This tour will introduce you to the exotic Pagan history of Armenia, and show the later development and spread of Christianity in the country. Garni Temple (77 A.D.) is the only standing heathen temple in the whole post-Soviet area. The temple stands on a high plateau overlooking the Azat river gorge. It is also home to the roman bath house with the mysterious mosaic, made out of 30,000 pieces of natural stones, as well as the ruins of the royal palace, dating back to 3rd century A.D.
The monastic complex of Geghard is another historical site included in this private tour. The complex is a representation of 13th Century Armenia, which is considered to be the Golden Age of the country’s architecture. The most astonishing part is that this church is cut out right into the solid rock.
Although there are various historical landmarks in Armenia, the oldest and most well-known is probably the Biblical Mount Ararat. This is why our tour promises a spectacular view from the closest spot possible.
The Khor Virap monastery is located about an hour’s drive away from the capital Yerevan, and offers an amazing view of Armenia’s defining symbol – the majestic Ararat. “Khor Virap” translates as “deep dungeon”, and was built of the place of the former royal prison, located on the historical site of Artashat. It was this very prison in which they kept Gregory the Illuminator, the first Armenian Catholicos, for a whole 13 years.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this place is one of the most sacred spots for Armenians around the world. Likewise, it’s also the closest point to the Mount Ararat from Armenia; very often this spot becomes the number 1 reason to visit our country!
Whilst travelling to Armenia, you may just be interested in seeing the world’s first Christian Cathedral church. Echmiadzin is considered to be the spiritual center of all Armenians all over the world! The word itself means a place where “the only begotten son of the God descended”.
You will visit the St. Hripsime church, which was built on the sepulcher of a Christian nun Hripsime who fled from the Roman Empire and was killed in Armenia. This amazing building has stood upright from the day of its construction since 618 A.D, making it one of the oldest standing churches in the world.
Five minutes drive away will be our next spot: the 7th century church of St. Gayane. Gayane was the nanny of Hripsime, and shared Hripsime’s tragic fate.
On the way back to Yerevan, we will make a final stop at another beautiful 7th century temple, also included in the UNESCO heritage list. In fact, all of the churches included in the tour are listed on the UNESCO World’s Cultural Heritage Sites.