Armenian Travel Bureau

Inbound travel to the Republic of Armenia

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Tours

Ethno-8 (Karabakh)

Cultural-Historical, 8 days, 1530 km (956 miles)

This tour is for those travelers wanting to explore Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR). In addition to experiencing the history of NKR through its monasteries – Gandzasar, Dadivank, Amaras, and Ghazanchetsots – sightseers will also spend time in Stepanakert, the capital city of NKR. Whether enjoying the view of the Tartar River valley, relaxing in the open-air hot springs at Jermadjur, or hiking Mt. Ukhtasar to view ancient rock carvings, this tour promises a unique introduction to the cultural and natural diversity of this small Armenian enclave, also known as Artsakh and Mountainous Karabakh.
Day 1
Yerevan
After a brief rest at the hotel, guests will embark on a tour of Yerevan city that includes stops at Republic Square, Victory Park, Mother Armenia, Cafesjian Center for the Arts, The Cascade, a carpet factory, the monument to A.Tamanyan, Opera House, and Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial.

(Note: Arrival day activities will be adjusted as needed according to the itinerary of the traveler.)
Meals: Lunch
Hotel Accommodations: Regineh
Travel Distance: 70 km (44 miles)
Day 2
Yerevan – Khor Virap – Noravank – Bird's caves - Goris
Today’s excursion begins with a drive through the beautiful Ararat Valley to Khor Virap. This monastery, whose name means “Deep Dungeon”, houses the pit where Grigor Lusavorich was imprisoned before becoming the first patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Located along the Turkish border, the monastery also offers some of the most breathtaking views of Mount Ararat, which - according to the Holy Bible - is the place where Noah’s Ark landed following the Great Flood.

Upon leaving Khor Virap, the tour continues through the Vayots Dzor region of Armenia, along the picturesque gorge of the Gnishik River. Turning off the main road, travelers will be inspired by the drive through a majestic and colorful canyon to Noravank. This architectural ensemble, whose name means “New Monastery”, dates to the 12th – 15th centuries when it was the religious center of the Orbelyan dynasty, one of Armenia’s noble families during its medieval years.

Before departing the Noravank Canyon, the tour will make a brief stop at the T'rchunneri (Bird) Caves. Known for their stalactites and stalagmites, these caves will introduce visitors to one of the many unique geological formations found throughout Armenia.

The remaining drive to Goris will proceed through the rolling and mountainous landscape of Syunik before traversing the Vorotan Pass (2344 m) with its symbolic Gates of Zangezur that demarcate the passage from the Vayots Dzor region to the Syunik region of Armenia.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Hotel Accommodations: Mirhav
Travel Distance: 320 km (200 miles)
Day 3
Goris – Tatev (Ukhtasar) - Goris
Option 1: Vorotan Gorge and Tatev Monastery
Traveling through the 500 meter deep Vorotan Gorge to Tatev offers sweeping panoramic views of the Syunik Mountains. At the bottom of the gorge – before ascending to the monastery – a stop will be made at Satani Kamurj (Devil’s Bridge). This natural bridge, and the mineral waters flowing from the rocks, is another example of Armenia’s unique natural landscape.

The layout and design of Tatev takes advantage of the natural fortification provided by the landscape. Constructed in phases from the 9th to 17th centuries, it was not only the spiritual and cultural center of medieval Armenia but was also known as a center of learning. In addition to its sophisticated architectural design and construction, the monastery complex also includes frescoes, ornately carved wooden doors, and the monument Gavazan.

Option 2: Sisian and Ukhtasar Mountain
Located along the banks of the Vorotan River, Sisian is a compact city central to both Zorats Karer (Armenian Stonehenge) and Mount Ukhtasar, known for its ancient rock carvings. At an elevation of 3300 meters above sea level, Ukhtasar (which means Pilgrimage) is still considered a sacred place by local residents. Within this now extinct volcano, travelers will view a glacial lake, turquoise circular pools, lush meadows, and boulder streams characteristic of the geological formations of this area. However, the highlight of this excursion is the petroglyphs and pictograms dating to the 5th – 2nd millennia BC.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Hotel Accommodations: Mirhav
Travel Distance: 80 km (50 miles)
Day 4
Goris – Shushi – Gandzasar – Stepanakert
The main route to Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) is a scenic drive from Goris through the Lachin Corridor where visitors will begin to understand why the area is also known as Mountainous Karabakh. Within this range of rugged mountains, deep canyons, limestone rock formations, and lush forests a wide of array of flora and fauna can be found.

