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Ararat Province

Churches & cathedrals

Our most recommended Ararat Province Churches & Cathedrals

From Yerevan: Khorvirap, Noravank, & Areni Winery Day Trip

1. From Yerevan: Khorvirap, Noravank, & Areni Winery Day Trip

Khor Virap Monastery is located about an hour’s drive away from the capital Yerevan, and offers an amazing view of Armenia’s defining symbol – the majestic Ararat. Khor Virap translates as deep dungeon, and it was built on the place of the former royal prison, located on the historical site of Artashat. The Monastery is also one of the most sacred spots for Armenians around the world. This tour will also take you to the Areni Cave (Bird’s Cave). In 2008, archeologists discovered several of the world’s oldest artifacts, including a leather shoe and a winery here. The site, overlooking Arpa River near the town of Areni, is claimed to date back to the Early Bronze Age. It contains evidence of elaborate burial rituals and agricultural practices. Another place that can’t be missed is Noravank. It is one of the gems of medieval Armenian architecture, nestled high among the stunning brick-red cliffs at the end of the Gnishik Canyon. Afterwards, you will be given the chance to taste and even purchase Armenia’s renowned Areni wine, made from the oldest grape variety in the whole world. The wine is available in several wineries in the town of Areni itself. You will also taste the most famous dishes of traditional Armenian cuisine.

From Yerevan: Garni Temple & Geghard Tour with Lavash Baking

2. From Yerevan: Garni Temple & Geghard Tour with Lavash Baking

The tour starts from the capital city of Armenia, Yerevan before traveling to the first stop of the day, Garni Temple. The temple, which was built in 77 AD, is the only remaining heathen temple of the post-Soviet era. The temple gracefully stands on a high plateau overlooking the Azat river gorge and has stunning views all around. At the temple, admire the on-site Greek-Roman bath house that holds a mosaic made from 30,000 pieces of natural stones, as well as the ruins of the royal palace, will dates back to the 3rd century AD. Next, visit the Geghard Monastery complex which symbolizes the lance with which the Roman centurion pierced Jesus after crucifixion. The lance was brought to Armenia and kept in the Geghard Monastery for many centuries, and the site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Not far from the temple of Garni, visit a cosy local restaurant with an amazing view of the temple and surrounding landscape. Here, relax after the tour and take part in a masterclass of baking and tasting fresh Lavash, a traditional Armenian flatbread. After having a lunch, your last stop before returning to Yerevan will be the gorge of "Symphony of stones." These rocks start from the beginning of the canyon and up to the highest point. The monument consists of huge paradoxically symmetric hexagon and pentagon basalt columns of nearly 100 meters high. Learn how the gorge got its name from its amazing resemblance to the church organ. Admire the many rocks in the gorge of the Azat River, which is included in the UNESCO heritage list.

From Yerevan: Group Tour to Tatev Cable Car and Areni Winery

3. From Yerevan: Group Tour to Tatev Cable Car and Areni Winery

Escape the busy city of Yerevan and travel into Southern Armenia towards the town of Areni, known for its spectacular history in winemaking and bearing the name of one of the oldest grape varieties in the world. Your first destination will be one of the region’s best vineyards to enjoy a tour of the winery and learn about the process of making wine. Discover the variety of grapes that are used here and taste some of the oldest wines of Armenia to get a real flavor of the region. Next, enjoy stunning scenic views on the drive towards the next destination, the ‘Wings of Tatev’. The ‘Wings of Tatev’ is the longest cable car in the world, measuring 6 km. Ride the cable car and admire the breathtaking scenery along the way, including the Harsnadzor Watchtower and Devil’s Bridge. Travel to the 9th Century Tatev monastery, which once was the educational and spiritual center of Armenia. Built on a high plateau in the Vorotan river gorge, the monastery is surrounded by breathtaking mountains and dense forests. Also visit the magnificent waterfall of Shaki.

