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15 Days Combined Eco Tour
Day 1 - Arrival
Arrival to the internacional Tbilisi airport. Reception and assistance. Transfer to hotel. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 2 - Tbilisi sightseeing tour
… Here myth and history, culture and traditions, diverse nature and hospitable people; all intermingle with one another, inspired poetry, polyphonic songs and elegant dancing. A blend of cultures, a smell of spices, different nations meeting on street corners, different faiths sharing the same courtyards....this is Tbilisi, the city that has been dominated by traders, warriors, tyrants and dictators in turn. Take a walk around the old town and breathe in the living past. Today Tbilisi is a modern city with well-known museums and theatres, art galleries, churches and archaeological excavations, Sulphur bathhouses, narrow streets with inner courts, surrounded with balconies decorated with laces, which overhang over abysses. Sites to visit: State museum of history and its treasury Metechi church (12th -13th cc) was built under the order of king Demetre the 2nd ('The Devoted'), although the former church stood here already in 5th century. This area was considered both religious and royal site, as in 12th century royal palace was moved near the church. Sulphur bath houses Narikala fortress Sioni Cathedral (7th -19th cc) . The cathedral has been ransacked, and damaged many times through its history. Despite all the havoc and destruction Sioni has survived and in such terms may be judged as a symbol for the city as a whole. Anchiskhati basilica and bell tower (6th -18th cc) Overnight in hotel in Tbilisi.
Tbilisi – Bakuriani, via Mtskheta After breakfast drive to Samtskhe - Javakheti region, which is known by important historical events, numerous fortresses, churches and some of the oldest settlements, dry landscapes & healthy climate, cool water springs and steppe vegetation. On our route, we will visit one of the oldest towns in Georgia, Mtskheta, populated since the second millennium BC. Today Mtskheta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a living museum, with many architectural and historical monuments. Sites to visit: Jvari Church (6th-7th cc) -a masterpiece of the early Medieval Period and one of he best example of classic tetra conch design with all its miniature size, strikes the viewers with its grandeur and integrity. Svetitskhoveli (11th cc) which may be translated as "The Life-giving pillar", is the main church of Mtskheta and a sacred place where the robe of Christ is being kept. Overnight in hotel in Bakuriani.
Natural park Borjomi-Kharagauli: Romanov Trail* Borjomi-kharagauli Protected Areas are situated in the central part of Caucasus. This is the region, where the humid climate of Kolkheti Plain meets the dry mountain climate of the Anatoly-North Iran. Lush gorges and canyons, volcanic plateaus, petrified lava flows, etc. rank the region among dream destinations for travellers (or make the region one of the most beautiful in the country). There are over 200 picturesquely situated historical and cultural monuments. We will start the hiking tour Nikoloz Romanov trail, which is 43 km long and it lasts 3 days and 2 nights. The altitude will vary between 930-2000 meters. Today, we will depart from Likani Ranger Station until Lomismta cottage (15km approx.). Overnight at Lomismta tourist shelter.
Natural park Borjomi-Kharagauli: Romanov Trail* Today we will continue the hiking trail Nikoloz Romanov. The next part will be 18 km long and will last around 6-7 hours. We will depart from Lomismta shelter until Shakvlari tourist shelter. Overnight at Shakvlari tourist shelter.
Natural park Borjomi-Kharagauli: Romanov Trail* - Kutaisi Today we will complete the last part of the Romanov Trail in the national park Borjomi- Kharagauli. This part will be around 10 km long and we will finish at the Marelisi ranger station. After lunch, we will depart towards Kutaisi, the second biggest city in Georgia and the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Colchis. Rest of the evening free. Overnight in guesthouse in Kutaisi.
Kutaisi – Sataplia natural reserve – Kutaisi After breakfast, we will visit the Prometheus caves, one of the richest caves of Europe. It is characterized by the variety of underground rivers and beautiful landscapes. In Prometheus Cave four layers were formed during the different stages of earth development and tourists will be able to walk through this historic territory by path or by boats. After, we will drive to the Sataplia natural reserve where we will be able to take a walk in the park where they will see the dinosaurs footprints as well as to visit the cave. Finally, we will go back to Kutaisi and if time permits, we will take a walk in the old town. Overnight in guesthouse in Kutaisi.
Kutaisi – Uplistiskhe - Tbilisi After breakfast, we will visit the UNESCO sites of Kutaisi and then we will depart towards Tbilisi, capital of Georgia. On our way, we will visit Uplistsikhe, meaning "The Fortress of God", an ancient cave town from the 1st half of the 1st millennium BC situated on the crossroads of important trade routes. It was the main centre of paganism, and represents a complex of halls, caves, theatres, altars, pagan temples, secret tunnels, prisons, pharmacy, passages-streets all carved out of stone over an area of 4 hectares. After arrival, free time in Tbilisi. Sites to visit: Gelati monastery and architectural complex, founded by King David the Builder in the 12th c. Gelati was the significant centre of culture, religion and philosophy. (UNESCO site) Bagrati Cathedral - (11th c) coronation and burial place of Georgian kings. (UNESCO site) Overnight at hotel in Tbilisi.
