History and Culture of Armenia Tour

7 nights starting from
£2900

  • Yerevan – Armenia’s fascinating capital

  • Glorious Lake Sevan – at 1900m above sea level

  • Gyumri – the nation’s cultural heart

  • Cave monastery of Geghard, carved into the Azat Gorge

  • A host of superlative monasteries, churches and Temples

Straddling east and west, the nation of Armenia has a long and tempestuous history, including occupation and genocide, dating back to the Romans.  It adopted religion of Christianity in ad 301, and developed a new alphabet a hundred years later, both of which have survived domination by Byzantines, Arabs, Mongols, Turks and Russians, as have many of its spectacular religious buildings and its distinctive culture. Our glorious new tour takes you to some of the main sights of this largely unknown country, with UNESCO listed monasteries and temples, its capital city, Yerevan and cultural heart, Gyumri, breathtaking Lake Sevan at 1900m above sea level, private local music performance, visit to a Russian Molokan village and even a bread-making demonstration. This tour is truly a journey of discovery for the inquisitive traveller.

Available Departures

From

28 - April - 2025 £ 2900.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

London Heathrow

Departing: 28th April 2025 at 09:00

Returning: 05th May 2025 at 16:10

ITINERARY

Day 1: Fly to Yerevan and transfer to the hotel 
Fly from London Heathrow to Yerevan Airport, via Paris. On arrival transfer to the hotel.

Day 2: Yerevan city
A packed day as we start our introduction to Armenia’s capital with a short tour of Republic Square, then visit the “Mother of Armenia” statue, located in the Victory Park overlooking the city. The panoramic tour will also include the beautiful Opera and Ballet building, Parliament and the National Assembly building. We’ll visit the Matenadaran Museum of Ancient manuscripts showcasing the unique literary heritage of the Armenians, with the earliest manuscripts here dating to the 9th century and continue with a walking tour at the Cascade Architectural Complex and open-air Museum of Modern Art. At the base of the Cascade is a garden courtyard with statues by contemporary sculptures such as Fernando Botero.   After lunch (own expense), we will visit the heartbreaking Armenian Genocide Memorial & Museum to learn about the most tragic event in the history of the Armenian nation in the early 20th century, after which we will see the Genocide Memorial. Both the museum and the memorial are located on the Tsitsernakaberd hill overlooking Yerevan and the Ararat Valley.  In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant with a traditional musical performance.

Day 3: UNESCO listed Armenia in the Ararat Valley
In the morning, we’ll drive through the Ararat Valley, to visit the Khor Virap monastery complex at the foot of the Biblical Mount Ararat. For 13 years, Gregory the Illuminator, the patron saint of the nation was imprisoned here, thus the name of the monastery – “khor virap”, which translates to “deep dungeon” in Armenian.  Afterwards, we travel to the spiritual centre of Armenia, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Etchmiadzin Cathedral, often referred to as the Vatican of Armenia. Built in 301-303 AD, Etchmiadzin is considered to be the oldest cathedral in the world. Highlights include the Treasury Museum of Etchmiadzin, which showcases important Christian relics, such as the pieces of the True Cross, a fragment of Noah’s Ark, and the Holy Spear which pierced the side of Christ. After lunch, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Zvartnots Cathedral, built in the 7th-century, which features a unique circular shape which was a new word in ecclesiastic architecture of the time. Back in Yerevan, visit a local house of a family of musicians, where we will enjoy a private mini-concert in the garden of the family and learn about traditional Armenian woodwind musical instruments, such as duduk, shvi, and blul. Duduk and its music are recognized as a Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Day 4: Lake Sevan and Dilijan
Today, we travel to the shores of Lake Sevan – this high-altitude lake, situated at 1900 meters above sea level, occupies around 5% of Armenia's surface area. Here, visit the monastery of Sevanavank, situated atop the Lake Sevan peninsula. Founded in the 9th century, the complex offers breath-taking panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding mountains (which requires a climb of about 200 stairs). Afterwards, visit the spa resort town of Dilijan, surrounded by the forests of Dilijan National Park with its rich flora and fauna. Learn about Dilijan’s past and present during a short walking tour and visit local artisans’ workshops to see craftsmen at work (woodcarving, ceramics). After lunch, we head to a nearby village to meet Russian Molokans, a religious and ethnic community that was exiled to Armenia in the 19th century. The host family will share the lifestyle of the Molokans and will treat the group to tea and homemade jams. Drive back to the hotel in Yerevan.