Prominently sited on stone cliffs above the Karintak River valley, Shushi is an 18th century fortress city. Recognized as the commercial, cultural, and religious center of the region, the city was nearly destroyed during the Karabakh War but in recent years has been undergoing reconstruction and restoration.

Before arriving in Stepanakert, a stop will be made at Gandzasar Monastery, one of the most important architectural monuments of NKR. Literally translated, it means Treasure (gandz) Mountain (sar). Located near the town of Vank in the Mardakert district, on a hill overlooking the Khachen River, this monastery has long been a symbol of Karabakh Armenian statehood. Recently restored, the monastery is known for the reliefs carved into the walls of the 13th century Church of St. John the Baptist.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Hotel Accommodations: Armenia
Travel Distance: 210 km (131 miles)
Day 5
Stepanakert – Dadivank – Djermadjur – Stepanakert
Located north west of Stepanakert, on the border between Armenia and NKR, Dadivank Monastery was constructed in phases from the 5th to 13th centuries. From its subterranean spaces to its multi-leveled structures, the monastery complex exemplifies the evolution of Armenian ecclesiastical architecture. Despite being in ruins, and once covered with frescoes, the monastery is known for its bas-relief wall carvings and intricate khatchkars.

Upon leaving Dadivank, the tour heads to the former Soviet resort town of Istisu, meaning "hot water". Now known as Djermadjur, this area and its hot springs were once a small-scale version of Jermuk, the Armenian resort town known for its mineral waters. Before returning to Stepanakert, explore the thermal springs and enjoy the natural beauty of the landscape along the Terterchay River.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Hotel Accommodations: Armenia
Travel Distance: 275 km (172 miles)
Day 6
Stepanakert – Amaras – Stepanakert
In 1926, Alexander Tamanian, the prominent Armenian architect responsible for the modern city plan of Yerevan, designed Stepanakert, the capital and largest city of NKR. Places to visit include an18th century church, a history museum where ancient artifacts and Christian manuscripts are on display, and a stone sculpture known as “Mamik and Babik” that symbolizes the union of the people and mountainous landscape in which they live.

Begun in the 5th century, Amaras Monastery is located in the Martuni region of NKR. Credited with housing the first Armenian school in Karabakh, this monastery complex has been destroyed and re-built over the centuries.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Hotel Accommodations: Armenia
Travel Distance: 145 km (91 miles)
Day 7
Stepanakert - Khndzoresk - Karahunj – Areni – Yerevan
On the return trip to Yerevan, travelers will get a chance to explore two of Armenia’s most ancient stone artifacts: Khndzoresk and Karahunj.

Located just outside of Goris, Khndzoresk contains medieval cave-dwellings inhabited by the local villagers until the mid-20th century. Explore the caves carved into the slope of the Khor Dzor (Deep Gorge) while hiking to the 17th century St.Hripsime church.

The standing stones of Karahunj can be found just north of Sisian. Also known as Zorats Karer (Armenian Stonehenge), this artifact dates to the Bronze Age. Many of the stones have carved holes located at eye-level leading some to believe its original function was an observatory.

The final stop before arriving in Yerevan is the village of Areni. Known for its wine, and annual wine festival, visit the Areni wine factory to learn about Armenian wine technology. At the end of the factory tour, sample Areni’s dry, semi-dry, pomegranate, and cherry wine.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch
Hotel Accommodations: Regineh
Travel Distance: 380 km (238 miles)
Day 8
Yerevan – Matenadaran – Vernissage – Yerevan Brandy Company «Ararat» – airport Zvartnots
Before departing from Armenia, this eight-day tour concludes with visits to the Matenadaran where ancient Armenian manuscripts are stored and exhibited, Vernissage crafts and flea market, and the Yerevan Brandy Company for a tour and brandy tasting.

(Note: Departure day activities will be adjusted as needed according to the itinerary of the traveler.)
Meals: Lunch
Travel Distance: 50 km (31 miles)
Tour Price

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Tour price includes:
  • Entrance to museums and historical-cultural centres
  • Tour service
  • Meals per itinerary
  • Accommodation in a chosen hotel
  • Daily transportation and hotel transfers
  • Professional guide
  • Transfer airport-hotel-airport

Upcoming Tours

Tour dates can be adjusted to accommodate individual travel plans.

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