ARMENIA DANCE AND CULTURE TOUR - € 1890 (flight excluded) approx. $ 2030
Wednesday May 15 – Arrival in Yerevan, transfer to Ani Grand hotel in Yerevan
Arrival in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
It is a short transfer from the airport to ****Ani Grand hotel in Yerevan, where we will spend 5 nights. Our hotel is located in the city center, in a quiet street, but in the middle of the bustling life of Yerevan. Check in and catch some sleep. We will set a time for a briefing to get acquainted with our fellow tour members and to receive some practical information and a map of Yerevan. 18.30 Walk from the hotel to the restaurant. Dinner included.
Thursday May 16 – Yerevan sightseeing – dance class
We will get started at 10.00 and get acquainted with the city on foot. You will have free time to have lunch in one of the many cafes or restaurants in the city center. Dance class with a local teacher from 15.00-17.00. We walk to a restaurant at 18.30 for dinner (included).
Friday May 17 – dance class – visit to Geghard and Garni
Dance class with a local teacher from 10.00-12.00. Free time to have lunch. At 14:00 departure to the Geghard Monastery and the Garni Temple, two must-see sightseeing spots when visiting Armenia. The monastery of Geghard is on the UNESCO world heritage list. Part of it is carved right into the solid rock and is an incomparable work of art. Garni temple was built in the 1st century AD by an Armenian king and dedicated to the God of the Sun and looks down on a canyon with basalt stone formations. Our guide will be present to provide information. Dinner in Garni village (included).
Saturday May 18 – dance class – free afternoon and evening
Dance class with a local teacher from 10.00-12.00. Free afternoon and evening, no dinner provided. This day offers you an opportunity to visit the Vernisage, a weekend market in Yerevan. Craftsmen sell their products and it is a good place to buy souvenirs. In the Bazaar you can find vegetables, fruit and cheese. Armenia is famous for its dried fruits filled with nuts and tasting is never a problem! You might want to see the impressive sound and light show which starts around 21.00 hrs. at Yerevan’s central square, located very close to our hotel. The place to enjoy and to hang out for the inhabitants of Yerevan. If tonight is not your night: it will be held every night!
Sunday May 19 – Amberd fortress – lunch and winery – free evening
10.00 Excursion to Amberd, the ruins of an ancient fortress, situated in the mountains. Lunch and wine tasting will be in the nearby town Ashtarak (included). Winemaking is very old in this part of the world. Later in our tour, we will explore Areni Cave, where archaeologists discovered the earliest known winery. After our visit we drive back to Yerevan. If a dance performance of the professional dance group Tatul Altunian is scheduled in Yerevan we will certainly make time to visit the performance. No dinner provided.
Monday May 20 – Stone alphabet – Kobayr – to Haghpat
Check out. Our travels will lead us north to today’s final destination in the north of Armenia., Haghpat. But there will be some interesting sightseeing sites on our route which we should not miss.
Our first stop will be at the Armenian Stone alphabet. Against the backdrop of Armenia’s highest mountain, Mt. Aragats (4095 m.) 39 huge stone letters stand to pay tribute to the complex and unique Armenian alphabet. They are placed near the final resting place of the man who created the alphabet, Mesrop Mashtots. It will not be long before we reach the small town of Aparan, where you can buy a snack/lunch for the remaining part of our travels and see how Armenian bread is baked the traditional way. We still have some distance to cover, but will make a stop to take a walk to the ruins of Kobayr. It's a short walk and nice to stretch the legs on this longer day of travel. Towards the end of the afternoon we will reach our hotel in Haghpat where we will have dinner (included) and stay 2 nights
Tuesday May 21 - Akhtala church – gata baking – Haghpat monastery
Today we will stay closer to ‘home’, because there are 2 highlights of Armenian architecture very nearby. We will leave at 10.00 to visit the church of Akhtala with its beautiful frescos.
Before visiting our 2nd destination, Haghpat Monastery, we take part in the Armenian tradition of making gata, a delicious type of bread filled with chopped walnuts and other ingredients. Time to taste the results of our culinary endeavors over lunch (included). Haghpat monastery is a complex of buildings and know all over Armenia because the famous 19the century troubadour Sayat Nova went into exile here. Back in the hotel you will have free time to have dinner (not included). Dancing with Tineke in the evening.
Wednesday May 22 - Khachkar carver – Molokan village –Haghartsin monastery – to Dilidjan
Check out at 9.00 Today's tour will lead us to the city of Dilidjan where we will stay overnight. The art of sculpting Khachkars (Stone Crosses) is unique and still an existing art form in Armenia. It can be seen at our stop at a 'stone master' in Vanadzor. We are passing villages with Russian names, where Russian speaking Molokans live. They faced persecution in Russia in the 19th century, because their traditions didn't conform to the rules of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is very special to have the chance to visit a private home of this remote community, learn more about their traditions and have lunch (included) with local dishes. As we arrive in Dilidjan there will be time to settle in at our hotel. Later in the afternoon we pay a visit to the fully restored complex of Haghartsin monastery beautifully situated in a dense forest and enjoy the scenery on our walk to a nearby waterfall. Back for dinner at the hotel (not included).
Thursday May 23 – Lake Sewan – Noratus cemetery – cheese factory – caravansary – to Hermon village
Check out at 9.00. Passing a mountain range thru a tunnel, the landscape will completely change as we move on to Lake Sewan. It is the largest fresh water lake in the world and lies at a height of 2000 m.
