Khor Virap, Noravank, Stepanakert (overnight)
Shoushi, Stepanakert history museum, Gandzasar, Askeran, Tigranakert, Stepanakert (overnight)
Tatev, Karahunj, Areni winery, back to Yerevan
Day 1: The first destination of our trip is Khor Virap. It is where Grigor Luisavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) was imprisoned for 13 years before curing King Trdat III of a disease. This caused the adoption of Christianity in Armenia in the year 301. In fact, the name Khor Virap means “deep pit”, named after the prison where St. Gregory the Illuminator was held. The next stop will be Monastery Noravank, which dates back to XIII—XIV centuries. The complex includes the 1339 St. Astvatsatsin (“Burtelashen”) sepulchre-church, St. Stepanos Nakhavka and gavit, the St. Grigor Church and Stepanos Orbelian Sepulchre, the remains of medieval chapels and residential quarters and a modern office and hall. From here we will leave for Stepanakert - capital of Artsakh. Here we will have overnight.
Day 2: After the breakfast we will visit The History Museum of Stepanakert, then leave for the city of Shushi to visit Surp Amenaprkich Ghazanchetsots Cathedral (St. Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral), which was built in 1868-1887. It is considered to be the second most important spiritual center in Artsakh. The church was built by the local residents. The consecration of the church took place on September 20, in 1888.
The next stop of the tour is Gandzasar Monastery. “Gandzasar” means treasure mountain in Armenian. On site is the Church of St. John the Baptist, which was built between 1216 and 1238. Our next destination is Tigranakert which is a ruined Armenian city dating back to the Hellenistic period. The excavated ruins of this city is revealing evidence of a once-thriving Armenian settlement that dates back to before the time of Christ. On our way back to Stepanakert we will have a short stop by the fortress of Askeran.
Day 3: After having breakfast we will for one of the famous monuments of medieval Armenian architecture - Tatev Monastery, which was built in the 9th-13th centuries. In translation from the old Armenian (grabar) "tatev" means "give wings". Indeed, located at a great height, it seems that Tatev stretches upward to the sky. The walls seem to be a natural extension of the rock that raises it so high. Thanks to the construction of the Wings of Tatev, the longest cable car in the world (5.7 km), the complex has become one of the most visited places in Armenia. Our next destination is Karahunj or Karahunj Observatory, also known as Zorats Karer or Zorats Kar, which is a megalithic composition of Bronze Age tombs (cists, dolmens or tumuli) and over 220 standing stones (menhirs).
Since ancient days Armenia was famous for the wineries where original traditions were kept until this day. It’s not a secret that a large number of wineries and vineyards are found throughout the provinces of the Republic of Armenia. One of these wineries is in Vayots Dzor province - Areni winery. On our way back to Yerevan you will have an opportunity to visit the winery and taste armenian wine.
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