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Fascinating Caucasus 
 


Cultural Tour (14 days)


Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan - the Caucasian land of hospitality. Visit the capitals of these three countries is the perfect introduction to their great culture, rich spirit and diversity. We make the way from Baku, Azerbaijan to Tbilisi, Georgia and Yerevan, Armenia, through the rolling hills and lush valleys, beautiful and scenic Caucasus Mountains and lakes, ancient architectural monuments and fascinating villages
 


Day 1 Baku
Start exploring Azerbaijan with a city tour of Baku, which is one of the oldest and biggest cities in the East for antiquity, territory and population. We’ll visit the Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower, UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Inner City (Icheri Sheher) has preserved much of its 12th century defensive walls. The 12th century Maiden Tower (Giz Galasy), built over earlier structures dating from the 7th to 6th centuries BC, and the 15th century Shirvanshahs' Palace, one of the pearls of Azerbaijan's architecture. Juma Mosque and the Carpet Museum. We will have a walk in Naberezhny Park and along Baku Boulevard, the second largest one in Europe. On Boulevard we’ll get a boat and make trip on it along Baku Bay. We’ll be introduced with the interesting facts and legends of the largest lake in the world better known as Caspian Sea.
Overnight in Baku

Day 2 Baku/Absheron Peninsula
Leaving for a tour in Absheron Peninsula. Ateshgah, the Fire Worshippers' Temple is located in the village of Surakhany. It was built on the land where natural gas burned eternally and worshipped by Zoroastrian believers who travelled from the province of Multan in India to visit this sacred place. These ancient fires are believed to have given Azerbaijan its name, which is thought by some researchers to mean the "Land of Fires”. Visit also well preserved ancient castles of Absheron Peninsula dated 12th-13th c.c. There are several fine medieval castles - one each at Amirajan and Nardaran and two at Mardakyany - apparently built for defense by the Shirvan Shahs in the 14th century.
Overnight in Baku.

Day 3 Baku/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. Also 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. Upon our checking-in at the hotel, we’ll enjoy the farewell dinner, tasting traditional Azeri cuisine dishes
Overnight in Sheki.

Day 4 Sheki/Telavi/Sighnaghi
Depart from Azerbaijan to Georgia. Change transport at the border in Lagodekhi. Drive to Sighnaghi. Sighnaghi is situated in the very eastern part of Georgia. Even in the 12th-13th centuries these places had been populous. Sighnaghi faces the Alazani field from the rising ground (750 m elevation), it is combined with the surroundings and it’s impossible to forget after having seen it.
Overnight in Sighnaghi.

Day 5 Sighnaghi/Bodbe/Telavi/Tbilisi
Visit Bodbe St. Nino’s monastery. On June 1, Orthodox Church of Georgia marks the day of St. Nino’s entrance from Cappadocia. Bodbe Monastery keeps her tomb. After visiting the Bodbe Monastery of the 9th century, we’ll take our way to David Gareji Monastery Complex, one of the most important landmarks of Georgia. This site is characterized by a unique combination of the historic architecture, prehistoric archaeological sites, rich paleontological fields and important bio-geographical features. Drive to Telavi, the main city and administrative center of Kakheti, eastern province of Georgia. We’ll visit Telavi State Historical and Ethnographical Museum and Palace of the King Erekle; Shuamta (5th-17th c.c.) and Ikalto (5th c.) monastery complexes, Alaverdi Cathedral (11th c.). Drive to Tsinandali and visit Palace of Al. Chavchavadze, famous Georgian poet. Tasting of the Georgian wine here. Afterwards drive to Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi.

Day 6 Tbilisi/Mtskheta/Kutaisi
We leave the capital this morning and drive to Mtskheta, the spiritual heart of Georgia. Here we visit what is considered to be the most sacred place in Georgia, the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. The 9th century basilica contains the grave of Sidonia, who was said to have been buried holding Christ’s robe. We also visit the 6th century Jvari church before driving via Khosuri and Surami into the hills towards the Rikoti Pass, claimed to be a watershed between Asia and Europe. Here the road winds through narrow, forested valleys before dropping onto the fertile plains of the Rioni, Georgia’s most important river. Arriving in Kutaisi, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Colchis, we check into our guesthouse for a two night stay. It was here that Jason stole King Aeetes the Golden Fleece when he fell in love with the king’s daughter Medea. Kutaisi has always been an important town throughout the ages and for many years was the capital of Georgia, when Tbilisi was occupied by the Arabs. The period between the reigns of King Bagrat and Queen Tamar (roughly 900 – 1200) was the golden age for Kutaisi and most of the significant buildings date from this time. Now it is the main city of the Imereti region and here the people are renowned for their sense of humor and also a special kind of ‘khachapuri’ – the cheese bread unique to Georgia.
Overnight in Kutaisi.

Day 7 Kutaisi sightseeing
This morning we drive to the magnificent monastery complex at Gelati, which consists of a variety of churches and the Academy building. It was founded in 1106 by King David the Builder in gratitude to God for his victories over the Turks. The King wanted it to serve as a centre of Christendom, so as well as scholars many religious artists studied here. Many of the treasures which were made here have been lost over the centuries, however the buildings and frescos in them are extremely well preserved, and the setting of the monastery on a hillside with views over to the distant Caucasus peaks is attractive. Later we drive via the smaller monastery of Motsameta, spectacularly sited on a cliff-edge, back to our guesthouse in Kutaisi. During free time this afternoon, it is possible to walk from our guesthouse through the attractive back streets to Bagrati Cathedral, completed in 1003. As with many cathedrals, it has been added to throughout the ages and today maintains grandeur and nobility despite its ruined state.
Overnight in Kutaisi.

