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Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan well known as South Caucasus comprise these three unique yet interconnected countries each with its own distinct customs and traditions. Connected historically with the great Silk Road, this rich region was once traced by ancient caravans from the East carrying delicate jewels, precious stones and spices. Our own tracing of the Caucasus will begin in oil-rich Azerbaijan, from where we journey west into the famous wine-making regions of Georgia, north into the mountainous provinces of the Greater Caucasus, and finally into Armenia, one of the oldest Christian countries. We will visit architectural monuments, monastic jewels and cities steeped in a long, rich history of Soviet, Christian, pagan and Arab influence. Along the way we will experience fabulous food, wine, music, art, and warm hospitality from our Caucasian hosts.Indeed, the celebration of the table – with endless toasts of wine – is part of the Georgian celebration of life and one in which we will be fortunate to participate.
Arrival BAKU Departure YEREVAN
Arrive at the Baku airport. Meet and greet and transfer to Absheron peninsula sights located in 25 km from the city. Visit UNESCO World Heritage Site Ateshgyakh Fire-Worshipers’ Temple and enjoy the view of Burning Mountain Yanar Dagh translated as Fire Mountain. Afterwards drive back to Baku and have a sightseeing tour of the city’s historic and architectural monuments. Visit – Shehidler Khiyabany, enjoy panoramic view of Baku from the Martyrs Lane. Visit medieval fortress of Old Baku – Ichari Shahar,Maiden Tower, Complex of Medieval Caravansary, market square. Walk along the central streets of the city. Transfer to the hotel for check inn.
Overnight in Baku.
After breakfast depart to Gobustan – UNESCO Heritage Site, famous for its archaeological monuments southwest of Baku along the Caspian shore to the volcanic desert, where rocks covered with drawings stand amidst chaos of stones and mountains. There are more than 4,000 rock drawings left by artists of the Neolithic period,depicting the customs and everyday life of ancient tribes. Continue journey to the town of Sheki. En route visit Diri Baba mausoleum in Maraza village. Visithistorical mosque Jumma (Friday) in Shemakha and mausoleum of Yeddi Gumbez(Seven Domes) – graveyard of Shirvan Shahs’. Have lunch at a local restaurant in Shemakha. Continue trip to Sheki via Muganly pass. On the way visit Basqal village to drink local mineral water Bado, Van Dam village in Gabala province,ruins of the capital of ancient Caucasian Albania. Arrive in Sheki. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city. Visit local palace, local history museum,mosque-madrassa, handicrafts workshop. Enjoy panoramic view of the town.
Overnight in Sheki.
After breakfast depart to Lagodekhi border between Georgia and Azerbaijan. We enter Georgia in the region of Kakheti, the biggest wine making region in Georgia, which is famous for its hospitality, delicious food and ancient Georgian technique of wine making which dates back to the 8th century BC and is still used to produce unique organic Qvevri wine. First we will visit Khareba Winery in Kvareli to enjoy wine tasting and village corner in Georgia’s largest wine cellar (7.7 km of tunnels). After the drive to the hotel Royal Batoni Palace, located in a picturesque area on the bank of Ilia Lake, between Kvareli Mountains and Duruji River. Overnight in Kvareli.
After breakfast drive from Kvareli to visit Alaverdi Monastery (11th c) – the magnificent, fortified cathedral, located near the central city of Kakheti region called Telavi. The monastery houses 11th century winery which is still used by Monks. Continue to Tsinandali House Museum and Winery of the 18th century prince and poet, Alexander Chachavadze,who turned the residence into a center for Georgian intellectual life. Enjoy the beautiful English-style Park filled with roses andexotic plants. After drive to the 18th century Royal town of Sighnaghi. Surrounded by the longest defensive wall in the region with 23 towers, Signaghi used to be an important strategic place on the East-West trade route, where the Silk Road travelers from Asia and Europe used to pass. In the late afternoon drive to Tbilisi .