Yerevan: Private Khor Virap, Garni, & Gehgard Monastery Tour

4. Yerevan: Private Khor Virap, Garni, & Gehgard Monastery Tour

Khor Virap monastery is located about an hour’s drive away from the capital Yerevan, and offers an amazing view of Armenia’s defining symbol: the majestic Ararat. “Khor Virap” translates as “deep dungeon”, and was built on the place of the former royal prison, located on the historical site of Artashat. It was this very prison in which they detained Gregory the Illuminator, the first Armenian Catholicos, for an entire 13 years. Your fantastic tour will introduce you to the exotic Pagan history of Armenia, before later introducing you to the development and spread of Christianity in the country. Your first stop will be Garni Temple (77 A.D.), which is the only standing heathen temple in the whole post-Soviet area. The temple is home to the Roman bath house with its mysterious mosaic which is made out of 30,000 pieces of natural stones, as well as the ruins of the royal palace which date back to the 3rd century A.D. The monastic complex of Geghard is another historical site included in this tour. Translated to “Monastery of the Holy Lance”, it refers to the lance with which Longinus pierced Jesus as he was still hanging on the cross. The complex is a representation of 13th-century Armenia, which is considered to be the golden age of the country’s architecture. The most astonishing part however is the virtue of the architect, who cut the church right into the solid rock whilst also considering all the rules of Armenian architecture. On your way to the temple, there will be another short stop at the Charents Arch where you will be given the chance to enjoy one of the best moments of your trip to Armenia: a picturesque view of the Biblical Mount Ararat.

From Yerevan: Khor Virap, Etchmiadzin, and Zvartnots Tour

5. From Yerevan: Khor Virap, Etchmiadzin, and Zvartnots Tour

Visit Armenia’s oldest and most well-known historical landmark, Mount Ararat. This private half-day tour takes you to the closest spot possible at Khor Virap Monastery for spectacular views of the snow-capped volcano. Located about an hour’s drive away from Yerevan, the monastery offers an amazing view of the majestic Mount Ararat. Explore Khor Virap and learn about the region’s history as a royal prison. This was the very prison where Gregory the Illuminator, the first Armenian Catholic, was held for 13 years. It’s no surprise that the monastery serves as one of the most sacred spots in Armenia.   Discover more of Armenia’s sacred spots with a stop at Saint Hripsime Church, built on the sepulcher of the nun Hripsime and one of the oldest churches in the world. A short 5 minute drive away is the 7th-century church of Saint Gayane. From here visit the world’s first Christian Cathedral, the Holy Etchmiadzin. Built in 301-304, legend says that Jesus Christ descended here, where Gregory the Illuminator ordered to build the church. On the way back to Yerevan, the tour will conclude with a final stop at another beautiful 7th-century temple.

Yerevan: Garni, Geghard & Lake Sevan Tour with Lavash Baking

6. Yerevan: Garni, Geghard & Lake Sevan Tour with Lavash Baking

Start the tour at 10 AM by arriving at the local operator's office in Yerevan. After checking in, set off towards the Eastern part of Armenia in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle. First, make a short stop at Charent's Arch where you can soak up the wonderful views to the biblical Mount Ararat. Them, head over to the Garni pagan temple which towers over a triangular cape. Admire the temple's blend of Greco-Roman and Armenian styles and see the ruins of the former royal palace with its stunning mosaics. After this, continue on to a masterpiece of 13th-century Armenian architecture at Geghard Monastery. Learn about how this cave monastery was believed to have housed the relic of the lance that pierced the side of Jesus as he hung on the cross. Experience its incredible construction which boasts fascinating acoustics which has served as a good place to sing spiritual songs. Marvel at some of the churches in the complex which are masterfully hewed into a huge rock. Discover how the complex is rich in subtle sculptural embellishments and many striking khachkars (cross-stones). Next up, stop for lunch at a cozy family-style restaurant called Abelyan House. Here, also watch the process of baking the Armenian lavash bread. Observe how the dough is rolled out flat and slapped against the hot walls of a clay oven. Have a good opportunity to participate in a lavash baking procedure. Savor the opportunity to taste it afterward with local cheese and greens. Following this, pop over to the amazing Lake Sevan, which is one of the world's greatest high altitude fresh-water lakes. Learn about how the lake is of volcanic origin and is surrounded by mountains of 3000 m and higher. Immerse yourself in the beautiful landscape surrounded by crystal-clear water. Check out the medieval church complex of Sevanavank Monastery on the peninsular before you head off. Finally, hop back into the vehicle and take the return journey back to the meeting point in Yerevan where the tour concludes.

Armenia: Amberd, Alphabet Alley and Saghmosavank Day Trip

7. Armenia: Amberd, Alphabet Alley and Saghmosavank Day Trip

On this tour, you will visit Amberd, a fortress on the southern slope of Mount Aragats, founded in the 7th century. Lake Kari with fascinating views of nature... Discover the secrets of Armenian sweets during a master class in an Armenian village garden. There comes the Alley of Armenian Letters (Alphabet Alley), which was built on the slopes of Mount Aragats in honor of the 1600th anniversary of the creation of the Armenian alphabet. This monument is unique not only in Armenia but all around the World. At the end of the program, visit Saghmosavank, a 13th-century Armenian monastic complex, unique due to its frescoes with biblical themes and the perfect harmony with the environment – vertical cliffs of Kasakh gorge.

