Jewish Heritage tour of Caucasus , Georgia and Armenia
12 DAYS /11 NIGHTS TOUR GEORGIA-ARMENIA
Best Time: MAY-OCT
Duration: 12 DAYS
TOUR INTRO: During this trip you visit the world's first Christian countries - Georgia and Armenia. This special itinerary will show you Georgia - from the High Caucasus Gorges to the Lesser Caucasus, from Wine region to the wetlands.
You will visit UNESCO heritage sites, magnificent cultural and historical monuments and enjoy the hospitality of local people. Countless sightseeings are as well among Armenia's premier tourists’ attractions. Often considered the bridge between Europe and Asia, these lands are nestled between Russia, Turkey, and the Black Sea. Travel through mountainous terrain, taste unforgettable Georgian wine and admire Armenia's beautiful capital Yerevan. In a land of forgotten wilderness, ancient cities and traditions this combined trip can be the most exciting adventure of your life!
DAY 1: ARRIVAL Transfer from TBS airport to the hotel in Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi.
DAY 2: TBILISI CITY TOUR Early breakfast. After a few hours rest, then breakfast, full day city tour. Visit Old and new districts of Tbilisi, Narikala Fortress 4th c, Sulfur bathe houses, Sharden neighborhood, Metekhi church 13th c, Great Synagogue- (The building, known as the Georgian Synagogue, was built from 1895 to 1903 in an eclectic style by Georgian Jews from Akhaltsikhe who migrated to Tbilisi in the late 19th century, thus the synagogue is also called “Synagogue of the people of Akhaltsikhe”), Bridge of Peace and Rustaveli Avenue. Free evening; Welcome dinner in traditional Georgian restaurant with folk performances.Overnight in Tbilisi.
DAY 3: TBILISI-GORI-BAKURIANI Early breakfast and check out. Drive to Gori - a small city where we will visit Stalin's house-museum and explore Uplistsikhe caves 1st mill BC. Drive to the Spa city Borjomi, visit the National Park, where we can taste famous mineral spring water Borjomi. For overnight drive to the Ski resort Bakuriani. Dinner and overnight in Bakuriani hotel. Note: Bakuriani is located up in the mountains, 1650 m above sea level. Overnight in Bakuriani.
DAY 4: BAKURIANI-AKHALTSIKHE-VARDZIA-BAKURIANI Early breakfast . Today you will enjoy full day exploration of Javakheti region. Day offer is exploration of 12th c cave city Vardzia, carved into the volcanic rocks on 13 levels, linked inside by internal corridors, secrete tunnels, painted chapels. All day we will drive along different medieval fortresses Evening come back to Akhaltsikhe and visit Rabati Fortress, museum and old citadel. Overnight in Bakuriani.
DAY 5: BAKURIANI-KUTAISI Breakfast and check out. Drive to the western Georgia via Rikoti pass to the second largest city in Georgia – Kutaisi. We will visit Kutaisi Sinagogue 19th century, Jewish Cemetery, Jewish Quarter, also two UNESCO world heritage sites in Kutaisi: Bagrati cathedral 11th c and Gelati Academy 12th c. also-local fruit market in Kutaisi (Optional); Overnight in Kutaisi.
DAY 6: KUTAISI-ONI-KUTAISI Breakfast and check out.We drive to Oni. The major sightseeings include: The Oni Synagogue- (it was built in 1895 in an eclectic style. It's Georgia’s third largest synagogue after the Great Synagogue of Tbilisi and the Synagogueof Kutaisi), Nikortsminda Cathedral-11thc (UNESCO), Barakoni Church-18thc, Oni Local Museum. Drive back to Kutaisi.In the evening the Folklore Show will be held. Overnight in Kutaisi.
DAY 7: KUTAISI-MTSKHETA-TBILISI Breakfast and check out. We drive to Sataplia-Natural reserve and see Dinosaur footprints on the rocky slope. Karst caves, glass observations veranda, park and tourist visitor center is part of the day attraction. Drive to Mtskheta -the old capital of Iberia Kingdom to visit two UNESCO world heritage sites: Jvari Monastery 6th c and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral 11th c . Later we head to Tbilisi. Free Time. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 8: TBILISI – HAGHPAT (UNESCO) – LAKE SEVAN Say good-bye to Georgia and continue your route to travel within Armenia. The first highlight you see in this land is an architectural masterpiece Haghpat Monastic Complex. Passing through deep gorges and wooded mountains you reach the peninsula of one of the highest fresh-water lakes in the world – the Sevan (1 900m). Then the steps lead you to Sevanavank Monastery beautifying the height of the peninsula. The full view of the lake of volcano-tectonic origin and the adjacent mountain chains opens out. Admire the splendid view!!! Tasting a delicious fish at a shore side bistro. By the way, the hotel is located just on the shore of Lake Sevan.