Day 8 Kutaisi/Vardzia/Bakuriani
We appreciate the amazing diversity of landscape in this small country during today’s drive. Heading for the alpine meadows of Bakuriani we retrace our route before turning south to drop into the majestic deciduous forests of the Borjomi Gorge. Stopping briefly at Ubisi church, well known for its 14th century murals, this small complex dates back to the 9th century. We then continue on to the picturesque mountain resort of Bakuriani which will be our base for the next two nights. There is plenty of time this afternoon to explore the area independently. One stop on our excursion today is a visit to Khertvisi Fortress, dramatically situated on a cliff above the confluence of two major rivers. Later we enjoy a leisurely visit to one of Georgia’s most significant sites: the cave town of Vardzia. Established by King Giorgi III in the 12th century as a stronghold against the Turkish Sultanate (the Turkish border is only 10km away), Vardzia was subsequently developed by his daughter, Tamar (later to become Queen Tamar), who created a cave monastery that became a centre of Georgian culture. This network of caves above the Mtkvari (Kura) river once numbered 3,000, with up to 19 tiers in some places. Much of it was destroyed after a huge earthquake in 1456 and only 550 caves have been discovered. There are numerous churches, meeting halls, refectories and wine cellars, all interconnected by tunnels and stairways. Drive to Bakuriani.
Dinner and overnighting in Bakuriani.

Day 9 Bakuriani/Gudauri
After breakfast drive to Gudauri. Georgian Ski resort. On the way visit Borjomi Park and taste "Borjomi” Mineral water. Visit Ananuri Castle and monastery. Jinvali water reservoir. Mtiuleti, the land of the mountains, historical province in eastern Georgia, on the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. Khevi is a small historical-geographic area in northeastern Georgia. It is included in the modern-day Kazbegi district, Mtskheta-Mtianeti region. Located on the northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus mountains, it comprises three gorges of the rivers Truso, Tergi and Snostsq’ali. Ananuri ensemble of XVII century. It comprises a tower, small-domed church, big-domed temple and a bell-tower. The ensemble overlooks the artificial reservoir of Zhinvali built in 1971.
Dinner and overnighting in Gudauri.

Day 10 Gudauri/Kazbegi/Tbilisi
ADrive to Gorge of Dariali (Northern gate of Georgia) - The first fortress was erected here in the first half of the 2nd century B.C. It was repaired in the 5th century A.D. and again in the 12th century. A grand ecclesiastical complex is being built here nowadays. Visit Holy Trinity Church of Gergeti of 14th century - It is built on the slope of Mt. Mkinvartsveri (top of glacier), on the left bank of the river Tergi. It is the monument built on the highest spot in Europe. Gergeti is a domed church with a bell-tower. Drive back to Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi.

Day 11 Tbilisi/Haghpat/Sanahin/Goshavank/Dilijan
Depart to the Georgian-Armenian border. We visit the Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin (UNESCO World Heritage Sites). These two Byzantine monasteries in the Tumanian region from the period of prosperity during the Kiurikian dynasty (10th -13th c.c.) were important centers of learning. Sanahin was renowned for its school of illuminators and calligraphers. The two monastic complexes represent the highest flowering of Armenian religious architecture, whose unique style developed from a blending of elements of Byzantine ecclesiastical and the traditional vernacular architectures of the Caucasian region. Continue our trip to Dilijan.Visit Goshavank (or Haghartsin) Monastery, magnificent and beautiful ecclesiastic monuments which are the highlight of the medieval Armenian architecture. They are situated in dense oak woods, in the gorges of small but turbulent mountain rivers. The local terrain and scenery determined the compositional peculiarities of these ensembles. Walk thrue old Dilijan.
Overnight in Old Dilijan

Day 12 Lake Sevan/Yerevan/Etchmiadzin/Zvartnots
Continue the way to Lake Sevan, a huge mountain lake that takes up 5% of Armenia’s surface area and is about 2000 meters (6562 ft.) above sea level.Visit Sevanavank monastry. Drive to Yerevan.Visit Folk Art Museums Visit the Etchmiadzin Cathedral , the center of the Armenian Apostolic Church (301-303 AD) and the Holy See of the Armenian Apostolic Church including the Treasury museum and the underground Pagan Altar. Visit the one of most beautiful churches in Armenia "St.Hripsime”1600 AD .Visit rouins of Zvartnots (temple vigil of forces ) 10 C
Overnight in Yerevan

Day 13 Yerevan/Garni/Geghard/Sightseeing tour
Start our tour with visits to Matenadaran, We begin our day with a visit to Garni, the Pagan Temple of the 1st century, which was also the residence of Armenian Kings in the 3rd century. Visit the Geghard Cave Monastery, a fantastic sample of Armenian medieval architecture. Back to Yerevan. Start a sightseeing tour. We can go to Tsitsernakaberd Monument and Museum, built in 1965, this monument commemorates the 1915 Genocide of Armenians. The monument and its eternal flame are viewed as pilgrimage sites for Armenians all around the world. The tour will over on the phanoramic place ,where you can admire all the picturesque view of night Yerevan
Overnight in Yerevan

Day 14 Departure
Transfer to the airport.
End of tour

 

 
 
Minimum travelers 5
» Cost for 1 person: 1430 €

Package Includes:

Inland transportation
Tour Guide
Hotel Accommodation (in the cities) Double room
Guest House Accommodation (in the villages)
Meals according to the program
1 bottle of mineral water per person per day
CD with trip photos
Leaving party at the National restaurant

Package Excludes:

Air fare
Single room supplement
Meals except described
Alcoholic beverages
Travel insurance
Visas to Armenia and Azerbaijan



 
 
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