Go for an adventure to Armenian Highland to see 10,000 years old rock carvings – traces of habitation, depicting hunting scenes, farming, astronomical sights, even zodiac signs. Visit the oldest astronomical observatory in the world - Zorats Karer (7600 BC) – built thousands of years before Stonehenge in England or Egyptian pyramids! In Georgia see the subterranean wonder of nature – The Prometheus Cave – and the impressive work of men – rock-cut cities. Armenia and Georgia boast of beautiful green landscapes, ecological food and natural forests. It is the land of magnificent monasteries built on the mountain tops or at the edge of a precipice, creating unforgettable scenic views.
Have you ever dreamed of a journey to countries that are still not swarmed with tourists? To breathe fresh mountain air and sink into mountain healing springs ? Archaeological Paths will make it happen! Immerse yourself in the history, cultures, and landscapes of the beautiful Caucasus region; discover ancient settlements and fortresses, and intriguing cave towns, including UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Georgia is the first country in the world that started the production of wine (8,000 years ago) and it is still famous for the best quality of drinks. Georgia's Caucasus attracts with hospitable and kind people, dusted bottles of wine in dark cellars, breathtaking mountain views, medieval architectural monuments and of course delicious cuisine - starting with shashlik up to khinkali. You will taste all the local specialties during our two weeks tour.
Armenia, in addition to rich prehistoric heritage, was the first nation in the world to officially convert to Christianity (in 301 A.D.). In its golden age, Armenia was one of the most powerful kingdoms of Asia Minor and its territory was spreading to the lands currently belonging to Turkey. Armenia once included Mount Ararat, which biblical tradition identifies as the mountain that Noah's ark rested on after the flood. Still today, the impressive Mount Ararat looms over the capital of Armenia, Yerevan.
Join us to explore Armenia and Georgia during one-of-a-kind 14-day long in-depth adventure!
June 16-29, 2018
July 6-19, 2019
Day 1: Arrival to Armenia
Arrival to Yerevan International Airport Zvartnots. A representative of Archaeological Paths company will welcome our guests at the airport and transport them to the luxurious 5-star hotel in Yerevan. After the check-in process at the hotel, our guests will have time to rest. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 2: Yerevan City Tour & History Museum
Breakfast at the hotel. You will start your tour with panoramic city tour of Yerevan. Along the way you will see the most important attractions of Yerevan, including Kievyan Bridge, the Presidential Palace, National Parliament and the Opera House. You will also visit the History Museum which houses collections of Armenian artifacts from the fields of archaeology, ethnography and the fine arts exhibit. We will continue the sightseeing with a visit to Brandy factory with tasting of 3 types of famous Armenian cognac. Armenia is known as one of the best producers of cognac and whisky in the world. Lunch during the tour. Return to the hotel. Dinner at a traditional Armenian restaurant. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 3: Yerevan - Echmiatsin - Zvartnots - Garni - Yerevan
After breakfast drive to Echmiatsin – the oldest and most important Armenian temple. Built between 301-303 AD, it is the oldest Christian cathedral in the world. Next, we will visit Zvartnots which boast of a precious, though ruined, architectural complex of buildings from the 7th century. The complex includes the Zvartnots temple of St. George and the palace of Katholikos Nerses III. The Zvartnots temple, built as a main Armenian cathedral in the years 641-661 was supposed to outshine the beauty of the cathedral in Echmiatsin.
Lunch in a restaurant with a beautiful view on the Geghard monastery with local specialties of Armenian cuisine.
Drive to Geghard, a monastic complex carved in solid rock in 1215. It is famous for being the resting place of St. Andrew and St. John, and for the legend of a hidden relic – the Spear of Destiny – said to be the one that pierced Jesus Christ on the cross. We will continue with a visit to Garni, a temple from the 1st century AD dedicated to the Sun God Mitra, resembling the Parthenon in Athens.
After the visit in Garni we will return to Yerevan for the dinner and overnight stay.
Day 4: Yerevan - Goris - Tatev - Karahunj - Goris
After breakfast we will depart to Tatev Monastery nearby Goris.
