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Eastern Turkey, Georgia
& Armenia

Holiday length: 13 days
Departs: Selected Fridays
Start City: Istanbul (Turkey)
End City: Istanbul
Type of Holiday: Coach Tour

Embark on an extraordinary tour encompassing the lands of Mt. Ararat, Georgia and historic Armenia.  Start in Istanbul and fly to Van before heading to the ancient city of Ani and then on to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.  Cross into Georgia and visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Mtskheta and Tbilisi before returning to Istanbul.

Day 1 - Friday

Istanbul arrival.
Arrival to Istanbul the rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 2 - Saturday

After breakfast visit The Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, St.Sophia Church (a former Eastern Orthodox Church converted to a mosque) and a must see attraction because of its religious and architectural significance. Next visit Topkapi Palace, once the seat of the Ottoman Empire.  Overnight in Istanbul. (B)
Day 3 - Sunday

Istanbul -Van (Eastern Turkey)
(7.00 am flight from Istanbul arrival 10.00 am )  
Drive to Akdamar Island to visit the beautifully restored 10thC Armenian Church of the Holy Cross, or Sourp Khach; built as a part of a palace and religious complex between 915 and 921 by the Armenian King Gagik Ardzruni. From Akdamar continue to the city of Van for your overnight accommodation. (B,D)
Day 4 - Monday

From Van we travel south for the last leg of our journey along the Silk Road (Ipek Yol) in Turkey. We visit Hosap Castle. The main castle structure of Hosap was built straddling the Silk Road and served as both a means of protecting the road and as a point of charging tolls on travellers..From Hosap we return to Van for lunch ,before ending the day with a visit to the Citadel of Van at sunset. On a large rock outcrop the 3000 year old Urartian castle, once the centre of Tushpa, the Urartian capital, commands wonderful panoramic views of the city of Van, Lake Van and Mt Suphan to the north- west and Mt Nemrut Crater to the west.  Overnight Van (B,D)
Day 5 - Tuesday

Van - Dogubeyazit - Ishakpasa Palace - Kars
After breakfast,we leave for Dogubeyazit  via Muradiye and the pretty Bendimaahi FallsIn  Dogubeayzit, we visit the spectacular Ishak Pasha Palace 1685 – 1784 with unique fusion of architecture from Seljuk, Ottoman, Georgian, and Armenian – Persian styles. We continue our journey south skirting around the western edge of Mt Ararat . via Igdir arrive to Kars. Overnight Kars. (B,D)
Day 6 - Wednesday

Kars - Ani
From Kars and continue for Ani to spend the morning at the former capital of the great medieval Armenian kingdom of Ani.  The remains of the ruined city include several churches as well as the shell of the Cathedral of Ani, the citadel and a mosque along with an extensive and well preserved defensive wall.  There are also some exciting remains of frescoes in the Church of St Gregory (Tigran Honentz) despite exposure to the elements for many centuries. Overnight Kars. (B,D)
Day 7 - Thursday

Van - Gyumri (Armenia)
Today we meet the group at the border and drive to Gyumri. Gyumri is located in the north-western part of Armenia, in the middle of Shirak valley, 126 km far from Yerevan. The local traditions are deeply rooted here, national spirit is reflected in everything. Walking along the streets of old Gyumri one still seems to hear the voice of the smiths' hammers, it seems that a cart will appear from the street corner and the carter will call to show around the city. Overnight in Gyumri. (B)
Day 8 - Friday

Gyumri - Echmiadzin - Zvartnos Temple - Yerevan
Today ,  we drive to Echmiadzin Located 30 min outside of the city  and considered one of the holiest cities in Armenia. This former capital is now home to the Supreme Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox faith. On the way back visit ruins of Zvartnots Temple, which is included in UNESCO's  World Heritage sites . Yerevan is the capital of Armenia and one of the oldest cities in the world. It stretches under the gaze of biblical mountain Ararat. Overnight  in Yerevan.  (B)
Day 9 - Saturday

Yerevan - Khor Virap - Noravank - Yerevan
Today ,  A short drive from Yerevan will lad you to Khor Virap Monastery a place of
pilgrimage for Armenians all over the world. Khor Virap is the closest point to Mount
Ararat from where you may witness the stunning views of the Biblical Mount Ararat and the most convenient place for observing and taking pictures of the biblical mountain. After proceed to Vayots Dzor region and visit Monastery of Noravank- one of the most splendid monuments of medieval Armenia, built in a location of significant natural beauty.  The magnificent landscape of mountains, surrounding the monastery, display a beautiful array of colours from the sun's reflection. Way to Yerevan. Next visit to the Brandy Factory with the degustation of 3 types of cognac. Return back to your hotel. (B)
Day 10 - Sunday

Yeveran - Garni - Geghard - Seven - Bagratashen Border -  Tbilisi (Georgia)
Today ,  we visit  Garni Temple  1st  century  Roman building . Soon after Armenia adopted Christianity, the temple became the summer residence of Armenian royalty. Next stop is Geghard –cave Monastery, the name "geghard" derives from the relics of the Armenian Apostolic church: the spear that one of the Roman guards had used to pierce the rib of crucified Christ. Tour to the Lake Sevan - the highest mountainous Lake 2000 m above sea level, visiting the churches of the peninsula (St.Astvatsatsin and St.Arakelots). Proceed to Bagratashen border.  Meet at Armenia – Georgia border at Sadakhlo checkpoint. Transfer to Tbilisi.  (B)
Day 11 - Monday

We start a trip by driving to Mtskheta. Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia is situated 20 km from Tbilisi. Scientists date the town back to the 2nd millennium B.C. Mtskheta was the capital of Georgian Kingdom of Iberia during 500BC - 500AD. Here Georgians accepted Christianity in the beginning of 4th century. The town and its architectural monuments are included in the World's Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. Visit Jvari Monastery (6th c.), Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th c.) and Samtavro Monastery. Drive to Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi. (B)
Day 12 - Tuesday

Tbilisi City tour
We start the city tour of Tbilisi with visits to the Old Town: Metekhi Temple (12th c.), the Abanotubani bath houses, these balmy sulphur baths have hosted poets, writers,
musicians, kings down through the centuries; Narikala - The main fortress of Tbilisi (4th c.), excellent for views on the swirling river Mtkvari (Kura) and this city of so many ages and nationalities. Walking through some narrow streets, along which some carpet and souvenir shops are situated. We visit Sioni Cathedral (11th c.) and Anchiskhati church (6th c.); Visit Georgian State Museum and Rustaveli Avenue - the main street of Tbilisi.  Note: museum is closed on Mondays. (B)
Day 13 - Wednesday

Tbilisi - return flight to Istanbul
After breakfast flight back to Istanbul. (B)
Holiday inclusions:   

  • Arrival & departure transfers (surcharge applies for Sabiha Gokcen Airport)
  • Hotel accommodation & meals as indicated
  • Professional Tour Guides
  • Luggage handling in the hotels
  • Local taxes
  • Museum Entrance Fees
  • Flight Istanbul - Van, and Tbilisi - Istanbul
Not included:

  • Tipping for guides and drivers
  • Personal expenses





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