Armenia and Georgia tour: Christian Caucasus
Two countries and two peoples - so similar and so different! From ancient times lived on the border between Europe and Asia, surrounded by the Islamic world from all sides, but they have managed to keep their faith and unique identities. Centuries-old friendship and friendly rivalry, mutual jokes and anecdotes, richness of culture, numerous monuments and original cuisine... Take a closer look at these two ancient peoples and visit Georgia and Armenia - it is your history. Lets start it right now! In the end, enriched with new knowledge, you have to answer the most important question and to do this without any help: who is better - Georgians or Armenians? Be careful... and remember that this is just a joke!
Day 1. Arrival in Georgia
Duration: 9 days / 8 nights
Day 1. Arrival in Georgia
From the ship straight to the ball! This is definitely about the first day of your trip! Upon arrival at Tbilisi airport - shuttle service and accommodation, then - a gala dinner at the restaurant with Tamada. You will have an opportunity to appreciate spirit of Georgian hospitality right from the start: let yourself enjoy tasting of national dishes - barbeque on skewers mtsvadi, cheese pies i.e. khachapuri, Georgian wine, accompanied by live music.
Day 2. Tour in Georgia: Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Tbilisi
I have never seen anything more luxurious than Tiflis baths neither in Russia nor in Turkey - this was wrote by great Pushkin about Abanotubani. Correctness of the Russian poet’s words can be tested during a walk through Old Tbilisi. The most beautiful among those baths is Orbeliani Bath with turrets and blue tiles. And what about the view from the Narikala fortress? Capital of Georgia - all before your eyes!
Metekhi Church of Our Lady stands on the cliff along with a monument of the city founder, King Vakhtang Gorgasali at its side. Narrow streets lead into the old quarter of the city - Avlabari. There, on the hill of St. Elijah, stands huge Sameba Cathedral in which the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia conducts Sunday services. In the yard of the cathedral there is a pond with swans and a cafe with the legendary Georgian soft drinks brand Lagidze Waters. Sioni Cathedral, previously Tbilisi’s main church, strucks a traveler with its magnificent decoration. While Anchiskhati Church which houses a miraculous icon is the oldest basilica in the city.
Georgia National Museum, a brief drive, and here it is - Mtskheta! From the height of the Jvari monastery opens up a great view of the ancient capital of Georgia and the surrounding mountains. Ancient streets lead to the spiritual center of Georgians - Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. At the monastery of Samtavro you may see tombs of the first Christian monarchs of Georgia and pray at the tomb of St. Gabriel - as they say, wishes come true then!
Day 3. Tour in Georgia: Tbilisi - Gori - Kutaisi
So, it is time to head to the West! A trip around Georgia cannot happen without visiting Uplistsikhe. The oldest city in Georgia is mesmerizing - it is completely carved in the rock, as if created by nature itself ... this pagan cult cente of Georgia witnessed the earliest centuries of Georgian statehood, became a battleground between the old beliefs and budding Christianity, watched armies of foreign invaders and was a hotbed of internal fighting between Georgian feudals. Remnants of sacrificial altars, wells for burning rituals, ancient pharmacy building and reception hall of Queen Tamar... you will feel the breath of history itself!
Nearby there is the town of Gori - Stalins birthplace. At the house - museum are kept his personal belongings, his birth certificate and the death mask of Joseph Jugashvili. In the yard you can see a train carriage which drove Stalin for his meetings with Churchill and Roosevelt during the Second World War. The center of the city is overlooked by the Gori Fortress - one of the largest fortifications in Georgia.
Having crossed the Rikoti pass we find ourselves in western Georgia! Sunny Colchis from the myth of the Argonauts welcomes with mild climate, where one can feel the breath of the sea. The main city of the region, the countrys second city is Kutaisi - its flaunts its chaos with its picturesque old quarters, beautiful white bridge and a bronze statues of Picasso’s boy. One dominating feature of the city is big white Bagrati church under green domes which have arisen in all its glory following the reconstruction. This cathedral is a monument to the unification of Georgia into a single state in the X century. Before retiring to your beds you will see amazing frescoes and mosaics in Gelati Monastery and Gelati Academy - a medieval center of theological and secular sciences, the fame of which reached even distant lands!
Day 4. Tour in Georgia and Armenia: Kutaisi - Borjomi - Vardzia - Alaveredi
Any ailment can be cured by Borjomi mineral springs! Only here one can breathe freely: lungs can barely contain clean, fresh air, which is continuously enriched by deciduous- coniferous forests of the national park-reserve. You will never forget the peculiar taste of the healing mineral water Borjomi, which can be drunk straight from the warm source of the depth of 10 kilometers.
This gift of mountain depths may be taken with you on the road to an impressive monument of the Golden Age of Georgia. The cave city of Vardzia - a symbol of greatness of Georgia in the XII century, a witness of tragedies of later ages - towers above the river in the Mtkvari valley. This panorama can be photographed endlessly... 13-storey fortress-city is fully carved in the rock, and its name is associated with the childhood of the great Queen Tamar. When church doors open you’ll be delighted with ancient frescoes, and find yourself impressed with their history.
Not far from here there is the Armenian border. After leaving Georgia, we will go into the city of Alaverdi to spend the night. This is the center of copper production, which
Tour: Georgia, Armenia
Highlights: Yerevan, Sevan, Echmiadzin, Tbilisi, Mzkheta, Gori, Kutaisi, Borjomi, Vardzia, Alaveredi, Garni, Bolnisi, David Gareja, Telavi, Gremi, Signagi