We will reach the 9th-century Tatev Monastery by the longest cable car in the world. It is located 5,300 feet above the sea level in the mountains. The monastery was built in an incredible harmony with the picturesque landscape creating an impression as if it is an inseparable part of its natural surroundings. It was founded in the 4th century at the site of a pagan temple. In the 14th and 15th centuries Tatev Monastery hosted one of the most important Armenian medieval universities, the University of Tatev, which contributed to the advancement of science, religion and philosophy, reproduction of books and miniature painting. Scholars of Tatev University contributed to the preservation of Armenian culture during one of the most turbulent periods in its history. The monastery is richly carved and beautifully located over a mountain slope, with views on the surrounding pristine natural forests.
Lunch in Sisan with the specialties of the local Armenian cuisine. After lunch we will drive to Karahunj.
Karahunj, or Zorats Karer, is an ancient archaeological site with megalithic structures called the “singing rocks”. It was founded between 7,600 BC and 4,500 BC which means the site is much older than the Stonehenge in England or Egyptian Pyramids. This complex served both as an ancient temple and an astronomical observatory. It is an impressive sight: over 200 basalt stones, each weighing up to 10 tons – aligned in an arch shape. The holes in the singing rocks could have been carved to observe the phases of the moon and the sunrise during summer and winter solstice. In 2010, the University of Oxford and the Royal Geographical Society of Great Britain explored Karahunj and concluded that the megalithic complex is probably the oldest observatory in the world. Zorats Karer is popularly known as “Armenian Stonehenge”.
Dinner and overnight in Goris.
Day 5: Goris - Ughtasar - Goris
After breakfast we will go for an adventure in jeep cars to explore the Ughtasar petroglyphs. Lost in the mountains, a lake with crystal clear waters will reveal memories of prehistoric times. One of Armenia's least known and interesting attractions is to be found at the top of Ughtasar Mountain, situated more than 9,000 feet above the sea level. Aside from the natural beauty of the mountaintop valley, the views and the small lake, there is an abundance of millennia-old carved images.
An ancient community in Armenian Highlands left traces of habitation on over 2,000 dark volcanic stones. The oldest date back to 8,000 years BC. The mysterious petroglyphs depict hunting scenes, farming, astronomical sights, ancient rituals, religious dances and wild animals: goats, deer, wild cats. They offer a unique insight into the lives of our ancestors thousands of years ago. Although the site was discovered in the early 20th century, it is still not fully understood today.
Dinner and overnight stay in Goris.
Day 6: Goris - Caravanserai - Noratus - Dilijan
After breakfast we will drive to Caravanserai to see the Selim Mountain Pass where the caravans on the ancient Silk Route rested on their way, while transporting precious goods, including exotic spices, from China to Europe.
After lunch we will take a scenic drive along the Sevan Lake. It is a truly impressive sight – the lake supplies water to 28 rivers and is the source of the Hrazdan river. In the sun the perfectly still water surface turns almost turquoise. It is the biggest Armenian lake and one of the highest located lakes in the world.
We will arrive to the medieval cemetery in Noratus, the biggest collection of Armenian ‘khachkars’ (memorial steles carved in stone with intricate crosses, floral and religious motives and beautiful rosettes). You can see khachkars also in the Armenian monasteries and at the entrances to medieval tombs. The oldest date back to the 7th century.
Dinner and overnight stay in Dilijan. Dilijan is a land of natural, pristine forests and rivers with scenic views.
Day 7: Dilijan - Haghpat - Akhaltsikhe - Rabat Fortress
In the morning we will drive to Haghpat. The Lori region is a land uncontaminated by civilization – we will visit the medieval monasteries: Haghpat and Sanahin from 10th-13th centuries. These architectural complexes are the most impressive works of art in Armenia, combining the beauty of nature with architecture.
After lunch with traditional specialties from this region we will continue our journey to Georgia, crossing the border in Bavra.
From Bavra we will drive to the Rabat Fortress. The old stone Rabat fortress, the main sight of the Akhaltsikhe town, is standing on the small hill on the very shores of the Potskhovi river. This military building erected in the 13th century had witnessed a lot over the centuries. The fortress had been destroyed several times, was often in a siege, and as a result, it absorbed traces of different cultures and religions. In 2012 a large reconstruction was held after which Rabat fortress in Akhaltsikhe turned into a town within the town. It has become not only a historical monument, but a real cultural city centre. There are church, mosque, synagogue, small park, History Museum, various shops, hotels and even civil registry office inside the fortress walls.
