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Culinary tour:delicious Armenia – 3 days

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  • Gastronomy tour

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Dear tourists, welcome to Armenia!

Armenia is the first country, which adopted Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD.

Armenia is truly an indescribable open-air museum. Here even the ruins of temples and historical monuments treasure the history of centuries and have a significant importance.

Armenia is a fabulous place, a country of contrasts, where the summer nights are so comfortable and soulful, that your heart is filled with warmth.

Armenia is an earthly paradise with its sharp turns and passes. Only in Armenia you can move from one city to another through lots of passes. The nature of Armenia is not only strikingly beautiful, but also healing.

The Armenian nation, being formed in the second millennium BC, is one of the most ancient nations in the world: the genetic code of Armenians is more than 4000 years old.

Yerevan is the capital of Armenia. The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC with the founding of the fortress of Erebuni in 782 BC by king Argishti I. In 1950 in the territory of modern-day Yerevan was found a cuneiform script with the following text: «By the greatness of God Khaldi, Argishti, son of Menua, built this mighty stronghold and proclaimed it Erebuni for the glory of Biainili and to instill fear among the king’s enemies…»

Meeting at the “Zvartnots” airport, transfer to the hotel in Yerevan, registration and a short rest. After having lunch at the hotel the city tour will begin.

So, the most important sights of Yerevan are waiting for you: places, which you have seen in pictures or probably have heard and read about, but have never seen live.

We’ll begin with the Arshakunyats Avenue and will come to the train station (Kayaran). The decoration of the forecourt is the fabulous statue David of Sasoon by famous Armenian sculptor Ervand Kochar.

Following the route we’ll pass the streets Tigran Mets, Ervand Kochar and will stop at the St. Gregory the Illuminator cathedral, which was founded in 1997.

 It’s the biggest cathedral in Armenia and the second biggest in
Transcaucasia. Passing the main streets of the capital we’ll see trade center “Russia”, the Pedаgogical University, the statue of Griboyedov established in 1975. Alexander Griboyedov was very close to the Armenian nation, shared its joys and sorrows, and did a lot for the Armenians. Today his statue is deservedly considered a decoration of street scenery of the Armenian capital.

Turning to Khanjian Street and reaching the Vernisage, on the opposite side of the street you’ll see the majestic statue of Armenian nobleman and warlord Vardan Mamikonyan. Reaching one of the central streets, Sayat-Nova, on the right side we can see the Chess House and also the Armenian Radio House already located on the Alex Manoogian Street. On the same street you’ll see the building of Yerevan State University, in front of which stands the statue of the creator of the Armenian alphabet Mesrop Mashtots and the Catholicos Sahak the Parthian. Also here is situated the Armenian State University of Economics. Passing the Nalbandyan Street we’re turning to the Moskovyan. On the right side we see the statue of famous Armenian painter Ivan Aivazovsky. A little further, on the crossroad of Moskovyan and Abovyan streets is situated the statue of polar explorer and a great friend of the Armenian nation Fridtjof Nansen. And here it is, the heart and the flavor of the city, the Abovyan Street, through which, looking at the universities (Yerevan State Medical University, branches of YSU), passing the garden after Abovyan, we’re heading to the Victory Park – one of the favorite places of townspeople. Here stands the monument Mother Armenia in honor of the victory of the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War. The statue is 54 meters in height and symbolizes a figure of an Armenian mother putting her sword into the scabbard and with a shield lying under her feet. The pedestal hosts the Mother Armenia Military museum of the Ministry of Defense, which houses exhibit of the times of World War II and Nagorno-Karabakh War.

From the Victory Park we’ll go down to the center of the city by the stairs of Cascade (we can also use the escalator). Through the Tamanyan Street we’ll pass to the Marshal Baghramyan Avenue. There are a lot of residencies of public organizations on this avenue. Here is situated the complex of buildings of the National Academy of Sciences. In front of it is situated the building of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia. From here through the Leningradyan Street we’ll head to a large trade and entertainment center “Dalma Garden Mall”, we’ll see the Municipality of Yerevan and pass to the Republic Square, where we’ll stop to take a rest and to have a dinner. And, of course, the History Museum of Armenia located on the Republic Square and the Yerevan History Museum hosted by the building of the municipality will not be deprived of attention. The museum contains ancient household items, unique medieval books, drawings of foreign travellers who have visited Yerevan, military banners, awards and weapons, jewelry and of course the historical record of the Urartu king Argishti I, where the date of founding of the city-fortress of Erebuni (the nowadays Yerevan) is indicated – 782 BC .

After the city tour a master class in cooking Armenian tolma will be demonstrated for us. Tolma is one of the most popular national dishes, which is present at every festive table in Armenia. The grape leaves are stuffed with minced meat (this variant is easy in cooking). Summer tolma is also very tasty: vegetables are being cleaned from seeds, filled with minced meat, and the tasty and useful dish is ready!

