DAY 1: YEREVAN – LAKE SEVAN – NORADUS – DADIVANK -STEPANAKERT
We will drive to Sevan. Sevan, is a town and urban municipal community, as well as one of the most popular resorts in Armenia, located in the Gegharkunik Province on the northwestern shores of Lake Sevan.
Tour in Noratus. Noratus is a major and historical village in the Gegharkunik province of Armenia, near the town of Gavar. It is famous for the Noratus cemetery. Noratus is first mentioned as a settlement in the middle ages, when it was a much larger settlement.
Proceed to Artsakh. First step is at Dadivank.
Dadivank also Khutavank is an Armenian monastery in the Shahumian Province of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. It was built between the 9th and 13th century. The Monastery belongs to the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and consists of the Cathedral church of St. Astvadzadzin, the chapel and a few other buildings. The main church has Armenian script engraved into its walls, in addition to several 13th century frescoes. The bas-relief on the south facade of the cathedral at Dadivank, built in 1214, shows the princess offering the church in memory of her sons. According to Paolo Cuneo, Dadivank is one of two Monasteries along with Gandzasar where bust motifs (possibly the donors of the monasteries) can be found.
Overnight in Stepanakert.
DAY 2: STEPANAKERT (CITY TOUR) – GANDZASAR – TIGRANAKERT – ASKERAN – STEPANAKERT
Stepanakert is the capital of Nagorno Karabakh. Stepanakert has a population of 50.000 people. It is the administrative, cultural and economic centre of Nagorno Karabakh. The name Stepanakert is dedicated to Stepan Shahumyan, who was an important figure of communist party in the former Soviet Union.
As a settlement it developed at the beginning of the 19th century, near Varakn village, which is now situated in the city centre. Stepanakert is located in the eastern slope of Karabakh Mountains, and is 850 meters high above the sea level. The first plan of the city of Stepanakert was developed by the famous Armenian architect Alexander Tamanyan.
Tour to History Museum, local market.
Tour to Gandzasar. Among the monuments of Artsakh Gandzasar monastery has its significant and special place. It is considered one of the pearls of Armenian medieval architecture. It consists of a church, monk cells and other buildings of economic significance. The dome of the cupola of the main church is of great artistic value due to its delicate bas-relief. The monastery is built on the peak of Gandzasar Mountain (mountain of treasures).
Continue to Tigranakert. Besides Tigranakert which is the fifth capital city of historical Armenia and which was founded by king Tigran the Great, in Western Armenia, in historical Armenia and beyond its borders several other settlements bearing the name Tigranakert were established by Tigran the Great. Such settlement was also Tigranakert city in the north of Artsakh which is located on the right bank of Khachenaget and was founded in the 1st century B.C.
Since 2005 excavations have been carried out here during which the parts of the acropolis enclosure, the trade district, the parts of the central district, the mausoleum field belonging to the early era of Christianity, the parts of the basilica church of the central district were discovered.
Proceed to Askeran fortress. The fortress of Askeran is in the village of the same name, 4 km far from Stepanakert. It has been an important strategic fort since the 18th century. The formidable ramparts and watchtowers once made the fortress almost inaccessible.
Drive to Stepanakert. Overnight in Stepanakert.
Day 03: Yerevan - Khor Virap - Noravank - Tatev - Goris
We start a fantastic tour to Shoushi. Shoushi, the former capital city of Artsakh, is ten km far from Stepanakert. Shoushi is considered one of the oldest cultural and religious centers of Caucasus. The city is famous for its impregnable fortress and different historical sites. There is also a mosque of 18th century and St. Ghazanchetsots church restored in 1991-1994.
On the way back to Yerevan visit the famous “Wings of Tatev” cable car which will carry us across the gorge to the impressive Tatev monastery. This is the most famous of all Armenia’s monasteries and originally served as a university, featuring such facilities as an early earthquake detection system. We will be stopping in the town of Areni along the way to try the famous local wines. You will also visit Noravank. Noravank is a 13th-century Armenian monastery. Next stop is Khor Virap Monastery which will provide us our closest view of Mt. Ararat. It is from here that many locals enjoy releasing doves in the hope that they will travel to the mountain which now lies across the border in Turkey. This monastery is most noted as being the location of Saint Gregory the Illuminator’s 13 year long imprisonment for preaching Christianity in Armenia. We will have the chance to descend the 60m ladder down into the pit where he was imprisoned; sturdy shoes are strongly recommended! Return to Yerevan. Overnight in Yerevan.
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