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Zvartnots International Airport
Departure to Armenia.
Arrival at Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan. Handling of customs formalities, meeting with the guide and private transfer to the hotel. Accommodationat the hotel. Short rest.
City tour near Yerevan. The history of Yerevan, dates back to the 8th century BC. from the city of 3,000 years has survived only a small part. Still a few years ago the charm of the city was Soviet, but now, thanks to modern architectural conceptions many buildings appear and are still going to appear.
Proceed to the village of Garni. The citadel and pagan temple of Garni is a picturesque monument of the Hellenistic period and an impressive piece of ancient Armenian architecture. It was built in the first century A.D. by the Armenian King Tiridates and it is dedicated to a heathen god, probably to Mithra, the god of the sun whose figure stood in the depth of the sanctuary. After proclaiming Christianity as a state religion in Armenia in 301, the temple was probably used as a summer residence of the kings.
Near Garni we’ll have an opportunity to watch Armenian national bread “lavash” baking process in the underground stove called “tonir”.
Northeast of Garni, higher up the gorge of the Azat river, there is a magnificent monument of medieval Armenian architecture – Geghard monastery inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list. The meaning “the Monastery of the Spear”, originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus during his crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Vocal concert in Geghard monastery. Concert ay Gheghard Monastery. Price is 90 USD.(Optional) Return to Yerevan.
Overnight in Hotel in Yerevan.
Breakfast at the hotel. Mass at the chapel of the House of solidarity of Mother Teresa in Yerevan that gives shelter to children born with serious diseases such as spina bifida and hydrocephaly a majority of which are unfortunately destitute to death.
Departure for a visit to the monastery of Khor Virap, located in the valley of the biblical Mount Ararat. The importance of this monastery is linked to Gregory The Illuminator, who introduced Christianity to Armenia and became the first Catholicos (Supreme Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church) of all Armenians.
From the monastery opens a wonderful view to the biblical Mount Ararat where Noah’s Ark descended.
Proceed to the monastery of Noravank – a large religious and cultural center of the 13th century. Noravank – ‘new monastery’ is located in an impervious place but surrounded by a beautiful landscape. Departure to the city of Goris.
Overnight at the hotel in Goris. (B/-/-)
Breakfast at the hotel.
Departure to the Tatev Monastery where you take the ropeway and arrive at the monastery which is one of the UNESCO sites and one of the gems of medieval architecture of Armenia. It is located in a fantastic setting: deep gorge, mountain peaks and wild rocks that have made it an inacessible convent.
Drive to Noratous cemetery where many cross stones of various centuries are scattered.
Departure to Lake Sevan – the second largest alpine lake in the world with fresh water. Monasteries on the peninsula make it a popular place.
Departure to the city of Dilijan – one of the most famous resorts in Armenia. People say: “If Paradise had mountains, forests and mineral springs, it would be just like Dilijan.”
Overnight at the hotel in Dilijan.
After breakfast visit the Haghpat monastery, which is a golden work of Armenian medieval architecture and is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The monastery of Haghpat, one of the most vital cultural and religious centers of Armenia, is located on the Right Bank of the gorge of the river Debet, in the province of Lori.
Departure to the city of Spitak which was the epicenter of the devastating earthquake of 1988. Meeting with the sisters at the House of solidarity of Mother Teresa founded after 1988. A few days later Mother Teresa of Calcutta was already in Armenia with her sisters to help orphans and children with disabilities. It is located in the prefabricated village built thanks to the generosity of dozens of volunteers from Bergamo and a local newspaper. Continue tour to the village of Ashotsk to visit the hospital Redemtoris Mater, built by the Italian Caritas donated by the pope to the Armenian people after the earthquake of 7 December 1988. Meeting with Father Mario and possible dinner at the hospital. Mass at the hospital chapel. Departure to Gyumri. Overnight in Hotel in Gyumri.
After breakfast attend the Mass in the Catholic Church in Gyumri.
Departure to the monastery of Hovhannavank (13th century). The oldest part of the monastery is the single-nave basilica of St. Karapet (that is, the Holy precursor, John the Baptist) which was founded at the beginning of the 4th century by St. Gregory The Illuminator.
Continue to the Oshakan village which is known for being the last home of Mesrop Mashtots. He is famous especially for having invented the Armenian alphabet, which was a fundamental step in strengthening the Armenian national identity. His role was so important that the Apostolic Church had consecrated him and he was officially listed in the Roman Martyrology: his feast day is February 17.
Return to Yerevan. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
After breakfast departure to the town of Echmiadzin, known as the center of the Armenian Apostolic Church and is one of the first Christian churches in the world. Here is also the Holy See of Catholicos. Legend has it that Jesus Christ descended there to show the places of future churches. So Echmiadzin means “the descent of The Only Begotten”. The church was built between 301-303 AD by the Armenian king Trdad III and the first Armenian Catholicos, St. Gregory The Illuminator.
Before you get there you also make a visit to the ruins of the Zvartnots temple, the “Temple of Angels”. The Pearl of Armenian architecture was erected in the middle of the 7th century and is considered one of the architectural wonders of Armenia. The Temple was destroyed by a strong earthquake in the 10th century. Despite this, its ruins impress with the proportions and richness of the sculptural decorations.
Return to the capital. Time available, or a visit to the Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator inaugurated by His Holiness John Paul II who brought us the relics of St. Gregory the Illuminator from the Armenian church called St. Gregory of Naples.
Overnight in Hotel in Yerevan.
Transfer to the airport and departure.