Matenadaran

Yerevan Cascade

Tsitsernakaberd

After having breakfast at the hotel, we’ll head to the city of Vagharshapat.

The holy city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin) founded by the Armenian Arsacid king Vagharsh I in 117 is the historical center of the Armenian Apostolic Church and place of worship of the early Christians. In the territory of Etchmiadzin Cathedral is situated the residency of the current Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II.

You’ll also see the temples dedicated to the martyred nuns St. Hripsime and St. Gayane. After Christianity was proclaimed a state religion by king Tiridates III in 301, Vagharshapat became the religious capital of the country. And right in the place of destroyed pagan temple was built the first Armenia Cathedral – the St. Etchmiadzin. In 1945 the town was renamed to Etchmiadzin, but in 1992 the former name was given back to the city. Nowadays both names are widely used. In 2001, when celebrating the 1700th anniversary of the Christianization of Armenia, Pope John Paul II brought the relics of the first Armenian Catholicos. For 500 years the relics of Gregory the Illuminator were kept in Naples, and now they are in Etchmiadzin Cathedral.

We’ll have dinner in Vagharshapat, where we’ll see a master class in making national cookies shaqar – choraki. The taste of these sweet and soft cookies is unforgettable and they are suitable for both tea and coffee.

On our way back to Yerevan we’ll stop near the ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral.

Zvartnots                                                    

The temple of Zvartnots (or “the Temple of Vigil Powers”) is the pearl of Armenian architecture of the early Middle Ages. From the territory of the temple is perfectly visible the Biblical Ararat in all its unique glory.  The divine architecture of Zvartnots and the nature are merged here. Nowadays, from the temple remained only ruins, which you can tirelessly admire, ruins, which treasure pride and majesty. The temple was 49 meters in height. From the bottom and up to the height Zvartnots was exquisitely carved. The powerful three-tier cathedral with a spherical cupola was the highest building of the era. Zvartnots was destroyed by the severe earthquake in 930. The supporting columns of the second tier were weak and collapsed, burying all the beauty and splendor of the temple.

After seeing these stone monuments and taking with us a piece of history, we’ll return to Yerevan. You’ll have a free schedule.

We’re returning to the hotel in Yerevan.

Vagharshapat (Ejmiatsin)

Zvartnots Cathedral

We’ll have breakfast at the hotel. So, without wasting time, let’s continue our tour in the fabulous Armenia.

We’ll have a very interesting trip and not less interesting master class in making ghapama.

Garni

We’re heading to Garni, where we’ll continue our tour after the dinner. The only memorial in Armenia, which remained from the era of paganism, the temple of Garni, was built in the second half of the first century AD by the Armenian Arsacid king Tiridates I and was dedicated to the sun god Mihr, whose figure was standing in the depths of the sanctuary. The fortress of Garni is one of the clearest evidences of the centuries-old culture of pre-Christian Armenia. Its construction began in the II century BC and continued during ancient times and, partly, in the Middle Ages. The temple is characterized with its unique structure. 9 massive 30 cm high steps stretched-out over the entire width of the facade strengthen the majesty of the temple. The 24 columns have their designation (2+4=6, i.e. perfection, 24=8*3, according to the sacral geometry – new life multiplied by the Holy Trinity, i.e. life given by God). The location of the columns also has its designation: 6 columns set up on both front and rear parts of the structure, and 8 columns (the symbol of life, infinity) on each of the sides.

Geghard

After visiting the temple of Garni we’ll head to the monastic complex of Geghard, which is a unique architectural construction located in the gorge of the river Azat. According to the chronicles, Geghard was founded in the IV century. In the times of paganism in its place was a stream, which starts from the cave, and the water from this stream was considered sacred. The old name of the fortress is Ayrivank, which means “the Monastery of the Cave”, and the full name Geghardavank literally means “the Monastery of the Spear”. The biblical spear, by which Jesus Christ had been wounded on the Cross, allegedly was brought here by Apostle Thaddeus and is kept in the museum of Etchmiadzin monastery nowadays. After our interesting sightseeing trip we’ll return to the capital, which is very dear to us.

Further we’ll have diner and see a master class in making ghapama.  Ghapama is a bright and delicious dish symbolizing the union and friendship. This is a traditional dish of pumpkin, which may be stuffed with red beans rice, dried apricots, honey. Depending on the stuffing, ghapama may be both entree and dessert. Ghapama used to be an indispensable dish of the Armenian weddings, to make the life of the couple sweet and abundant.

After our sightseeing and tasting the delicious ghapama we’ll return to Yerevan.

Further the schedule is free. We’ll have a very interesting evening, for example, we can go to a jazz club and enjoy summer Yerevan.

You’ll have time to get prepared for the departure. Transfer to the “Zvartnots” airport.

Temple of Garni

Monastery of Geghard