Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia

Yerevan, Armenia

Changi Airport Terminal 1

This adventure is: #adrenaline pumping, #far far away, #scenic

Yerevan: Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient...

Your Organizer

“The second-hand torn Atlas that I picked up when I was 7 years old. I flipped it every day and wonder what is happening in the world and to the people. I wonder why straight lines can be drawn on the map and then called country.”

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Highlights

This is a journey to lands of beautiful and surreal nature of semi-arid desert, high alitude lake, waterfalls, majestic biblical mountain, lush vegetations canyons, mars like landscape with bubbling mud volcanoes, and to caves where ancients and legends lived.  This is also an ancient land where is one of the first centres of humans civilization.  We will get to visit five UNESCO sites over three countries, experience the land where fire worship was born, Azerbaijan.  Visit the first country that embrace Christianity, Armenia.   Taste wine from where wine is first made and visit Stalin's birth place in Georgia.  Even experience the unique hot springs and crude oil treatments found only in this part of the world.  It is uncommon to experience and see such diverse landscapes and cultures in 3 countries and I invite you to join me in this life transforming journey to Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaKhor Virap monastary with majestic biblical Mt Ararat at the background

The highlights of this trip are
  • visit 5 UNESCO sites
  1. Etchmiadzin Cathedral the oldest cathedral in the world
  2. Hripsime Cathedral Church known for its fine Armenian-style architecture
  3. Geghard Monastery rock cut out miracle
  4. Old city of Baku
  5. Gobustan National Park with more than 6,000 rock carvings that are thousand years old
  • witness the biblical Mount Ararat, also possibly where Noah's Ark has landed
  • visit the 6100 years vinery Areni, the oldest in the world
  • see the world's smallest book, the Baku Miniature Book Museum
  • drink wine from the world's longest wine tunnel, Kakheti
  • experience found only in Naftalan, soaking in crude oil treatment
  • hike one of the largest high-altitude lake, Lake Sevan
  • hike the Prometheus cave where the legendary Greek god Prometheus was chained and tortured
  • visit the Tatev monastery that made significant contribution to the world's advancement of science, religion and philosophy
  • visit 3 complex ancient cave dwellings Khndzoresk, Uplistsikhe, and Vardzia where thousands once lived
  • walk on Mars like landscape with bubbling mud volcanoes of Gobustan National Park, Azerbaijan has more than half of world mud volcanoes
  • visit Stalin's birthplace and Stalin Museum
  • hike the lush and beautiful Dashbashi canyons, and walk on hanging walkways to Otakse canyons

Here is a glimpse of some of the places we are going and here they are.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaSemi-arid desert in Vashlovani National Park

The amazing landscape of desert and semi-desert steppe vegetation and deciduous forests. The Vashlovani Protected Areas is the home to the famous "Sharp Walls" because of the beautiful cliffs of the canyons.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaCave city of Vardzia

This cave city built by Queen Tamar in 1185 has a throne room, a church, and 6000 homes for monks and refugees. An earthquake in the 13th century destroyed about two thirds of it and exposed the caves to outside view. Before the earthquake nothing of the city could be seen from the outside.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaNew city of Baku, the iconic Flame of Towers trio of skyscrapers

Baku the capital of Azerbaijan also known as the Land of Fire, the first known fireplace.  This is where the Nobel family's made their wealth and lauded the Nobel prizes.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaOld city of Baku,Palace of the Shirvanshahs a UNESCO site

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaOld city of Baku,Maiden Tower also known as Icheri Sheher a UNESCO site

Old city of Baku is a constrast to the new city of Baku, the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower, became the first location in Azerbaijan to be classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Baku and its surrounding areas may have been one of the first centres of human civilization.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaGarni a Pagan Temple

Garni Temple is well-known for its structure and symbol of pre-Christian Armenia that survived the universal destruction of pagan structures.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaDashbashi canyons, green and beautiful all year long

One of the most impressive natural monuments of Georgia. Dashbashi canyons carved by Ktsia River that cut through the volcanogenic rocks of Dashbash volcanic plateau. The vegetation cover of the surrounding ecosystem is rather sparse, whereas the plants on the steep slopes of the canyon and astounding waterfalls create absolutely different micro-landscape, with characteristic micro-climate, specific fauna.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaOkatse Canyon, walk on the hanging walkway to view the canyon

