Let's Explore the Caucasus - Beautiful Nature and Ancient Civilization

Armenia

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Armenia: Let's Explore the Caucasus - Beautiful Nature an...

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“Hi, it's u­­­s, Georg­i­n­a, Bri­tt­a, and ­Lee­ Lin­g­”

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Highlights

This is a journey to lands of beautiful and surreal nature of semi-arid desert, high altitude lake, waterfalls, majestic biblical mountain, lush vegetation 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 human civilization. We will get to visit five UNESCO sites over three countries, experience the land where fire worship was born, Azerbaijan. Let's visit the first the home of Alexander the Great and the first country to embrace Christianity.

Let's Explore the Caucasus - Beautiful Nature and Ancient Civilization  starting at ArmeniaDashbashi by Paata Vardanashvili licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0

We will taste wine from the oldest winery in the world and visit Stalin's birth place in Georgia. Even have the unique experience of visiting the 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 us in this life transforming journey to Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.

The Oldest Cathedral in the World - Etchmiadzin Cathedral

Etchmiadzin Cathedral by Em and Ernie licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

This World Heritage Site is considered by many scholars to be the oldest cathedral in the world - built in the early fourth century between 301 and 303. It is important to Armenia not only religiously, but also politically and culturally. It continues to be a major pilgrimage site and is one of the most visited places in the country and is also Church known for its fine Armenian-style architecture.

The Pre-Christian Temple Rivaling Those Found in Rome

Garni, temple to armenian god Mihr by sedrakGr licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0

The Temple of Garni is a well-known symbol of pre-Christian Armenia. It was built by king Tiridates I during the first century AD as a temple to the sun god Mihr. After Armenia became a Christian country it became a royal summer house. The structure collapsed in 1697 and was then rebuilt in the 20th century.

The Geghard Monastery that is Carved out of Solid Rock

Geghard Monastery by sunriseOdyssey licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

Geghard Monastery was founded by Gregory the Illuminator. The site was chosen because there is a sacred spring located inside the 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 side, others are little more than caves.

The Ancient Old city of Baku

Interier of Shah mosque in Baku (Old city) by Samir Rəsulov licensed by BY CC 1.0

Baku is the ancient and modern capital of Azerbaijan. The Old City is the oldest part of Baku and was the first UNESCO site located within the former soviet state. The old city is surrounded by walls which were easily defended during the medieval period. the Old City of Baku, includes many important buildings such as the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the Maiden Tower.

20,000-year-old Rock Carvings at Gobustan National Park

Petroglyphs of Qobustan (Azerbaijan); a UNESCO World Heritage by Walter Callens licensed by BY CC 1.0

Gobustan National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site is very rich in its archaeological monuments, the park has more than 6,000 rock carvings, 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.

Mount Ararat - The Traditional Resting Place of Noah's Ark

Khor Virap Monastary in Armenia with Mount Ararat in the Background by Andrew Behesnilian licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0

In the Christian tradition, The "mountains of Ararat" have been widely accepted as the resting place of Noah's Ark (though no archaeological evidence has ever been found), However it remains an important symbol for Armenia and has been considered a sacred mountain by Armenians, being depicted on the country's coat of arms.

The World's Longest Wine Tunnel, Kakheti

Areni Wine Factory by David Stanley licensed by BY CC 2.0

The Caucuses have some of the oldest wine-making traditions in the world. In fact the quality of the wine was celebrated as far back as 400 BC. We will get to sample this traditional drink right where it was made - including wine that was matured in the world’s longest wine tunnel.

Prometheus cave, Sqaltubo, Georgia

Prometheus cave, Kumistavi, Tskaltubo, Kutaisi-Georgia by Roberto Strauss licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

This cave is also known as Kumistavi Cave and Tsqaltubo Cave and is a stunning karst cave located in Tsqaltubo Municipality in Georgia. It is quite extensive with a total length of about 11 km. The first 1060 m have been recently opened to visitors after being closed for several years.

The Oldest Winery Ever Found - 6100-years-old

The archaeological site of Areni-1 by Kiwiodysee licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0

The Areni-1 winery is at least 6100 years old -year-old winery that was discovered in 2007 within the Areni-1 cave complex near the village of Areni. This is the oldest discovered winery in the world and is a testament to the ancient wine tradition of the region.

The Only Petroleum Spa in Naftalan Georgia

Naftalan oil deposit, Azerbaijan by Toma1974 licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0

Experience something totally unique by visiting the world's only petroleum spa where you can cure your rheumatism by soaking in the crude oil that famously bubbles up from the ground in this region.

The Worlds Largest High-Altitude Lake

Armenia, Lake Sevan by Dunphasizer licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

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 colourful transformations. From crystal clear azure on a breezy morning to mystic dark blue in a rainy evening.

The Monastery that Made a Contributions to Science, Religion and Philosophy

Tatev Monastery from a distance by Alexander Naumov licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0

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.