Tbilisi – Sadakhlo After breakfast, transfer to Sadakhlo border point. Change of vehicle and guide and continuation of the trip in Armenia. On the way, visiting of Hahartsin and Sanahin monasteries. Dilijan health resort town surrounded by the Lesser Caucasus mountain‐range lies to the north eastern part of the Republic of Armenia, in the valley of the river Aghstev, at a height of 1100‐1510 meters above sea level. It borders with the Bazums in the northeast, the Pambaks in the west and southwest, the Murghuzes in the east and the Aregunis in the south‐east.The gorge mountain‐ranges are covered with rich forests changing to alpine meadows at the alp. Overnight in private guesthouse in Dilijan.
Dilijan National Park Dilijan national park is a unique site of Armenia's wildlife, which stands out by the wealth of original biodiversity, mezophile woodlands, separate ecosystems of scientific, educational and economic interest, as well as by its patrimonial, environmental, cognitive, curative and recreational assets. Trekking in Dilijan national park. Overnight in Dilijan.
Dilijan – Garni and Gegard Free time in Dilijan town. Second part of the day: transfer to Garni village, visit to Garni temple and Geghard monastery / Garni Temple, the only extant temple in Armenia, dating back to the era of paganism and Hellenism. It was devoted to the pagan god of sun‐ "Mithra". The temple was built by Greek slaves in 76 B.C. It was the summer residence of Armenian kings over 4 centuries. Gegard monastery ‐ the miracle of Armenian architecture, built in the 13th century. A unique complex of cave structures, located in a picturesque valley (both are in UNESCO World Heritage List). overnight at B&B in Garni/.
Khosrov state reserve Hiking in the Khosrov state reserve. Option 2 The trail starts from Berdatak abandoned village then continues to Kaqavaberd canyon and reaches Kaqavaberd fortress (IX‐X cc.). Trail continues to Kotur canyon then to mountain plateau. After, the trail continues to the Izmirek abandoned village. Along Azat river trail continues till Garni checkpoint. Trail info: The trail can be combined with horseback riding or driving. The length of the trail is 8 km, duration 8 hours. Along the trail bezoar goat, brown bear, wolf, lizard, aper and griffon can bemet. Breakfast. Khosrov state reserve. Khosrov Reserve is located in the Ararat Province (Marz) in southwestern Armenia, to the south‐east of Armenia's capital Yerevan, covering the branches of the Geghama Ridge. The area that officially became, in 1958, Khosrov Reserve enjoys a long‐term reputation of wildlife haunt and a unique forest tract with spectacular scenery and rich historical legacy which is the closest piece of pristine nature to the capital agglomeration. Nature protection here began long before 1958. In the years 330‐338 A.D., the Armenian king Khosrov the Third Kotak (Short) had established along the Azat riverside two wildlife sanctuaries, one of which is still called the Khosrov Forest. Gleanings about Khosrov Reserve can be found in the works of medieval Armenian historians. overnight at B&B in Garni.
Khosrov state reserve - Yerevan Hiking in the Khosrov state reserve Option 1 The trail starts from Poqr shen abandoned village then continues to Azat river valley and reaches abandoned village of Imirzek (XII‐XVIII cc.). Trail continues to Kotur canyon then to Kaqvaberd gorge from where opens a view to Ukhtuakunq and Darband canyons. After the trail continues to the Azat river valley. This woody place is convenient for picnic and rest. Trail info The trail can be combined with horseback riding or driving. The length of the trail is 4.9 km, duration 6‐8 hours. Difficulty – average. Along the trail bezoar goat, brown bear, wolf, lizard and griffon can be met. Lavash baking in Garni. Transfer to Yerevan overnight hotel in Yerevan.
Yerevan City tour. (half day with visit of the history museum and the genozid monument) Yerevan is one of the oldest cities in the world (2793 years old). Central streets and avenues of Yerevan, "Cascade" complex ‐ a favorite leisure place of residents and guests, it connects downtown to "Haghtanak" park .Here is also the statue of "Black Cat" by renowned Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero. Visit to Matenadaran‐ancient manuscript repository, one of the largest repositories of ancient manuscripts in the world. Currently this establishment possesses 17,000 ancient Armenian manuscripts. History museum of Armenia owns an enormous and exceptional collection starting from the 3rd‐2ndmillennia BC bronze specimens up to 20th century. Parajanov museum is one of the most popular museums of Yerevan. Parajanov’s art works‐assemblages, flat and three‐dimensional collages, drawings, dolls and film sketches amaze with its fantasy and artistry. Rest of the day: free. overnight hotel in Yerevan.
Departure Transfer to the airport in the early morning, flight back.