The fantastic landscape of the canyon will shakes our imagination.
We will hike for approx. 11km/ 4 hrs / elevation gain 400mts.
After, hiking to monastery Havuts Tar dating 1213th century, located in the Khosrov reserve, on the left bank of the Azat River. Family hosted lunch in village house with watching of “Lavash” (Armenian traditional flat bread baked in stonemake oven) making process, testing authentic Armenian food, get acquainted with local village life.
Further on we ll head to yet another unique, caved temple St. Geghard (12th -13th cc.), the name of which means “holy spear” in the honor of the long-preserved spear, the same spear that pierced the body of crucified Christ. It is now exhibited in the museum of Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Geghard Monastery is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list (2000).
Day 2: Ararat Valley - Khor Virap - Amaghu- Noravank - Areni Wine tasting - Yerevan
Drive to Ararat valley, visit to Khor Virap Church – the place of imprisonment of St. Gregory the Illuminator, who stayed here in the small dungeon for 13 years without any food, accused by the Armenian King of preaching Christianity. It is one of the holy places for the Christian world. It is also the best point to enjoy the most spectacular view of the gorgeous biblical mountain Ararat shining with its two white peaks. Continuation of the road to Vayots Dzor region, famous for wine yards and worldwide famous a 6,100-year-old 5 winery and wine cellar in Areni discoverd by archeologists. Trekking from old settlement Amaghu through incredibly beautiful scenery till Noravank Monastery.
Trek 2hrs / 4 km / elevation gain 250 mts.
Visit Noravank monastery complex (XIII- XIV cc.). Stop at winery Arpa Parnas, optional wine tasting. Drive back to Yerevan.
On the way to airport souvenir shopping, departure at 12:10. Back home 15.20.
Activities: trekking, sightseeing. Encounter of ancient armenian culture.
Grade: Easy, available for everyone.
Accommodation and meals: 4 star hotel, double sharing, single supplement available.
Cost: 2900 AED all inclusive flights excl. dinners due to variety
Specifically excluded: visa if applicable, dinners due to variety, PCR test, entry fees - if any,
Visa: Most of passports are eligible for either free visa or on arrival.
PCR: 72 hrs. Return PCR incorporated in trip program.