Price includes tours and bottled water
9 Destinations (Saghmonavank, Hovhanavank, Sevanavank, Kecharis, Armenia Alphabet, Amberd Castle, Lake Sevan, Tsaghzadzor & Mount Aragat)
This tour takes you to explore one of the most beautiful gorges of Armenia: the Gorge of Qasakh River, famous for its beautiful churches standing right on cliff’s edge.
Both monastic complexes included in this daily tour date back to the 13th century, and were built by the same noble family. Saghmosavank is translated as the monastery of psalms. According to the legend, the psalm singing of Gregory the Illuminator was heard for several miles, when he asserted in the caves underneath the church. It was also famous for its medieval manuscripts and book-repository. Although quite modest compared to Hovhannavank (which is considered one of the most beautiful churches in Armenia), Saghmosavank possesses a particular charm.
The monastery of Hovhannavank is about 5km south from Saghmosavank. The complex includes the 4th century basilica church of St, John the Baptist, which was built by Gregory the Illuminator himself on the relics of St, John the Baptist, and the main church of St. Karapet (St. John’s other name).
On the way we will have a stop at the Alley of the Alphabet, where you will be given the chance to find the first letter of your name and even snap a picture with it. Armenian is not only a very old language, but it is also an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, making it unlike any other tongue in the world.
The city of Tsaghkadzor – a small Olympic town not far from Yerevan, approximately an hour’s drive away. It is also called the Armenian Switzerland, as it is surrounded by dense mountain forests. This destination is referred to as “the gorge of flowers” since it is blooming with an array of gorgeous plants. As the legend holds, these flowers were torn from the princess’ garden and scattered over the land by the wind. It is also home to the 11th century monastic complex of Kecharis, specially built by the royals to honor the 1000th anniversary of Jesus Christ.
Whilst staying in Armenia, you simply cannot miss the opportunity of visiting one of the country’s most renowned landmarks – the beautiful lake Sevan. Merely an hour’s drive from the capital city of Yerevan, Sevan is situated at the height of 1900m above sea level and surrounded by a vast chain of mountains. The tour begins by climbing a flight of stairs to the Sevan peninsula – a pleasant morning work-out that will compensate itself with an unforgettable panoramic view of the lake from the top. We will also visit the monastery of Sevanavank, built by the princess Mariam to honor the life of her deceased husband in the 9th century. Sevanavank is also home to one of the most beautiful Amenaprkich (all savior) Khachkars of Armenia. This is one of the 13 rarest crosstones depicting Jesus.
The name of the mountain is less often spelled Aragatz or Aragac. According to Armenian tradition, Aragats originates from the words Արա Ara + գահ gah, which translates to “Ara’s throne”. Ara refers to the legendary hero Ara the Beautiful. Aragats was mentioned by the early medieval historian Movses Khorenatsi. In his History of the Armenians Khorenatsi claims that the mountain is named after Aramaneak, the son of Hayk, the legendary father of the Armenian people. Aramaneak called his possessions “the foot of Aragats” (classical Armenian: ոտն Արագածոյ, otn Aragats’oy; modern: Aragatsotn). The modern Aragatsotn Province, dominated by the mountain, was formed in 1995.
A relatively modern name for the mountain is Alagöz (Russian: Алагёз), which literally means “variegated eye” in Turkish. This term was widely used up until the mid-20th century in European, Tsarist Russian, and early Soviet sources. A corrupted version of the word, Alagyaz (Ալագյազ), was used in Armenian. A village on the foot of Aragats is named Alagyaz.