It’s time to discover amazing countries of the Silk Road! This combination gives you an opportunity to explore three different cultures with authentic traditions and ancient histories: Georgia with untouched nature, Great Caucasus Mountains, hundreds of fortresses, monasteries, watch towers; Armenia with ancient cloisters and hospitality ; Iran –exotic Persia with teahouses, bazaars, deserts, historic oases and mountain ranges…
Arrive in Tbilisi, meet in the airport and transfer to a hotel.
After late breakfast Tbilisi sightseeing tour. During the tour we take you to the places that will show you old city. You can take a glance to the history of the city from early centuries by walking in narrow streets of the city and exploring the religious and secular architecture. Here you find different religious buildings – churches, synagogues, mosques, as well as famous 19th century houses with wooden multi-colored balconies. Then we drive up to get a panoramic view of the whole city and walk down to the Narikala Fortress (4th century). You will visit the sulfur bath district. Afterwards you discover the stunning treasury of the Georgian historical museum, before taking a stroll along Rustaveli Avenue – the main street in Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi.
We drive to visit the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia – Mtskheta (3000 years old) and see its historical places: Jvari church (6th century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century) where the Robe of Christ is buried. Both Jvari and Svetitskhoveli are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Afterwards drive up the famous Georgian Military Highway (leading to the Georgian-Russian border). On the way visit Ananuri architectural complex (17th century), the two churches and the fortress overlook the Zhinvali water reservoir. The drive is very scenic through high Caucasus Mountains. Arrive in Stepantsminda. From there we walk up for 2 hrs through beautiful valleys and woodland leads us to Gergeti Trinity Church located at 2175 m. Weather permitting you may catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – Mt. Kazbegi (5047 m).
Overnight in Stepantsminda.
Today we will visit the town of Gori and its historical places: Uplistsikhe Cave Town (1st millennium BC) and Stalin’s museum. Uplistsikhe is the place where the Great Silk Road used to pass. This is an old and interesting complex with dwelling quarters, wine-cellars, bakeries, a three-nave basilica church hewn out in rock and even an antic theatre. Afterwards drive towards South-Western part of Georgia. Arrive in Akhaltsikhe.
Overnight in Akhaltsikhe.
Visit Vardzia – the magnificent cave town of the Golden Age. Fotostopp at the Khertvisi fortress. Then drive to the Georgia-Armenia border (Bavra), and continue the trip to Armenia. Drive to Gymri.
Overnight in Gyumri.
Today we leave for Yerevan. On our way we visit Ashtarak. This place has many historical and architectural monuments. The most famous is the church of Karmravor,one of the cross-domed kind with its well’ preserved shingled roof. The monastery of Hovhanavank in the village of Hovhanavan, richly decorated with vegetative ornaments, it has a bas-relief with the depiction of Christ on a throne.Then we reach the Amberd fortress and castle, which was the familial estate of the Pahlavouni princes.
Overnight in Yerevan for 3 nights.
Visit Echmiadzin monastery and then visit the archeological site of Zvartnots Cathedral – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Genocide Memorial Complex. Explore the outdoor handicraft market Vernisage.
We have Yerevan city tour and then head to Garni – a pagan temple and a summer residence for Armenian royalty. On the way back visit Geghard (4th century).
Take a stroll in Goris town, one of the most beautiful towns in Armenia. It’s a town in orchards where the houses have the same unique architecture with red tile roofs and arched windows. Riding the world’s longest cable-car (5.7km) we visit the miraculous Tatev Monastery, a formidable monastic complex founded in the 9th century. It’s the biggest monastery in Armenia located on a rocky peninsula more than 100 meters above the Vorotan River. According to tradition the relics of the Apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul, were placed under the dome's supporting pillars. Later we visit Khdzoresk, an abandoned cave town with thousands of cave. Back to Goris.
Overnight in Goris.
After breakfast we will drive to the Armenian-Iranian border at Meghri. Drive to Tabriz, the capital of one of the most famous provinces of Iran, the Azarbaijan or Aturpatgan. It is the land of Azargoshnasp temple - the fire temple of the Kings and the Noblemen of Iran. It is perhaps the birth place of Zaratushtra.
Our first stop in Tabriz is the Blue Mosque, a glorious example of 15th century Islamic architecture. Later we will visit Azerbaijan Museum, the major archaeological and historical museum in Tabriz. Visit the Constitutional Home, а historical edifice built during the years prior to the Constitutional Revolution. Afterwards the house was used as а gathering place of the leaders, activists and sympathizers of the movement.
Overnight in Tabriz.
After breakfast we will have a panoramic tour of Tabriz and then we will visit the Great Bazaar of Tabriz, one of the oldest bazaars in the Middle East and the largest covered bazaar in the world. Later we will visit El-Gölü, one of the largest parks in Tabriz. Drive to Kandovan village, a rocky architectural oddity in Iran.
Kandovan is an extraordinary ancient village with it’s at least 800 years existence. This remarkable place is inhabited by 670 people and offers scenic beauty for its travelers. With homes carved inside rocks, some of them 700 years old, the Kandovan village is said to have been partially formed by volcanic remains from a strong Mount Sahand eruptions hundreds of years ago.Train to Tehran or Fly to Tehran.
