Arrival in Yerevan, meeting at Zvartnots International airport. Transfer to the hotel, leisure time. Lunch in a national restaurant. After lunch we will visit Matenadaran – Institute of ancient manuscripts. Here are kept more than 17,000 manuscripts and a collection is constantly updated with new discoveries, acquisitions and gifts. After we will have a panoramic tour of the capital of Armenia, which is one of the oldest cities in the world. We will see the Parliament, President’s Palace, Republic Square, the National Opera and Ballet Theatre, cultural – architectural complex Cascade, the monument “Mother Armenia”. Visit to Megerian Carpet Factory, where we will see on display an array of antique and one of a kind rugs from Megerians’ private collection. In the evening it is possible to arrange welcome dinner at the traditional restaurant, where each can taste delicious national dishes (upon request). Overnight in the hotel.
Yerevan, Echmiadzin, Zvartnots, Yerevan
Breakfast. Visit of the memorial and museum of Armenian Genocide in 1915. A trip to Echmiadzin, the spiritual and administrative centre of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Inspection of the pearls of Armenian architecture of the Church of St. Hripsime (7th century), and the world’s first Christian Cathedral. Return to Yerevan.
Yerevan, Geghard, Garni, Lake Sevan, Dilijan, Yerevan
After breakfast a trip to the cave Monastery Geghard (4-13th cc.), which consists of three churches and a huge mausoleum carved into the mountain. Continuation of the tour will bring us to the pagan temple of Garni (1st century). Inspection of “Temple of the Sun” and the ancient royal baths, the only Hellenistic temple extant in the region. The temple is situated on the edge of the picturesque valley. Drive to Lake Sevan which is situated at an altitude above 1900m. Its crystal-clear transparent water changes color several times during the day leaving unforgettable expressions. Lunch in a local restaurant, where we will taste crayfish and the famous variety of fish – lake trout, that is called ishkhan (which means prince). Inspection of Sevan Monastery, located on the peninsula that offers magnificent panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Our tour will be continued to the forested resort town of Dilijan, which is also called “Armenian Little Switzerland” for its nature. Walk along the most beautiful and oldest street of the Old Dilijan – Sharambeyan where we will find small art schools and souvenir shops. Visit one of the highlights of the region – the medieval Monastery Haghartsin. Return to Yerevan.
Yerevan, Khor Virap, Areni, Noravank, Goris
After breakfast a visit of Gum market where one can buy and taste fresh, dried and marinated fruits and vegetables of your choice. The road from Yerevan leads through the plains of Ararat, where all of a sudden an attractive picture of Khor-Virap Monastery appears, where first Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church was imprisoned for 13 years for promoting Christianity. The monastery is located 200 meters away from the Turkish border. It is the nearest spot to Ararat Mountain from Armenia. Then we visit Areni wine factory in Areni village where you will be introduced to the traditions of wine making enjoy the degustation of several wines. Lunch in a local restaurant (upon request). Visit the Noravank Monastery which is built in an inaccessible location among stunning nature. Later we leave for Goris, which is known for its beautiful nature, great climate and wonderful architectural beauty. Overnight in Goris.
Goris, Qarahunj, Tatev, Iranian Border, Tabriz
After breakfast we drive to Zorats Karer or Qarahunj, a prehistoric archaeological site. Laster we continue to the medieval Monastery of Tatev (9th century) – one of the most famous spiritual and educational centers in Armenia of that time. Here we will take the world’s longest ropeway with a length of 5,752 meters. After we will reach the Iranian border and have an overnight in Tabriz.
Breakfast at the hotel. Flight to Tehran, transfer to hotel. Full day city tour of Tehran to visit Golestan Palace included in UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Our next stop will be the National Museum of Iran, the largest and most treasured museum of the country. We will also visit Tajrish square and its famous Bazaar. The tour will end at the foothill of Alborz mountains in Darband, the most popular weekend spot for the population of the city. Here we will see a totally different side of Tehran: stunning landscapes and flowing rivers. Free time and overnight in Tehran.
Tehran, Kashan, Abyaneh
After breakfast we leave for Kashan to visit Tabatabaie Residence, Fin garden, Tepe Sialk or Sialk Ziggurat. It is claimed to be the world’s oldest ziggurat, dating back to the 3rd millennium BC. Discoveries in this region have revealed that here was one of the primary centers of civilization in pre-historic ages. We continue to Abyaneh, a tourist village which is known as a living history museum that has kept its architecture (all in red clay), ceremonies and culture, language, clothing and etc. Dinner and overnight in Abyaneh.
In the morning drive to Isfahan. Full day city tour here to visit palace of forty columns or Chehel Sotun, it was built by Shah Abbas II in 17th century as a reception hall and has 20 columns made of cypress wood but the reflection of these twenty columns in the adjacent pool provide the other twenty. We will continue Isfahan sightseeing by visiting Naghsh-e-Jahan Square (Image of the World Square). It is the second largest square in the world and one of the main cultural heritage sites of Iran. The square was initially intended as the site of state ceremonies and sporting events, but by 1602, the Shah had added a commercial element with the construction of two-story shops along the perimeter. Jameh Mosque is on the south end, the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque on the east, the Ali Qapu Palace on the west, and a Grand bazaar on the north end. We finish a busy day of sightseeing by walking along the Zayanderud River and Isfahan famous ancient bridges Si-o-se pol and Khadju. Dinner and overnight in Isfahan.
Breakfast. We embark on a city tour that covers the rest of highlights of this celebrated historical city and visit Vank Cathedral (Armenian Apostolic Church), another world heritage sites of Iran in UNESCO and one of the oldest mosques of Iran i.e. Jame Atiq Mosque. Ali Gholi Agha Complex that consists of a bath, Mosque and Bazaar. Overnight in Isfahan.
Breakfast. Drive to Shiraz where we will visit Pasargadae, the capital of ancient Persia and the Tomb of Cyrus the Great. Later we visit Persepolis, ancient necropolis of Naghsh-e-Rostam and Naghsh-e-rajab. Dinner and overnight in Shiraz.
Start a beautiful morning with breakfast in Shiraz, which was a significant township in Achaemenes times and the treasure trove of Persian culture. It is the birthplace of the great Hafiz and Saadi and is known as the city of poets, nightingales and flowers. Full day city tour of Shiraz to visit Eram Garden, Nasir Almolk Mosque, Narenjestan Palace, Zinat-al-Molk House. In the afternoon enjoy your free time to explore the surroundings. There is a delicious Persian cold desert made from corn starch, sugar and rose water. It is originally from Shiraz, so don’t miss the taste of it! Transfer to airport for departure flight.