Dinner and overnight in the hotel located in the historic centre of Akhaltsikhe, right inside the Rabat Fortress.
Day 8: Vardzia - Kutaisi
After breakfast we will drive to Vardzia – a remarkable site – rock city carved in the slopes of the Erusheti mountain. Its heyday was in the 12th and 13th centuries, when Georgia was ruled by the beloved Georgian queen, Tamar the Great. Over 3,000 chambers and corridors were carved on several levels inside the mountain, and it could be once used as a refuge by up to 50,000 people. One can still see the decorations on the walls of the chambers and wonder at the beautiful frescos on the walls of the Orthodox churches, the remainders of the former greatness of this city. A small group of monks still lives within this ancient city, guarding this priceless historical treasure.
The precision of the carvings of the caves, chambers and tunnels of Vardzia still amaze the visitors. It is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable sites in Georgia.
After Vardzia we’ll continue to Kutaisi. Dinner and overnight stay in Kutaisi.
Day 9: The Cave of Prometheus, Gelati, Bagrati, Kutaisi City Tour
In the morning we will drive to the Cave of Prometheus. This exceptional wonder of nature is adorned with a magnitude of stalactites and stalagmites. The rock formations in the shapes of columns and waterfalls stir the imagination of the visitors of this wonderful site. The sightseeing is accompanied by classical music and the beauty of the cave is emphasized by fairytale colors. From the cave one can see the Khvamli Mountain where according to a legend Prometheus was chained as punishment for providing people with the blessing of fire. We will also take a boat tour on an underground river inside the Prometheus Cave to admire the rock formations from a different perspective.
Nearby the city of Kutaisi we will see the Gelati Monastery. Inside we will see perfectly preserved frescoes and manuscripts from the 12th-17th centuries. The monastic complex includes the Church of the Virgin which is beautifully sunlit despite its height thanks to huge windows. The Monastery is a resting place of Georgian king David the Builder, canonized after his death. For hundreds of years the Gelati Monastery was one of the main cultural and intellectual centers in Georgia. It included an Academy where the best Georgian scientists, theologians and philosophers met. In result the Monastery used to be called “a new Greece” or “second Athos”.
On day 9 we will also visit the oldest city in the world, Kutaisi – archaeological evidence indicates the city existed as early as the second millennium BC. This is the location of the ancient kingdom of Colchis – where the mythological Greek hero Jason searched for the Golden Fleece. We will visit the Bagrati cathedral which towers over the city – a symbol of the city and the entire country of Georgia, included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list since 1994.
Dinner and overnight in Kutaisi.
Day 10: Kutaisi - Gori - Upliscyche - Mtskheta - Tbilisi
In the morning we will drive to Mia village next to Chiatura. In the green landscape we will see a lonesome rocky peak – Katskhi Pillar with a picturesque church and hermitage on top. The rock is surrounded by legends. It remained unclimbed by researchers and unsurveyed until 1944 and was more systematically studied from 1999 to 2009. These studies determined the ruins were of an early medieval hermitage dating from the 9th or 10th century. A Georgian inscription paleographically dated to the 13th century suggests that the hermitage was still extant at that time. Religious activity associated with the pillar was revived in the 1990s and the monastery building had been restored within the framework of a state-funded program by 2009.
After seeing the Pillar, we will drive to Gori, where we will visit Stalin’s museum, as well as his house and a railway car which he used to travel around the country. Later we will continue to see the huge fortress that towers over Gori and makes a great viewpoint. It first appears in the 13th century records, but archaeological evidence shows that the area had already been fortified in the last centuries BC.
After that we will drive to Upliscyche. It is a rock-hewn town and the oldest settlement in Georgia. It was founded around 5th century BC and was inhabited for hundreds of years until the Middle Ages. The entire city was carved in solid rock. At the magnificent site of Upliscyche we will admire the fantastic works of medieval art and the ancient architecture. At the top of the complex we will find a 12th century Christian basilica. We will be able to appreciate the landscape surrounding this historic site – the meandering river and the mysterious rocky formations.
