Caucasus region is located at the crossroad of Europe and Asia and is distinguished for its cultural and lingual diversity. In Georgia you can discover unspoiled nature, medieval fortresses, old churches and hospitable people, while Azerbaijan enchants us with flame towers, oriental architecture and modern buildings… Places you’ll never regret to visit.
Arrive in Tbilisi, meet in the airport and transfer to a hotel.
Today we explore the historical part of Tbilisi with its narrow streets, colorful houses, carved balconies and magnificent atmosphere. This enchanting place illustrates a great mix of Orient and Occident. Our first destination is the Metekhi church (13th century). We can enjoy breathtaking views of the Old Town from this place. We continue walking to the Synagogue and then visit two important Georgian churches - Sioni Cathedral (6th-7th. centuries) with its beautiful bell towers, mural paintings and the oldest church of Tbilisi - Anchiskhati (6th century). Afterwards we drive up to get a panoramic view of the whole city and walk down to the Narikala Fortress (4th century). The smell of sulfur gets stronger and we approach Sulfur Baths, which delighted Dumas, Pushkin, Lermontov etc. In the afternoon we 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.
Overnight in Kazbegi.
We will walk up (2,5 hours) through beautiful valleys and woodland to Gergeti Trinity Church located at 2170m. Weather permitting you may catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – Mt Kazbegi (5047m). Upon arrival back in the town of Stepantsminda drive along the beautiful Darjali gorge (leading to the Russian border). Drive to Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi.
In the morning we start exploring Kakheti region well known for its wine producing. We enjoy superb views of Great Caucasus Mountains and valleys of Kakheti, acknowledge traditions and culture of the country and region, taste wines and delicious food.
First we drive to visit fortified town of Sighnaghi (18th century). The town preserved its original image and now offers visitors stunning views of the surrounding Caucasus Mountains. Then drive to visit a farmer’s house to see a unique 300 year-old wine-cellar. You get acquainted with the Georgian way of wine-making, quite different from the European one and drink typical Georgian wines. Here we’ll have a lunch as well with homemade delicious food.
Afterwards drive to a local wine factory and try more famous Georgian wines.
Overnight in Kvareli.
In the morning we visit the fortified castle of Gremi (16th century) and then beautiful Alaverdi Cathedral (11th century) and a local Duke`s estate – garden and the house-museum. Here in Tsinandali we have one more chance to taste some of Georgian wines, those that are produced in the factory established in the 19th century. Then we head to a local village to have homemade lunch at a local family and...Yes... more homemade wine. Continue to drive to Georgian-Azerbaijan border Lagodekhi. Arrival in Sheki.
Overnight in Sheki for 2 nights.
In the morning visit the Royal Summer Palace of the Sheki Khans with its magnificent frescoes and stained glass as well as Sheki Museum and Fortress. In the Kish village we will see an old church (7th century).
In the morning drive to Baku. On our way we visit Diri Baba shrine in Maraza and seven tombs in Shamakha.
Overnight in Baku for 3 nights.
This morning your guided walking tour of Baku includes the medieval walled city "Icheri Sheher" with its narrow alleyways, historic caravanserais, mosques and Palace of the Shirvan Shahs. Visit the 12th century Maiden's Tower, the imposing mansions of the oil barons, built in the oil boom of 1870-1914 and Martyr's Alley with its superb views over the Bay of Baku.
Enjoy a half day excursion to the Absheron Peninsula, visiting the Ateshgah (or place of fire) a Zoroastrian Fire Temple. Also see the fortress, which in medieval times formed part of the defence system of the Peninsula and the attractive mosque at Amirjan.
Drive to Gobustan, 65 km. Visit Gobustan rock paintings museum in the open air – UNESCO Heritage site and archeological museum.
Transfer to the 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 Azerbaijan:
All the countries except Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Georgia require a visa for Azerbaijan.