From Yerevan: 4.5-Hour Garni-Geghard Tour

8. From Yerevan: 4.5-Hour Garni-Geghard Tour

You will be picked up from your hotel where the tour will start at 10:00 am and last approximately 4 to 5-hours. The first stop is Garni, a Pagan Temple referred to as the well-known symbol of pre-Christian Armenia that was converted into a royal summer house. After exploring the grand structure, you will then stop at Ararat ARC where you'll have a fantastic view to mount Ararat, a snow capped dormant volcano situated in Turkey. From here, you will visit the UNESCO listed Geghard Monastery Complex. Some of the churches are situated in caves, whilst others are dug out of the surrounding rock surface. You will then be transferred back to Yerevan.

Yerevan: Private Garni, Geghard, Lake Sevan, & Dilijan Tour

9. Yerevan: Private Garni, Geghard, Lake Sevan, & Dilijan Tour

This fantastic tour will introduce you to the exotic Pagan history of Armenia, before then showing the later development and spread of Christianity throughout the country. Your first stop will be Garni Temple (77 A.D.), which is the only standing heathen temple in the whole post-Soviet area. The monastic complex of Geghard is another historical site included in this daily tour. Approximately translated into English as “Monastery of the Holy Lance”, it refers to the lance with which Longinus pierced Jesus whilst he was still hanging on the cross. The complex is a representation of 13th century Armenia, which is considered to be the Golden Age of the country’s architecture. On the way to the temple, there will also be short stop at the Charents Arch where you will be given the chance to enjoy one of the best moments of your trip to Armenia: a picturesque view of the Biblical Mount Ararat. From here, your tour will progress to the beautiful Lake Sevan. Merely an hour’s drive from the capital city of Yerevan, Sevan is situated at the height of 1,900 meters above sea level and surrounded by a vast chain of mountains. Your lake tour begins by climbing a flight of stairs to the Sevan Peninsula, a pleasant morning workout that will compensate itself with unforgettable panoramic views of the lake from the top. You will also visit the monastery of Sevanavank, which was built by the princess Mariam to honor the life of her deceased husband in the 9th century. The tour will then take you to the north of Armenia, where you will be surrounded by beautiful nature. Passing through the city of Dilijan, you will make a stop at the monastery of Gosh-Goshavank. The final destination during this trip will be the monastery of Haghartsin, which dates back to the 10th-14th centuries.

Private Tour to Garni, Geghard, Echmiadzin, & Zvartnots

10. Private Tour to Garni, Geghard, Echmiadzin, & Zvartnots

This tour will introduce you to the exotic Pagan history of Armenia, and explain the later development and spread of Christianity in the country. Garni Temple (77 A.D.) is the only standing heathen temple in the whole post-Soviet area. The temple stands on a high plateau overlooking the Azat River gorge. It is also home to the roman bath house with its mysterious mosaic, made out of 30,000 pieces of natural stones, as well as the ruins of the royal palace, dating back to 3rd Century A.D. The monastic complex of Geghard is another historical site included on this private tour. The complex is a representation of 13th Century Armenia, which is considered to be the Golden Age of the country’s architecture. The most astonishing part is that this church is cut out solid rock. Whilst travelling to Armenia, you may also be interested in seeing the world’s first Christian Cathedral church. Echmiadzin is considered to be the spiritual center of all Armenians all over the world. You will also visit the St. Hripsime Church. This amazing building has stood since its construction in 618 A.D, making it one of the oldest standing churches in the world. Five minutes drive away will be your next stop at the 7th Century Church of St. Gayane. On the way back to Yerevan, you will make a final stop at another beautiful 7th Century temple, also included in the UNESCO heritage list.

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What people are saying about Ararat Province

This was quite simply a superb tour. Nvard , our guide, was knowledgeable, informative and an excellent communicator. She has a deep knowledge of Armenian culture & history and shares it in an understated yet appropriate way. She also has an extraordinary singing voice! I could not recommend this tour highly enough. It us the perfect length, brings you to fascinating places and gives you some insight into the history & culture of this amazing country.

It was an enjoyable tour. The tour guide was very knowledgeable (I can't remember the name right now, a woman with black hair), patient and friendly. The tour had a good pace. The sightseeing was interesting. I went solo and met some interesting people too. Lunch was tasty and I could order something extra too, including a glass of good wine. Excellent tour, recommended.

The Garni and Geghard route is an excellent half day excursion if you want to see more of Armenia and it’s history outside of Yerevan. But the real gem of this tour is the guide. Nvard’s knowledge and passion in sharing her great country is unmatched, friendly and professional. Highly recommend!

The guide Tadev was very knowledgeable and energetic. She gave us all the required information and managed two groups effectively.

Well done Mayis and Samuel!!! Best wishes, Jasmine