Day 5: The cultural capital of Armenia – the city of Gyumri
Another fascinating day in store as we first visit the 13th-century monastery of Saghmosavank situated atop the Kasagh gorge. On a clear day, three mountains can be seen from here: Ararat, Aragats and Ara. A short drive from here will take you to one of the largest wine factories in Armenia – Armenia Wine. Founded in 2008, Armenia Wine Factory today is the icon of modern winemaking of Armenia. During the tour, visit the unique Wine History Museum of Armenia, located on the premises of the factory, which explains the millennia-old winemaking traditions of the country. Upon arrival in Gyumri and hotel check-in, take a short orientation walk to get acquainted with the area.

Day 6: Gyumri tour and back to Yerevan
Start the day with a walking tour in Gyumri Old Town, which features buildings built of black and red tufa stone dating back to 18th and 19th centuries, with ornate porticos, wooden doors and drainpipes  with intricate designs.  Afterwards, we will visit the Gyumri Museum of Urban Life and National Architecture. Located in the house of one of the wealthy merchant families of 19th-century Gyumri, the museum introduces the history and the everyday-life of Gyumri and its people, as well as the local cultural and architectural characteristics of the city. Finally, after lunch, visit the Aslamazyan Sisters’ Gallery. Situated in a 19th-century residential building in the Old Town of Gyumri, the Mariam and Yeranuhi Aslamazyan Sisters’ Gallery features the complete collection of the paintings, graphic, ceramic works of the sister artists, a total of over 620 original works.  Return to Yerevan.

Day 7: Geghard, Garni & Yerevan
In the morning, travel to the Kotayk region of Armenia to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site cave monastery of Geghard, carved into the adjacent cliffside of Azat gorge. Here, enjoy a live performance of medieval Armenian spiritual chants by a local choir in one of the cave chambers of the monastery. A short drive from here is the nearby village of Garni, where we will visit the 1st-century Temple of Garni, the only remaining Greco-Roman colonnaded building in the region. Built in the Ionic order in 77 AD, the temple is the best-known monument and symbol of pre-Christian Armenia. Continue to a local rustic house restaurant to witness the process of baking the traditional Armenian bread, “lavash”, a soft, unleavened flatbread baked in an oven known as a “tonir”. Upon returning to Yerevan, visit the Yerevan Food Market.  

Day 8: Departure After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for return flights to London Heathrow, via Paris.

NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 32 passengers.

Tour Grading: This tour is graded as moderate. The itinerary is fairly active, with lots of activities and sites included.  Some sites will have uneven ground and steps with no handrails. Some floors and steps may be slippery with lots of steps. Some of the walking tours will have limited places to sit en route, and you will need to stand for extended periods at attractions.

INCLUDED

  • Return flights from London Heathrow to Yerevan via Paris
  • 6 nights bed and breakfast at the three-star Holiday Inn Republic Square Hotel, Yerevan based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • 1 night bed and breakfast at the four-star Shiraz Plaza Hotel, Gyumri based on a shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • One dinner 
  • Four lunches at local restaurants
  • Tea at a local home
  • Wine tasting
  • Transfers and full touring itinerary
  • Tour manager throughout

NOT INCLUDED

  • Double for sole use room supplement - £420
  • Holiday insurance 
  • Meals other than those stated 
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc 
  • Porterage and gratuities

HOTEL

Holiday Inn Republic Square, Yerevan
This three-star hotel is located in central Yerevan, near to Republic Square. The hotel boasts 3 restaurants, a fitness centre, and spa with swimming pool and sauna. The comfortable bedrooms with modern amenities offer flat-screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, Hair dryer, and air-conditioning. 

Hotel Website

Shiraz Plaza, Gyumri
Four-star hotel in Gyumri centre, with modern facilities including a restaurant, bar, and spa. The modern bedrooms include TV, WIFI, air-conditioning, hairdryer, and tea and coffee making facilities.

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