Overnight in Tbilisi.
After breakfast visit Sameba Cathedral the third largest Eastern-Orthodox church in the world. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of old part of Tbilisi – the multicultural and multi religious city with 1500 years of history. Visit Metekhi Church, 12th-13th century cross-cupola church which used to be the part of Royal residential complex and statue of Mother of Georgia. Visit Narikala Fortress, Sulfur Bath Area, Tbilisi Synagogue and Sioni Cathedral. Have a look at Tbilisi Mosque. Walk along the narrow streets of the old town, full of souvenir shops, cafes and art galleries. In the afternoon visit Archaeological Treasury Hall in Georgian National Museum, where you will see the examples of ancient gold and silver objects and jewelry made by early Georgian goldsmiths. Overnight in Tbilisi.
After Breakfast drive to the ancient religious town of Mtskheta the old capital of eastern Georgia. Visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mtskheta: Jvari Monastery the best example of 6th century Georgian architecture located at the top of the hill overlooking the city and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral – the magnificent 11th century fortified church,referred as the most sacred place for Georgians. Continue journey to the north,along the Georgian Military Highway, main transport arteries linking Georgia with Russia into the mountainous provinces of the Greater Caucasus which with its breath-taking sceneries has been the inspiration for many world-famous poets and writers. On the way visit 16th century fortress Ananuri, overlooking Jinvali reservoir.Continue journey via the highest settlements in Europe – Gudauri (2,100m) and Cross Pass – the highest point on the Military Highway (2379 m). Arrive in Kazbegi. Overnight at Kazbegi.
In the morning drive by 4 WD vehicles from the hotel to the 14th century Holy Trinity Church, located at the beautiful solitary spot on the top of the hill, at an elevation of 2170 meters. Enjoy the breathtaking view of the snow-covered Mount Kazbegi – extinct volcano which is the third highest mountain of Georgia (5,047m) and one of the most popular destinations for alpinists. Mt. Kazbegi is associated with the myth of Prometheus,according to legend he was chained on the mountain in punishment for stealing fire from the gods and having given it to mortals. Afterwards drive back to Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi.
After Breakfast drive to the border between Georgia and Armenia in Sadakhlo for border crossing. Meet Armenian guide and driver at the border and drive to Yerevan. Visit Haghpat monastery (10th c) – UNESCO World heritage site which is situated over Debed river canyon from where you can enjoy picturesque scenery. Visit Sanahin Monastery complex (10th c) which had a huge influence on the development of Armenian academic and cultural heritage. Stop by Lake Sevan to visit Sevanavank Monastery. Transfer to Yerevan- the capital city of Armenia. Overnight in Yereva
After Breakfast drive through Ararat region to visit Khor Virap Monastery, located on the slopes of biblical Mt. Ararat. We will have a chance to enjoy the view of magnificent mountain if weather permits. Visit ruins of Zvartnots Temple.Visit St. Hripsime Church (7th c.). Continue sightseeing tour of Yerevan including Echmiadzin the holy seat of the Supreme Patriarch-Catholicos of all Armenians. The Cathedral was built on the site of a pagan temple after the adoption of Christianity as a state religion in the 4th c. Visit Echmiadzin cathedral and museum. Afterwards drive back to Yerevan and start sightseeing tour of the city. Visit Armenia History museum. Visit Yerevan Brandy Company to taste famous Armenian brandy. Overnight in Yerevan.
Breakfast at hotel. Continue to drive through the picturesque Avan Canyon, skirting formidable cliffs and passing exotic-looking gorgesto see the pagan architectural complex of Garni (1st c) and feel the spirit of ancient ages. Visit local farm and take part in baking on traditional Armenian bread – Lavash. Another ride through the gorge will take us to the cave monastery of Geghard. Proceed to the airport for your flight back to home bound. It’s time to say good bye to everyone except your memories. We hope you are fulfilled with lots of happy memories.