The next stop on our way is Mtskheta, located between two rivers, it is an ancient capital of Georgia. For Christians in Georgia it was a Sacred City and it served as a religious center, as it was the city where Georgia was first proclaimed to be a Christian state.
We will have dinner with wine tasting in a traditional Georgian restaurant. Overnight stay in Tbilisi.
Day 11: Tbilisi - Ananuri - Kazbegi - Gergeti
On our way to Kazbegi we will visit Ananuri. This fortress is situated on the foreland by the Aragvi River, about 40 miles from Tbilisi. It was built by the Dukes of Aragvi and its earliest parts date back to the 13th century.
Then we will continue to Kazbegi, located on the former Georgian Military Road. We will fully experience this charming region with the most impressive viewpoints in the Caucasus and one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. We will take a ride in 4x4 jeeps on the winding roads surrounded by natural forests and impressive rock formations.
We will drive up to 8,000 feet above the sea level to see Tsminda Sameba (Gergeti Trinity Church). Undoubtedly, the Gergeti church and the surrounding mountains create one of the most extraordinary views of the Caucasus. The view of the church against the background of huge, picturesque mountains is the most breathtaking scenery in Georgia which made it a symbol of this country.
Dinner and overnight stay in Kazbegi with view on the top of the mountains.
Day 12: Tbilisi City Tour
We will leave Kazbegi for Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Tbilisi is famous for its original architectural landscape of hand-carved balconies and wooden galleries.
We will see the famous Freedom Square in Tbilisi with a column with the statue of St. George, the saint patron of Georgia. The official name of the statue is “Statue of Freedom”, it was created in 2006 by a famous Georgian sculptor, Zurab Tsereteli. We will also see the surrealist leaning clock tower, looking as if it’s been designed by Salvador Dali. It is full of colorful mosaics and embellishments, its magical silhouette nicely fitting its surroundings. Just next to it you will see the puppet theatre Rezo Gabriadze.
Tbilisi Sioni Cathedral is a must-see place on the map of the city, it is famous for its precious relic, the Grapevine cross of Saint Nino. Dinner and overnight stay in Tbilisi.
Day 13: Tbilisi - Sighnaghi - Tbilisi (Georgia) or Yerevan (Armenia)
After breakfast we will visit the mecca of Georgian wine – the Kakheti region. The Eastern Georgia is the main wine producing region in the country. Wine grapes have been cultivated in these lands for 8,000 years, which allowed the local people to perfect the craft of changing their harvest into divine and outstanding wine. What is more, according to the archaeologists, Kakheti is the world's cradle of wine. We will visit the vineyards to see the traditional methods of producing wine in clay kwewri. It is the oldest wine production method in the world that is still practiced even today. This land is also known for hospitable and kind-hearted people who live surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, ancient castles and magnificent churches.
In the afternoon we return to Tbilisi (in Georgia) or Yerevan (in Armenia). Depending on your preferences, you can book your departure from one of those cities.
Day 14: Departure
It is time to say farewell to Armenia and Georgia. During this tour Archaeological Paths team will make sure you will have everything you need and go back home with memories that will last a lifetime.
Depending on the preferences of our guests, their departure can be organized from:
- Tbilisi Airport in Georgia
- Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan in Armenia
Price per person: $4870 USD for double room (deposit is only 800 USD during booking!). If you are traveling single, you can share a room with another tour member. If you would like to have a single room, the single supplement costs an extra 1190 USD.
- $800 deposit during booking.
- Full payment is due two months before the tour.
13-nights stay at 4/5* hotels; 3 meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner; All sightseeing tours; Entrance tickets; English speaking guides; English speaking tour leader; Transfers in air-conditioned buses; Reception at Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan; Airport Arrival & Departure transfers; Drinks during breakfast, lunches and dinners; Travel Insurance; Government taxes.
In order to book your place on our tour, you should download the registration form HERE . Please: 1. Print, 2. Fill in and sign, 3. Scan and send to our e-mail address. You can also use our online form below (BOOK NOW) – click on the booking button and follow the instructions.
The next step is to make the deposit payment to book your place on the tour. We encourage you to book this tour as soon as possible, because the number of places is limited. Please contact us if you should have any questions.
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UK phone: (203) 026 65 03
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