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Easter in Armenia – The Cradle of Christianity

Duration of this Trip 8 Days Priced From $2,699 per person

Easter or “Zatik” in Armenia is one of the most colorful, joyful celebrations of the year. With traditions dating back thousands of years, visitors are invited to church ceremonies, to participate in community events, to feast like the locals and enjoy the warmth and hospitality of the region. Incense wafts from inside candlelit cathedrals, Easter eggs are dyed, often in dark red for the blood of Christ. Voices everywhere are raised in greeting and response of “Krisdos haryav ee merelotz!” – Christ is risen!” and “Orhnyal eh harootiunun Krisdosee!” – “Blessed is the resurrection of Christ!” while Easter eggs are cracked together! Sweet bread is shared and the table is decorated with colored eggs nestled in dishes of fresh spring grass. Armenia is filled with ancient temples, monasteries and churches, rich sacred and historical sites and the Holy Week of Easter is the most important time in this most ancient of Christian cultures. It was here in 301AD that Armenia officially adopted Christianity as the state religion. The rich history and culture, incredible scenery, continental climate, and modern amenities combine to make Armenia an unforgettable experience for travelers. From the mountain meadows of Tsakhkadzor to the historic churches of Echmiadzin, the cognac cellars and urban pulse of Yerevan, come and celebrate this most joyous of holidays in Armenia!

This is a tour suitable for Religious, Cultural, Photography, Family, Archaeological and Sightseeing. Available as a Group Tour or Private Tour. Suitable for family, boomers, anniversary, romantic and business.

At a Glance

Duration

8 Days

Priced From

$2,699 per person

Departures

  • April 1-7, 2017

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival
  • Day 2: Yerevan
  • Day 3: Garni
  • Day 4: Khor Virap
  • Day 5: Echmiadzin
  • Day 6: Lake Sevan-Dilijan
  • Day 7: Alaverdi region
  • Day 8: Departure

Itinerary

Day 1 April 1st, Arrival

Arrival at Zvartnos International Airport where your guide will meet you. Transfer to your hotel for this evening in Yerevan. (D)

Day 2:  April 2nd, Holy Thursday

Our excursion begins in the capital city of Yerevan. Founded by King Argishti in 782 BC it is one of the most continuously inhabited cities in the world. Nicknamed the Pink City for the color of its building stone, it is set against the dramatic backdrop of Mount Ararat, the legendary resting place of Noah’s Ark. We will visit the Matenadaran Manuscript Museum, an ancient book depository holding thousands of rare and illuminated medieval treasures. The Genocide Memorial is a must on the list here, (the museum is currently under renovation), dedicated to the plight of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. We will climb the kaskad or cascade steps, with its fountains, sculptures and beautiful views of Yerevan, part of the Cafesjian Museum of Modern Art.Later in the afternoon, at the Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator we will attend in the liturgy of Holy Thursday and the ceremony of Votnlva, the washing of the feet, symbolic of the gesture made by Jesus at the Last Supper.Welcome dinner with folk music entertainment at a traditional restaurant. (B / L / D)

Day 3: April 3rd, Holy Friday

Breakfast. Garni and Geghard are on our agenda today. The Monastery of Geghard was named after the lance used to pierce Christ's body after his crucifixion and thought to have been brought to Armenia by the Apostle Thaddeus. Founded in the 4th century, the main chapel was built in 1215, partially hewn from the mountainside.The acoustics of the rock-cut walls offer an excellent opportunity for church singers to try their voices.
Garni is the only surviving symbol of pre-Christian Armenia. Though partly reconstructed, this Hellenistic temple has survived on the site since the 1st century AD, on the edge of a cliff and part of the ancient fortress of Garni.
We will have the opportunity to visit with a local family and take part in baking lavash. This national bread of Armenia, it is a thin, soft flatbread, warm and tasty from the oven. It's also time for Easter egg decorating, and we'll learn how they are dyed and decorated, and have the chance to make some of our own.
Overnight in Yerevan. (B / L / D).

Day 4: April 4th, Holy Saturday

Visit the medieval Monastery of Khor Virap. Located at the foot of Mount Ararat, this picturesque site was the legendary prison of Gregory the Illuminator who ultimately converted the kingdom to Christianity. We will participate in the celebration of the Candlelight Mass and Divine Liturgy. During the mass the priest blesses the fire, and lights the Easter candle - symbol of the light of Christ and the triumph of light over darkness.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we will continue the trip to the monastery of Noravank up a narrow winding valley of dramatic cliffs and ancient caves – where the oldest leather shoe was recently found! The oldest building in this complex dates back to the 9th century and its past is filled with fabulous legends and stories.
Dinner and overnight in Yerevan. (B / L / D).