Overnight in Tehran.
Today we will explore the capital of Iran - Tehran, a modern megalopolis, prides itself in having unique museums with immense and unrivaled collections and artifacts dating from the earliest onset of history to the present era. Our first stop is the lavish Golestan Palace, a masterpiece of the Qajar era, embodying the successful integration of earlier Persian crafts and architecture with Western influences. The walled Palace, one of the oldest groups of building tours in Tehrans in Teheran, became the seat of government of the Qajar family, which came into power in 1779 and made Tehran the capital of the country. Built around a garden featuring pools as well as planted areas, the Palace’s most characteristic features and rich ornaments date back to the 19th century. It became a center of Qajari arts and architecture of which it is an outstanding example and has remained a source of inspiration for Iranian artists and architects to this day. It represents a new style incorporating traditional Persian arts and crafts and elements of 18th century architecture and technology.
Afterwards, we will visit a world of jewels in a priceless Crown Jewels Museum one of which is one of the two greatest diamonds, Darya-e-Noor (sea of light). Later we will visit the National Museum of Iran and the Museum of Islamic period.
Overnight in Tehran.
A morning visit to Sa'ad Abad Complex with an immense area of 1,100,000 square meters and 18 magnificent historical palaces (2 of which we will visit).Our Tehran excursion will end at the Ceramic Museum.
Night flight to Isfahan.
Overnight in Isfahan.
Today we will explore Isfahan, the legendary city which never fails to enchant its visitors, is the pearl of traditional Islamic archeology. This city is revived by the works of contemporary artists. Isfahan prides itself in having fascinating historical garden palaces.
Our full day tour includes the famed Imam Square (Naqsh-e-Jahan), a huge square second in the world to Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Tour the architectural marvels of Sheikh Lotfollah and Imam Mosques, Aliqapu Palace, ChehelSutoon and HashtBehesht Palaces, and also visit one of the most famous bazaars in Iran, where we can purchase the arts & crafts for which Isfahan is so renowned.
Overnight in Isfahan.
Today we will leave for Shiraz city. En route we will visit Pasargadae, the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus II the Great, in Pars, homeland of the Persians, in the 6th century BC. Its palaces, gardens and the mausoleum of Cyrus are outstanding examples of the first phase of the royal Achaemenid art and architecture and exceptional testimonies of the Persian civilization. Particularly noteworthy vestiges in the 160-ha site include: the Mausoleum of Cyrus II; Tall-e Takht, a fortified terrace; and a royal ensemble of gatehouse, audience hall, residential palace and gardens. Pasargadae was the capital of the first great multicultural empire in Western Asia. Spanning the Eastern Mediterranean and Egypt to the Hindus River, it is considered to be the first empire that respected the cultural diversity of its different peoples. This was reflected in Achaemenid architecture, a synthetic representation of different cultures.
Overnight in Shiraz.
Shiraz has a reputation of an enlightened city that has been at the centre of Persian culture for more than 2,000 years, and was at one time the country's capital. Early in the morning, relish in the highlights of Shiraz when it was the capital of Iran during the Zand Dynasty. Be inspired by the glorious Karim Khan palace, the splendid Vakil Mosque, Vakil Bazaar and Saray-e-Moshir with its splendid architecture and interesting ethnic souvenir shops, NasirAlmolk Mosque. This gorgeous city in the province of Fars is home to famous poets such as Hafez and Sa'adi and historical sites from different eras stretching back 6,000 years ago can be found. Hafez is one of great poets who impressed everyone with his mastery. In the evening, we will visit Ali-Ebn-e-Hamzeh Garden and be prepared to marvel at its beauties. Take a stroll through the Jahan Nama Garden and witness its tall and proud cedars. Finally visit the Delgosha Garden and Khajoy-e-Kermani tomb from where the perspective of the mysterious city of Shiraz will perpetuate in our mind.
Overnight in Shiraz.
Today we are going to visit Persepolis, probably the most famous historic attraction in Iran. Founded by Darius I in 518 B.C., Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace, where the King of Kings created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian models. The importance and quality of the monumental ruins make it a unique archaeological site. It seems that Darius planned this impressive complex of palaces not only as the seat of government but also, and primarily, as a show place and a spectacular centre for the receptions and festivals of the Achaemenid kings and their empire such as Nowroz.
The next is Necropolis. Opposite the mountain of Mercy, ten minutes driving to the north, proudly stands the Necropolis, the magnificent burial place of Achaemenid kings. The site also provides seven bas-reliefs dating back to Elamite and Sassanid period. Transfer to Shiraz Airport. Departure.
Ladies require scarves in the Georgian orthodox churches, sometimes skirts too, but they can find some in the entrances.
Short trousers are forbidden in the church.
You can bring along: sun cream, hat, rain - and wind coats, etc.
For some program points comfortable shoes are needed.
Visa requirements for Armenia:
Nationals of the following countries can travel to Armenia without a visa: EU members, Great Britain, Switzerland, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Georgia, China, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, USA...
Visa requirements for Iran:
Only citizens of the following countries don’t require a visa for Iran: Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Syria, Turkey, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Armenia and Georgia.