Day 9: LAKE SEVAN – SELIM– NORAVANK – KHOR VIRAP – YEREVAN Today you leave the Sevan to continue discovering Armenia. It’s worth visiting Noraduz – the world’s biggest assemblage point of cross stones. Khachkar (meaning “cross stone”) is an exceptionally Armenian phenomenon and no other Christian people has ever erected such a monument (UNESCO). For Armenians it has been an object of religious veneration equivalent to an icon. Study some of them and make sure neither resembles the others. Then the coach stops at Selim Caravanserai situated on the ancient Silk Road. It is well-preserved, so, when you go inside, it seems that in just one twinkling of an eye the medieval merchants and travelers will emerge here and the life will be in full swing again. Stay here for a bit more to enjoy the view of mountain chains followed one by the other. Moving forward to a peerless combination of architecture and nature – Noravank Monastic Complex. This is one of the rare places where you can see the bust of God the Father created in the shape of man. Continuing the route beautiful views of Ararat Valley – the main breadbasket of the country. Your visit to Khor Virap (meaning “deep pit”) is not random. It’s a royal dungeon, which now has become a pilgrimage place of world importance. Take advantage of this inimitable opportunity and enjoy the majestic view!!! Finally, you reach Yerevan and have a short spare time. Dinner at a traditional restaurant accompanied by national live music and songs. Experience a real Armenian atmosphere.
Day 10: YEREVAN CITY TOUR– GEGHARD (UNESCO) – GARNI – YEREVAN Start this day with a city tour in 2 796-year-old Yerevan. We introduce you to one of the symbols of Armenia – Matenadaran (UNESCO) which is one of the richest book-depositories in the world. It is also of world importance because many original manuscripts lost in their mother languages and known only of their Armenian translations, have been saved here from being lost. Your journey would be incomplete without seeing Geghard Monastic Complex, located on the mountainside of the almost closed amphitheater of harsh cliffs and famous for its rock-cut architecture.Thanks to its hard-to-reach area, the Holy Lance which pierced the side of Christ has been kept here for 500 years. St. Thaddeus Apostle brought it to Armenia in 33 AD. In honor of the Holy Lance, Ayrivank Monastery (meaning “Cave Monastery”) was renamed Geghart (the Armenian translation of “the Holy Lance”). A water spring is running out from a wall of one of the rock-carved churches and has been considered as miraculous since Pagan times. It's a traditional activity for visitors to drink from this water.The next stop is at the only standing pagan temple in Armenia – Garni.Unforgettable experiences are waited in a nearby village house. Take part in a real ritual of baking Armenian “lavash” bread with villagers, then taste national dish – khorovats with the “lavash” made by you. What can be more Armenian!!!
Day 11: YEREVAN – ETCHMIADZIN (UNESCO) – ZVARTNOTS (UNESCO) – YEREVAN This memorable day starts with visiting the incredibly well-preserved St. Hripsime Church dating back to the 7th C. Then you move forward to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. This is the spiritual centre of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the seat of the Supreme Patriarch and the Catholicos of All Armenians. Numerous kings and Catholicoses have been crowned and consecrated here. When Noah emerged from the Ark in the Ararat Valley, he built an altar of sacrifice in the place where the Mother Cathedral is now standing and offered a sacrifice. St. Gregory the Illuminator chose the location of the Cathedral in accordance with the vision he had. In his dream, he saw the Miatsin (meaning “the Only Begotten Son of God”) with glittering light on his face descending from the Heaven and with a golden hammer striking the ground where the Mother Cathedral was to be located (4th C). Hence, Etchmiadzin means "the place, where the Only Begotten Son of God descended"!!! In Yerevan Brandy Factory you get familiar with the production technologies and degustate the best sorts. During this trip you have already enjoyed delicious and juicy Armenian fruits.
So, it's high time to go to the Food Market and buy some of these “sun flavored souvenirs”. Free time in the capital.
Day 12: DEPARTURE FROM YEREVAN
This is a sample itinerary customized for each client