Sweet Moush and Akhtamar - Tours in Ani, Kars, Van, Moush, Erzrum (4 days)
Tour Duration 4 days, 3 nights
Tour Brief Visit the most famous monuments in Historical Western Armenia within this special tour program, visit medieval capitals Ani and Kars, one of a kind Lake Van, Akhtamar Island, see magical Ararat from the southern side, striking Mount Sipan and Tondrak Volcano, sweet Moush valley and Euphrates, cool Bingol mountains, interesting Erzurum, Basen and Sarikamis. Get the feel of unspoiled nature, rich history and culture.
Cost 250 USD The price includes:
a) Quality hotel accommodations 3* and 4*,
b) Comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles (van, minibus, bus)
c) Local tasty meals - half board (breakfast and late lunch),
d) Entrance fees to cultural and historical monuments (including ferry boat to Akhtamar Island),
e) Travel Insurance,
f) Professional services of a multi-lingual Tour Guide who accompanies the group.
Early in the morning we will depart Yerevan to drive to the Armenian-Georgian border. We will pass through the town of Gyumri, cross the border at Bavra point and enter Javakhq. We will have a stopover here and go farther to the Georgian-Turkish border. After the border point we will be passing through mountains of Ardahan region and the beautiful high-altitude lake of Childir. We will then drive toward Ani over the Kars plato.
We visit legendary Ani, the magnificent capital of Armenian Kingdom in 9-11th centuries, which was called “the city of one thousand and one churches”. We will tour the medieval city, see its walls and towers, glorious cathedrals (Holy See, St. Saviour, Tigran Honents, Gagikashen, Apostles), palaces and mosques that are still standing after a millennium.
From Ani we continue toward Igdir and on to Bayazet. Overnight accommodations in the hotel in Dogubayazit.
In the morning we will enjoy a panoramic view of Mount Ararat from the opposite (southern) side. Then we drive up the hill to old Bayazet to see the unassailable fortress of Daroinq, the Arshakouni kings’ (1-5th centuries AD) treasury and stronghold. We will also see the magnificent 17th-century palace of Is'hak Pasha, a fortress-palace-mosque complex where Persian, Arabic, Ottoman and Armenian architectural styles are intertwined.
Then we travel to the city of Van. Passing over Tendurek (Tondrak-Tsaghkants) mountain range we enter historical Vaspourakan Province. First we will make a stop by picturesque waterfalls of Berkri-Muradieye. After a short stopover we will reach the azure, multi-colored, one of a kind beauty - Lake Van, and drive along its shore to the city of Van.
Arriving in Van we will tour the well-preserved Urartian Tushpa-Van fortress (9th century BC) that has impressing cuneiform inscriptions of kings Sarduri and Argishti (the founder of Yerevan). We will also see the legendary rock-carved Doors of Mher and world-famous Van cats.
Then we head to Aghtamar, a beautiful island in the turquoise lake, which hosts the unique Sourp Khach (Holy Cross) cathedral (10th century). Sourb Khach is one of the most beautiful monuments of Armenian (as well as world) religious architecture, all covered with magnificent Biblical relieves outside and frescoes inside. In September 2010 a Sunday Liturgy was held in this church, the first time after a century in Western Armenia, and Surp Khach of Akhtamar is now the only Armenian Church in service in Historical Western Armenia.
We will tour the island and the church and may spend the rest of the day swimming and resting on the beach. Here we will have a chance to taste the famous “Vana Tarekh” fish, the only fish specie found in Lake Van. From here we head toward the Moush. Arrival and accommodations in Moush.
In Moush we tour the old quarter and the remnants of St. Marine church. Then we head toward the fascinating Moush valley, Taron county in historical Tourouberan princedom. We come to the medieval Murat/ Souloukh bridge on the Eastern Euphrates river (Aratsani or Murat), an important site related to the Armenian national-liberation movement against the Ottoman Empire. Here one of its leaders, Gevorg Chaush, died. We will then visit the remnants of “Msho Soultan” Sourb Karapet cathedral, once the second important (after Ejmiatsin) religious center of the Armenian Church with wonderful architecture. Now it is all in ruins inside a Kurdish village, many houses of which are built from the fine-cut cathedral stones.
Leaving Moush valley we will pass over Bingol and Palandoken mountain ranges, a historical region called Highland Armenia. We reach Erzurum (historical Karin), the largest city in Eastern Anatolia. In Erzrum we will see the Byzantine Theodoupolis fortress (5th century) that was several times conquered by the Russian army and Armenian volunteers in the wars of the 19-20th centuries, the renowned medieval medreses (theology schools) - Chifte Minare. We will see the 19th-century building of the Sanasarian Armenian College - once the most important education center of the region. Leaving Erzurum we will drive toward Kars. By the road to Kars we will see the medieval fortress of Basen (Hassan-Kala), and then make a stop by the old “Shepherd’s Bridge” (“Hovvi Kamurj”) at the confluence of the Araks River tributaries.
From here we travel to Sarikamis through beautiful natural landscapes (mountains and forests). Time permitting we may make a tour of Sarikamis and see old Russian barracks, Tsar's Hunting Palace, Russian Church (now a Mosque). Overnight in Sarikamis or Kars.
Today we will tour the town of Kars. The sites in our program are: the medieval stone bridge or the bridge of “Vardan”, the remnants/site of the house where Yeghishe Charents - a celebrated Armenian writer lived, the imposing Church of Apostles (10th century) and the royal fortress of Kars, once the stronghold of the Armenian capital, the seat of Bagratouni kings.
From here we will drive to the Turkish-Georgian border. In Georgia we pass Ninotsminda, make a dinner stop here, then drive farther and cross the Georgian-Armenian border. Through Gyumri we will return to Yerevan.
20 Sept. 2019
23 Sept. 2019
GUARANTEED (seats available)
27 Sept. 2019
30 Sept. 2019
4 Oct. 2019
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11 Oct. 2019
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25 Oct. 2019
28 Oct. 2019
1 Nov. 2019
4 Nov. 2019
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22 Nov. 2019
25 Nov. 2019
29 Nov. 2019
2 Dec. 2019
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