Day 01: Arrival in Iran, City tour
Arrival in Tabriz. Meeting and transfer to hotel. After a short rest in the morning start the city tour including a museum of Azerbaijan, the complex Iil Goli, the Blue Mosque, an old house Qajar and Grand Bazaar. Overnight at hotel in Tabriz.
Day 02: Kandovan village - Urmiyeh Lake
In the morning departure for the rocky village near Kandovan Osku. The houses carved in volcanic rocks are called " Karaan ". Karaans were cut in Lahar ( volcanic mudflow ) of Mount Sahand. After the eruption of Sahand these materials were moved and formed the rocks of Kandovan. Continue on to the lake and the city Urmiyeh. The Urmiyeh Lake is the largest lake in the Middle East, and the sixth largest salt water lake in the world, with an area of approximately 5,200 km ². Overnight at hotel Mehmanseari.
Day 03: Ghareh Kelisa - St. Stephan’s Church
Drive to Jolfa visiting Ghareh Kelisa – the huge Monastery of San Taddeo, an ancient monastery belonging to Armenian Apostolic church. Continue to another church called S. Sephan initially belonging to Armenian church. It’s situated in Jolfa and is insclibed in UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2008. Overnight in Jolfa.
Day 04: Iran-Armenian Border - Goris
Drive to Iran-Armenia border on Agarak (Meghri). Border formalities, guide and driver change and drive to Goris. Drive to the city Goris – a small city with about 20,000 inhabitants, beautifully framed by high mountains. Overnight in Goris.
Day 05: Goris -Tatev Monastery- Noravank - Yerevan
Drive to Khndzoresk, a cave village, where many old and mysterious caves are just waiting to be discovered. Continue to Halidzor village, take the world’s longest aerial tramway and visit Tatev monastery (UNESCO World Heritage) which is an architectural masterpiece dating back to the 10th c., often called a monastery built on the edge of nothing. Drive to Noravank– great religious and cultural center of 13th c. It is situated in a narrow gorge which is known for its tall, sheer, brick-red cliffs, directly across from the monastery. The beauty of this monastery is appreciated by thousands of visitors not only because of its’ architecture and history, but also for its harmony with surrounding fabulous nature. Stop in Areni village to visit local winery. Arrival in Yerevan – the capital of Armenia. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 06: City tour in Yerevan - Khor Virap - Echmiadzin - Zvartnots
Breakfast at the hotel. Tour around Yerevan, including National History Museum. Drive to Khor Virap through villages and vineyards and enjoy the Biblical Mt. Ararat on the way. Visit monastery Khor Virap (829m) near the border with Turkey. Sightseeing tour to Khor-Virap monastery, a wonderful masterpiece situated on top of a hill. It is a pilgrimage place where every year a lot of tourists and native people visit. The highlight is the fantastic view over the biblical Mt. Ararat. Drive to Armavir region. On the way optional stop at St Hripsime church which is considered to be one of the 7 wonders of Armenia. Echmiadzin Cathedral is one of the oldest standing churches in Christendom. It was built in 303 AD over a pagan fire altar. This landmark is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Return to Yerevan with the stop at the ruins of Zvartnots temple – the pearl of the 7th c. architecture (inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list). Leisure time. Dinner in a local restaurant in Yerevan.
Day 07: Matenadaran - Garni - Geghard - Yerevan
Early departure 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. 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. Geghard is another incredible ancient Armenian monastery, partly carved out of a mountain. Opportunity to have lunch at a local house in Garni where you will have opportunity to watch Armenian national bread “lavash” baking and barbeque making process in the underground stove called “tonir”. Drive back to Yerevan and pay a short visit to the Genocide memorial of victims of Genocide. Visit Matenadaran which contains historical documents from all over Europe and Asia throughout many centuries. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 08: Yerevan - Lake Sevan - Haghpat - Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to lake Sevan – world’s second highest freshwater lake, visiting the monasteries on the peninsula. Drive to forested Lori region visiting Hagpat monastery 10 cen. which is one of the highlights of UNESCO. Drive to Arm-Geo border on Bagratashen/Sadachlo. Guide and driver change and transfer to Tbilisi – the capital of Georgia. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 09: Tbilisi city tour
Tbilisi sightseeing program – visit the Old Town. The city offers a great variety of sights, most of them very ancient. All the places of interest in the Old Town are very close to each other, within a few minutes walk. We start our visit to Old Tbilisi from Metekhi Church (13th century), then walk to the Synagogue, Sioni Cathedral (6th-7th centuries), Peace Bridge and Anchiskhati Church (6th century). Afterwards we drive up by cable car to Mother Georgia statue and walk down to Narikala Fortress (4th century) en route enjoying beautiful views of Old Town. Then we visit Sulphur Baths. Dinner in a Georgian style restaurant. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 10: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Tskaltubo
In the morning we drive to the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia – Mtskheta and visit its historic Jvari Monastery (6th century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century) – both UNESCO World Heritage sites.Continue to drive to Kutaisi. Visit natural grotto near Kutaisi with stalactites and stalagmites. Overnight Tskaltubo Spa resort.
Day 11: Tskaltubo – Uplistsikhe – Gudauri
In the morning visit Gelati Monastery (12th century), famous for its mosaic and frescoes (UNESCO World Heritage site). Drive along the Great Silk Road to the town of Gori. Near Gori visit Uplistsikhe Cave Town (1st millennium BC) – one of the main points on the great east-west trade route. Once a flourishing city now offers a walk among the ancient streets, rock-carved theatre, royal halls and pharmacy, while the remains of granaries and large clay wine vessels give us some clue as to the daily life of the inhabitants. Drive up along the famous Georgian Military Highway. En-route we visit Ananuri architectural complex (17th century), the two churches and the fortress overlook the Zhinvali water reservoir. Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Gudauri ski resort.
Day 12: Gudauri – Kazbegi – Tbilisi
Drive to Kazbegi. Gergeti Trinity Church located at 2170 m. Weather permitting you may catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – Mt. Kazbegi (5047 m). Then we take the same way back and drive to Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 12: Departure
Transfer to the airport and departure.