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaTatev Monastery

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the monastery hosted one of the most important Armenian medieval universities, the University of Tatev, which contributed to the advancement of science, religion and philosophy.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaLake Sevan, one of the highest altitude alpine lake

One of the largest high-altitude lakes in the world at 1900 metres. The locals called it blue-eyed beauty.  The Sevan waters have many colorful transformations. From crystal clear azure on a breezy morning to mystic dark blue in a rainy evening.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaOne of the 6000 rock carvings of Gobustan National Park a UNESCO site

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaBubbling mud volcanoes in Gobustan National Park a UNESCO site

Gobustan National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site is very rich in its archeological monuments, the park has more than 6,000 rock carving, mud volcanoes and gas-stones in the region. Carvings depicting primitive people, animals, battle-pieces, ritual dances, bullfights, boats with armed oarsmen, warriors with lances in their hands, camel caravans, pictures of sun and stars, on the average dating back to 5,000-20,000 years.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaRepublic Square, Yerevan

The well-known travel writer Deirdre Holding suggested that Republic Square is "certainly one of the finest central squares created anywhere in the world during the 20th century."

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaPrometheus cave

The Prometheus cave, the biggest cave in Georgia, only 1600 meters is open for hiking, we will hike and take the boat ride along the underground river.  During the walk we will hear stories of how Prometheus the famous Greek legend was once tortured.  One of the myth was that the immortal Prometheus was bound to a rock, where each day an eagle, was sent to feed on his liver, which would then grow back overnight to be eaten again the next day.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaGeghard Monastery, a rock-cut miracle of Armenian medieval architecture another UNESCO site with enhanced protection status

Geghard Monastery founded by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave.  The spectacular towering cliffs surrounding the monastery are part of the Azat River gorge.  Majestically rising above the Azat Valley. Some of the churches within the monastery complex are entirely dug out of the cliff rocks, others are little more than caves.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaThe world's longest wine tunnel, Kakheti

We will walk the tunnel and taste some wine from this tunnel.

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaThe large barrels used in the vineyard for making wine in Kakheti

Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaStalin's personal train wagon as seen in Stalin's museum in Gori, the birthplace of Stalin

Learn about the amazing life of Stalin and maybe at the end of the visit you will realize he is not a Russian after all.
Journey to lands of beautiful nature and ancient civilization - Caucasia starting at Yerevan, ArmeniaUplistsikhe another ancient cave town in eastern Georgia, 10 kilometers east of the town of Gori

Itinerary

Armenia
Day 1 Fly from Singapore to Armenia, Yerevan
Day 2 Explore Yerevan
- Echmiadzin Cathedral
- Hripsime Cathedral
- Zvartnots Cathedral
- History museum
- Yerevan Kaskad
- Yerevan Opera Theatre
- Republic square
Day 3 Visit Khor Virap, Areni vinery, Noravank monastery
Day 4 Visit Khndzoresk, Tatev, Shaki, Jermuk city then to Lake Sevan
Day 5 Visit Tsaxkadzor, Garny, Geghard, Yerevan
Day 6 Drive from Yerevan to Tbilisi

Georgia
Day 7 Explore Tbilisi
- Walk Rustaveli Avenue
- Visit Metekhi Church
- Visit Monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali
- Take cable car to Narikala Fortress 
- Walk down to the district of Sulphur bath houses, Anchiskhati Basilica, Rezo Gabriadze Theatre
Day 8/9 Explore Gori
- Visit Stalin Museum
- Explore Uplistsikhe 
- Hike Prometheus Cave and Okatse canyons
Day 10 Hike Vardzia
Day 11 Hike Dashbashi Canyon
Day 12 Visit Kakheti
Day 13 Visit Vashlovani National Park and drive to Naftala

Azerbaijan
Day 14 Experience oil bath treatment in Naftala
Day 15 Explore Baku
- Miniature Book Museum
- Carpet Museum
- Icheri Sheher
Day 16 Explore Gobustan National Park
- Mud Volcanoes in Kinezadagh and Turaghay
- Petroglyphs
Day 17 Fly back to Singapore from Baku, Azerbaijan