Guided tour to the top of rocky Aghtamar Peninsula, where (after climbing over 200 steps) you have a splendid view over this huge lake with two old churches as a backdrop. Following the shoreline of the lake in a southward direction, we will continue to Noratus, an ancient cemetery famous for its impressive number of old khatchkars (carved stone crosses) from the 9th and 10th century. Nearby is a small cheese factory, where you can see how cheese it is produced. For a small fee of 4000 AMD you can taste five types of cheese here. We continue our tour and visit a private house which dates back to the 19th century situated in the village of Zolakar. This primitive type of house is unique in Armenia. We will have a tea break and some pastry (included).
The landscape will get more mountainous, and we will cross the Selim Pass, at an altitude of 2400 m. This pass was part of the Silk Road, a 14th-century caravanserai is the silent witness of this important period. Another hour drive into the valley leads us to our accommodation, Lucy Resort where we will have dinner (included) and spend 3 nights.
Friday May 24 – free afternoon
Dance class with Dadik from 10.00-12.00. Dadik Martirosyan is the leader of 2 local dance groups and will make his appearance as a teacher for the 1st time. Lunch at the hotel (included). Free afternoon to relax in the garden, hike in nature or enjoy the indoor pool. During lunch time there will be buffet style lunch (included). Dinner at the hotel (included).
Saturday May 25 – free day – optional hike – dance class
A day to swim, walk, or rent a mountain bike. There is an optional guided hike to Smbataberd fortress (founded in the 5th century). There will be buffet style lunch and dinner (both incl).
15.00-17.00 Dance class Dadik. After dinner there will be a dance performance and party with a local folk dance group and teacher Dadik.
Sunday May 26 – Karahountj – Shaki waterfall – Old Khot
Check out at 9.00. We can order lunch packages (not included) on the next stretch of our tour, travelling east. Before reaching our final final destination Goris, we will stop near the town of Sisian at Karahountj, the Armenian Stonehenge, a circular arrangement of 204 stones with holes in them which is similar to England's Stonehenge, but older. It is believed to have been an observatory dating back to roughly 1000 BC.
Today is not only meant to marvel at ancient culture but also to enjoy the outdoors. We make an easy hike to Shaki waterfall. A good time to eat your lunch and enjoy nature. In the afternoon, on our way to our final destination Goris, we will make a hike to Hien Khot (old Khot). It is the old road to this village which is in ruins now, but hiking shoes are a good choice because the road may have some fallen stones. A hidden gem that has not been discovered by many visitors yet. After a late afternoon arrival we have dinner at the hotel (included). We will spend 2 nights in Goris.
Monday May 27 – Hike in Khundzoresk – free afternoon
Departure 10.00 hrs to explore the landscape near ancient Khundzoresk, an ancient cave town. Slightly beyond the city of Goris the caves of ancient Khundzoresk are sited. You will have a chance to pass the gorge leading to Khundzoresk by a swinging bridge. An extensive walk through this bizarre-looking landscape of rocky points with caves really gives a good impression of the vastness. In the late 19th century up to 4000 people lived here. Back in Goris you can buy lunch at the supermarket and stroll around in the city. Dinner (incl) will be served at the hotel at 19.00 hrs. Dancing in the evening.
Tuesday May 28 – Areni archeological cave – Noravank – lunch in Areni - free evening in Yerevan
Check out and departure at 9.00 to return to Yerevan. Not to miss in Areni is a cave where archaeological excavations have yielded a wealth of finds and which recently has been opened to the public. In the cave the world’s oldest winery was discovered, dating back over six thousand years. It had a wine press, fermenters, jugs and cups, but the most remarkable find was a 5,500-year-old leather shoe recovered in excellent condition, the world's oldest piece of leather footwear. We continue our tour by driving into a rugged canyon leading to one of the most impressive monasteries in Armenia, Noravank (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Although Armenia has an abundance of religious monuments, Noravank ranks to one of the top locations because of its location, unique decorations and size. We will lunch (included) in Areni village at a small local winery. Back in Yerevan, where we will stay another 3 nights before finishing our tour. No dinner provided.
Wednesday May 29 - dance academy – Talin – free evening
We will try to visit the dance academy in Yerevan to watch a class. Otherwise free morning. At 14.00 we will depart to the northwest to visit Talin, a small town in the northwest part of Armenia. Many immigrants from the former West Armenian region of Sasoun (nowadays in Turkish Anatolia) settled around the city of Talin after the genocide. We will meet with a local dance group, which has managed to keep its dance heritage alive for almost a century. This visit offers us the chance to enjoy the company of the villagers and to meet with Armenian hospitality and toasting habits at first hand. We will certainly join some dancing.
Back in Yerevan you are free to dine and enjoy night life.
Thursday May 30 – free day
Free day to pack or do your last sightseeing and shopping. Some other options are a visit to the Matenadaran (Old Manuscripts Museum). Likewise worth a visit are the Historical Museum, the Museum of Russian painters, the Cascade. A short drive by taxi can take you to the Genocide monument or to Erebuni. Erebuni is the foundation of a fortress and the founding of the city of Yerevan (782 BC). It has a small but very interesting museum with English explanation of the artefacts.
Farewell dinner (included)
Friday June 1st - departure
Transfer from the hotel to the airport. Schedule according to different departure times.
- Price is based on sharing a room
- Transfer upon arrival and departure
- Local guide
- Dance classes
- Hotel with breakfast
- Meals as mentioned in the program
- Entrance fees
- International flight
- Non-European participants: € 20 bank transfer charges
- Surcharge single room € 450
- Meals not mentioned in the program
- Tips for local guide and driver
- Drinks, laundry, shopping etc.
Minimum amount of participants: 20. The international flight can be booked after the organizer informs you that the minimum amount of 20 participants has been reached. Full payment due in January 2024, no deposit required. You will receive an invoice.