This tour reveals the abiding beauty and hospitality of Turkey and the Caucasus. We start exploring the historic areas of amazing Istanbul before we head to pristine Lake Van and Kars in Turkey. We then journey through the spectacular mountain scenery of Armenia and explore the wide tree lined boulevards, grand 19th century buildings, churches and museums of Yerevan, as well as the ruins of Zvartnots Temple and Echmiadzin, one of the holiest cities in Armenia. Our tour concludes in Georgia, where we will visit the Old Town of Tbilisi, Georgia's cosmopolitan capital; Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia and various monasteries that are steeped in history.
|Tour Duration||:||13 days|
|Min. Tour Size||:||04 persons|
|Avg. Tour Size||:||12 persons|
|Includes international air|
|Tour Price (from)||:||US$|
Day 01: Arrive Istanbul (TURKEY)
Upon your arrival at Ataturk Airport, you will be met by our representative before transfer to your Hotel. Spend the rest of the day at your own leisure. Check in time starts at 1500 hrs.
Overnight: Titanic Hotel (2 nights)
Day 02: Istanbul
Today’s tour includes the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome of Constantinople, St. Sophia Church, which is a former Eastern Orthodox Church converted into a mosque – a must see for its religious and architectural significance. Next stop is Topkapi Palace, once the seat of the Ottoman Empire. (B)
Day 03: Istanbul/Van
Early this morning we are transferred to the airport for a flight to Van. Upon arrival, we head for Akdamar Island where we visit the beautiful restored 10th century Armenian Church of the Holy Cross; built as a part of a palace and religious complex between 915 and 921 by the Armenian King Gagik Ardzruni.
Overnight: Rescate Hotel (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 04: Van
From Van we travel south along the Silk Road (Ipek Yolu) in Turkey. We visit Hosap Castle. The main castle structure of Hosap was built straddling the Silk Road and served as both a means of protecting the road and as a point of charging tolls on travelers. Return to Van to visit the Citadel at sunset. On a large rock outcrop, the 3000 year old Urartian castle, once the centre of Tushpa, the Urartian capital, commands wonderful panoramic views of the city of Van, Lake Van and Mt. Suphan to the north-west and Mt. Nemrut. (B, D)
Day 05: Van/Dogubeyazit/Kars
We leave for Dogubeyazit via Muradiye and the pretty Bendimaahi Falls. The spectacular Ishak Pasha Palace, with its unique fusion of architecture from Seljuk, Ottoman, Georgian, Armenian & Persian styles. We continue our journey south skirting around the western edge of Mt. Ararat via Igdir before arriving Kars.
Overnight: Buyuk Kale Hotel (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 06: Kars
Morning excursion to the former capital of the great medieval Armenian kingdom of Ani to visit its ruined city including several churches as well as the shell of the cathedral, the citadel and a mosque along with its extensive and well preserved defensive wall. There are also some exciting remains of frescoes in the Church of St. Gregory despite of exposure to the elements for many centuries. (B, D)
Day 07: Kars/Gyumi (ARMENIA)
Today we cross over to Armenia and drive to Gyumi, which is located in the middle of Shirak Valley. The local traditions are deeply rooted here and the national spirit is reflected in everything. Walking along the streets of old Gyumi, one still seems to hear the voices of the past.
Overnight: Berlin BTQ Hotel (1 night) (B)
Day 08: Gyumi/Echmiadzin/Yerevan
Head for Echmiadzin, which is considered one of the holiest cities in Armenia. This former capital is now home to the Supreme Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox faith. Next visit is the ruins of Zvartnots Temple, which is a UNESCO’s World Heritage site. Continue onto Yerevan.
Overnight: Ani Hotel (2 nights) (B)
Day 09: Yerevan
A short drive from Yerevan will get us to Khor Virap Monastery, which is a place of pilgrimage for Armenians all over the world. It is the closest point to Mt. Ararat, where you may witness the stunning views of the Biblical Mt. Ararat. Afterwards proceed to Vayotz Dzor to visit the Monastery of Noravank – one of the most splendid monuments of medieval Armenia, built in a location of significant natural beauty. Before returning back to Yerevan, a stop will also be made at a brandy factory with the degustation of 3 types of cognac. (B)
Day 10: Yerevan/Tbilisi (GEORGIA)
Today’s tour starts off with a visit to Garni Temple – 1st century Roman building. Soon after Armenia adopted Christianity, the temple became the summer residence of Armenian royalty. Next stop is Geghard Cave Monastery – the name derives from the relics of the Armenian Apostolic Church: the spear the one of the Roman guards had used to pierce the rib of crucified Christ. Lake Sevan, the highest mountainous lake, 2000 m above sea level, to visit the churches of the peninsular (St. Astvatsatsin and St. Arakelots). Proceed to the border and cross over to Georgia and onto Tbilisi.
Overnight: Holiday Inn Hotel (3 nights) (B, D)
Day 11: Tbilisi
Full day excursion to visit Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia, which was the capital of Georgian Kingdom of Iberia during 500BC-500AD. Here Georgians accepted Christianity in the beginning of 4th century. The town and its architectural monuments are included in the World’s Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. Visit Jvari Monastery, Svetitskhoveli and Samtavro Monastery. (B)
Day 12: Tbilisi
Today’s city tour of Tbilisi includes visit to the Old Town: Metekhi Temple; the Abanotubani bath houses, which have hosted poets, writers, musicians, kings down through the centuries; Narikala – the main fortress of Tbilisi, which has excellent views on the swirling river Mtkvari. We will also be visiting Sioni Cathedral and Anchiskhati Church, Georgian State Museum and Rustaveli Avenue – the main street of Tbilisi. (B)
Day 13: Tbilisi/Depart
Check out time is by 1100 hrs. Transfer to Tbilisi airport for your flight out. (B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).
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|Departure(s)||Per Person on Twin Sharing||Single Room Supplement|
Estimated International Airfare (International airfare is NOT included in this tour)
This tour operates on a minimum of 04 and a average tour size of 12 participants
If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.
You may e-mail us at email@example.com or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.