A Complex of Ancient Cave Dwellings

City in Rock by Tiniko Dzadzamia licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

Visit a complex of ancient cave dwellings carved out of the ancient hillside. Known as Khndzoresk, Uplistsikhe, and Vardzia - thousands of people once lived and worked here, but it is now mostly empty.

Mud volcanoes in Gobustan National ParK

Bubbling Mud Volcano by Peretz Partensky licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

Walk on Mars-like landscape with bubbling mud volcanoes. Gobustan National Park, Azerbaijan has more than half of world mud volcanoes so we are bound to see more than just a few.

The Lush Dashbashi Canyons

Dashbashi by Paata Vardanashvili licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0

One of the most impressive natural monuments of Georgia. Dashbashi canyons carved by Ktsia River that cut through the volcanic 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.

Itinerary

Armenia

Day 1 - Fly from Singapore to Yerevan Armenia, explore Yerevan (Echmiadzin Cathedral, Hripsime Cathedral, Zvartnots Cathedral, Yerevan Kaskad, Yerevan Opera Theatre, Republic square, overnight Yerevan, Echmiadzin Cathedral, Hripsime Cathedral, Zvartnots Cathedral, Yerevan Kaskad, Yerevan Opera Theatre, Republic square)

Day 2 - Visit Khor Virap, Areni vinery, Noravank monastery, overnight Goris

Day 3 - Visit Khndzoresk, Tatev, Shaki, Jermuk city then to Lake Sevan, overnight Lake Sevan area

Day 4 - Visit Tsaxkadzor, Garny, Geghard, Yerevan, overnight Yerevan

Day 5 - Drive from Yerevan to Vardzia, Georgia. Hike Vardzia, overnight at Vardzia

Day 6 - Visit Rabati Castle, explore Stalin Museum, overnight Gori

Day 7 - Hike Uplistsikhe and Okatse canyons, overnight Kutaisi

Day 8 - Hike Prometheus Cave and Dashbashi Canyon, overnight at Tbilisi

Day 9 - Explore Tbilisi, explore Tbilisi (Rustaveli Avenue, Metekhi Church, Monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali, cable car to Narikala Fortress, Sulphur bath houses, Anchiskhati Basilica, Rezo Gabriadze Theatre) overnight Tbilisi

Day 10 Visit Kakheti, overnight Kakheti

Day 11 Visit Vashlovani National Park, overnight in Vashlovani National Park

Day 12 Explore Sheki City Azerbaijan, oil bath treatment in Naftala, overnight in Naftalan

Day 13 Explore Gobustan National Park (Mud Volcanoes in Kinezadagh and Turaghay, Petroglyphs). overnight in Baku

Day 14 Drive to Baku, explore Baku (Miniature Book Museum, Carpet Museum, Icheri Sheher, Fly back to Dubai from Baku

Day 15 Fly back to Singapore from Dubai

Reviews

  • I had a amazing trip with a group of friendly and warm tour mates. Carly was such an assuring tour leader. Excellent and safe Vietnamese driver, Jerry. well spoken English Vietnamese guide Tommy. I enjoyed myself very much and look forward for another trip!

  • Excellent short trip with beautiful verdant countryside and charming local tribal people not corrupted by tourism yet . Be prepared for long drive on narrow winding mountain roads.

  • Best trip ever ! Everyone laughed and enjoyed the hols as if we have known each other all our lives instead of meeting for the first time ! Everyone kept their cool when faced with an unforseen delay . The scenery at Ha Giang is simply superb . There are so many small towns within the mountains with... Read more Best trip ever ! Everyone laughed and enjoyed the hols as if we have known each other all our lives instead of meeting for the first time ! Everyone kept their cool when faced with an unforseen delay . The scenery at Ha Giang is simply superb . There are so many small towns within the mountains with so many minority races living together . Their costumes are so colourful and the ladies' headgears are so lovely to gawk at . If I could , I would love to go again . Highly recommended for gungho people with "throw everything to the wind" attitude . Fantastic local guide and driver (Tom & Jerry) and pats on the back for Carly (Singapore guide) too . Thanks .........rosse and raymond . Read less

  • Georgina was great in: 1) giving reminders so that people can un-RSVP for others on wait list to get a spot. 2) giving clear instructions, photos, links on how to get to the meeting point, 3)explaining why everyone had to be on time and what the program is expected to be and when it might end. ... Read more Georgina was great in: 1) giving reminders so that people can un-RSVP for others on wait list to get a spot. 2) giving clear instructions, photos, links on how to get to the meeting point, 3)explaining why everyone had to be on time and what the program is expected to be and when it might end. Late evening slot was a good idea as we got to see the night installations at The PathFinder portion, but food stalls already closed upon exit. There are toilets inside the exhibit in Fort Canning Center itself. Cleaner than the mobile toilets outside. Thank you for helping to get us tickets when it is so difficult to do so. Read less

  • My wife, son and I never regret of signing up this trip. My 8 year old son enjoyed the walk on the rocky beach. Best moment of the walk was that we came closed to the corals, crabs ???? and ???? shrimps. Thank you threeplaygrounds!