Day 5: April 5th, Resurrection Sunday

Echmiadzin. Here will visit the 7th century church of St. Hrispime known not only for its age and classic architectural style, but also for the legends which surround St. Hripsime herself. Possibly the most visited city by both pilgrims and tourists alike, the Echmiadzin's ecclesiastical architecture and ruins recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Mother Cathedral here is the "Vatican of Armenia", being the seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Constructed in the 4th century, ruins of a pagan temple lie under the altar. The treasury here holds an incredible collection of Christian relics and on the grounds can be found beautiful khachkars, or carved cross stones.
Here we will attend the Easter liturgy and the rituals of Resurrection Sunday.
After lunch we will explore the archaeological remains of Zvartnots Cathedral. Originally built to outshine and outlive Echmiadzin, archaeologists and historians still debate the cause of its fall. Back in Yerevan, we will have time to browse in Vernissage, the open-air market famous for its handicrafts. Here you will find woodcarving, fine lace, hand-knotted wool carpets, and objects and jewelry of gold and obsidian. (B / L / D).

Day 6: April 6th, Easter Monday

Today beautiful, blue Lake Sevan will afford us arresting views from one of the largest high altitude lakes in the world. The lakeside is dotted with churches and we will visit the Sevanavank Monastery, rough-hewn of black stone and perched on the top of the peninsula hill. Nearby Dilijan, known as the "Little Switzerland" of Armenia has been a summer resort since Soviet times. Set in the deep, wooded gorge of the Aghstev River, the town itself is surrounded by a nature preserve and bordered by the Minor Caucasus Mountains. Old monasteries abound, and there are lakes and hikes, and a folk art museum in town.
Overnight in Dilijan. (B / L / D)

Day 7: April 6th, UNESCO Day

Drive to the Alaverdi region to visit the unique, Byzantine monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat. UNESCO Word Heritage Sites, these monasteries were important centers of culture between the tenth and thirteenth centuries, where they remain places of deep spirituality, their walls decorated in frescoes, and the grounds with elaborate khachkars.
Return to Yerevan for our farewell dinner in a national restaurant. (B / L / D)

Day 8: April 7th, Departure

After breakfast we will transfer to the airport. (B)

Land Tour Costs

From $2,699 for 6-10 travelers

Single Supplement

$297

Scheduled Departures

  • April 1-7, 2017

Trip Highlights

  • Excursions to significant cultural and religious sites
  • Participation in Easter weekend services and celebrations
  • Opportunities to meet local families, and visit traditional wineries and bakeries
  • Tap your toes to the spirited music and graceful dance formations of local folk troupes
  • Enjoy the warm hospitality of the region
  • Visit ancient villages, traditional wineries and bakeries, and delight in the rich variety of Armenian food and wine

Visited Countries

Armenia

Visited Cities & Places

Yerevan, Garni, Areni, Dilijan.

Suggested Extensions

Treasures of Two Russia Capitals

Reading Lists

Lonely Planet: Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan (2012)

Thomas De Waal: The Caucasus, An Introduction (2010)

What's Included

  • Visa support
  • Hotel accommodation in comfortable, centrally located hotels
  • Professional English speaking guide
  • Folklore show
  • Transportation, airport and hotel transfers within Armenia
  • Tours and entrance fees to monuments indicated in the program
  • All Easter ceremonies
  • Breakfast and dinners
  • Bottle of water pp per day

What's Not Included

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance;
  • Additional alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities

Visited Countries

Armenia

Visited Cities & Places

Yerevan, Garni, Areni, Dilijan.

Suggested Extentions

Treasures of Two Russia Capitals

Reading Lists

Lonely Planet: Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan (2012)

Thomas De Waal: The Caucasus, An Introduction (2010)

Easter in Armenia Map

Visited Countries

Armenia

Visited Cities & Places

Yerevan, Garni, Areni, Dilijan.

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Easter in Armenia – The Cradle of Christianity

A 8 day tour. Scheduled Departures on April 1st, 2015

Scheduled Departures

  • April 1-7, 2017

Land Tour Costs

From $2,699 for 6-10 travelers

Single Supplement

$297