ARMENIA TOUR with Graham Hancock
August 3-14, 2015
ADVENTURE THROUGH HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY!
Have you ever dreamed of a journey to a country that is still not swarmed with tourists? To a country where people are living in harmony with their ancient culture and customs? If this is your dream, The Time of a New Era will make it happen! Armenia Tour is a journey through time that will allow you to become fascinated by Armenia’s beautiful grace, to breathe fresh mountain air, to sink into mountain healing springs, to climb rocky peaks, to eat ecologically clean food, to taste the specialties of Armenian cuisine, to listen to their songs and customs.
Graham Hancock: I've been blessed to be able to spend much of my life travelling the world investigating the ancient mysteries of earth's lost civilization, so it's always exciting to discover a country I've never been to before. In 2014 I visited Armenia for the first time and found it to be just an incredible place filled with exciting antiquities and real adventure. On this exclusive tour I'll share what I found there from extraordinary petroglyphs created high in the mountains and showing scenes of a primordial 'Garden of Eden' to enigmatic stone circles aligned to the heavens 12,000 years ago, to traditions that link to the constellation of Orion in that same remote era and to unexplored megalithic sites. Along the way we'll also visit some of the most ancient Christian places of the worship in the world, with cathedrals and monasteries of profound beauty where an ancient spirituality still lives and breathes. I'll give several lectures in the evenings as we travel showing how all this links in to Magicians of the Gods, the new book I'm working on that will be the sequel to Fingerprints of the Gods.
Armenia borders Turkey and Georgia. It is a fascinating and still undiscovered country, with breathtaking monuments and impressive mountain landscape. Its beauty and heritage equals other countries like Egypt or Turkey. In its golden age, Armenia was one of the most powerful kingdoms of Asia Minor and its territory was spreading to the lands currently belonging to Turkey. The current capital of Armenia, Yerevan, is one of the oldest cities in the world, funded in 8th century BC. Armenia once included Mount Ararat, which biblical tradition identifies as the mountain that Noah's ark rested on after the flood. It was the first country in the world to officially embrace Christianity as its religion (c. A.D. 300).
1. About Armenia
14,000 years ago, thousands of years before the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia, the territory of Armenia was inhabited by prehistoric people. An ancient community in Armenian Highlands left traces of habitation on over 2000 rocks carved onto dark volcanic stones. Located high in the mountains, situated more than 9000 feet above the sea level, on top of the Ughtasar Mountain. These rock carvings known as “itsagir” depict hunting scenes, a wide array of local animals, animal domestication, farming, astronomical sights, solar symbols, geometrical shapes, mythical creatures, ancient rituals, religious dances, and even zodiac signs. Similar signs can be found all over the world - on the Egyptian Sahara desert, for instance. The ones in Armenia are very special, not known to the general public and rarely seen by tourists.
Another important site is the Pyramid of Dvin. You may ask - a pyramid? In Armenia ? The pyramids have been discovered in different regions of the world - in Egypt, China and Mexico. For a very long time nobody suspected that Armenia can have its own Pyramid as well. Dvin - the medieval capital of Armenia - is located 250 km from Armenia’s current capital city, Yerevan. It is a place where we will see the mysterious Pyramid, still not officially discovered and covered by sand. The Pyramid is well known to the locals, but the government did not issue a permission for excavation so far. A few years ago illegal excavations have been conducted at the top of this artificial hill and they found a stone construction underneath. What is more, a few kilometers from the Pyramid, in the ruins of the ancient city of Dvin, there is a stone with an engraving of a Pyramid, which clearly points to the fact that it has not been always covered by sand. When Armenia adopted Christianity as its official religion, the remainders of the ancient beliefs were destroyed or hidden. The Pyramid as a symbol of ancient cult was probably simply covered by sand and disguised as a natural hill.
During our journey through this diverse country, we will also visit Armenia’s Stonehenge. Zorats Karer is the oldest astronomical observatory in the world, built thousands of years before the Stonehenge in England! Archaeologists estimate that it was built 12 thousand years ago - as much as 9 thousand years before the time of Egyptian pharaohs!
Armenia is not only known for its archaeological and historical value, but also for its beautiful green landscapes, high mountains and natural forests. It is the land of magnificent monasteries and ancient churches built on the mountain tops or at the edge of a precipice, creating unforgettable scenic views. Take the chance to see those stunning natural miracles! This is a tour for the fans of archaeology and unraveled historical mysteries - discover the undiscovered during our Armenia adventure!
2. TOUR ITINERARY:
Day 1: Arrival.
Arrival to Yerevan international Airport Zvartnots. A representative of The Time of a New Era company will welcome our guests at the airport and transport them to the luxurious 5-star hotel in Yerevan. After the check-in process at the hotel, our guests will have time to rest. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 2: Yerevan City Tour
Breakfast at the hotel. You will start your tour with panoramic city tour of Yerevan. Along the way you will see the Sports and Concert complex, Kievyan Bridge, Baghramyan Avenue, the Presidential Palace, Academy of Sciences, National Parliament and the Opera House. You will also visit History Museum and Brandy factory with tasting of 3 types of famous Armenian cognac. Lunch during the tour. Back to the hotel. Dinner at a traditional Armenian Restaurant. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 3: Yerevan – Echmiatsin – Zvartnots–Metsamor - Yerevan
Breakfast at the hotel. We will start our tour with a visit of Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the first official Christian church in the world, built in 301 A.D. Lunch during the tour. Depart from Etchmiadzin to Zvartonts, 7th Century Armenian cathedral. Zvartnots was built at a time when much of Armenia was under Byzantine control or influence and during the early invasions of Armenia by the Muslim Arabs.
We will continue our tour to the excavations of Metsamor - an ancient observatory and center of ancient metallurgy. Excavations have shown strata of occupancy going back to the Neolithic period (7,000-5,000 BC), but the most outstanding features of the site were constructed during the early, middle and late Bronze Ages (5,000-2,000 BC). The site occupies a volcanic hill and surrounding area. The entire city is believed to have covered 200 hectares at its greatest extent, housing up to 50,000 people (making it a huge metropolis in those days). The area was rich in water, mineral and hunting resources at the time of the development of Metsamor.
Back to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Yerevan.
Day 4: Yerevan –Garni – Geghard–Agarak - Yerevan
Breakfast at the hotel in Yerevan. Visit to Garni, the only pagan temple in Armenia. We will see the magnificent canyon and organ-like vertical cliffs. Take part in a traditional lavash making ceremony.
After lunch we will visit a magnificent Christian Monastery Geghard, carved in the rocks. The monastery has an amazing architecture and stunning acoustics. In the afternoon we will go on a trip to the magnificent complex Agarak - ancient settlement, located in the foothills of Mount Aragats. We will see ancient burial chambers and places of worship. Back to Yerevan. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 5: Yerevan – Dvin – Noravank – Zorats Karer - Goris
Breakfast at the hotel in Yerevan. Departure from Yerevan to Goris. On the way we will visit the Pyramid of Dvin. The Pyramid is well known to the locals, but the government did not issue a permission for excavation so far. A few years ago illegal excavations have been conducted at the top of this artificial hill and they found a stone construction underneath. What is more, a few kilometers from the Pyramid, in the ruins of the ancient city of Dvin, we will see a stone with an engraving of a Pyramid, which clearly points to the fact that it has not been always covered by sand.
After lunch we will continue our trip to Noravank Monastery - a magnificent monument of medieval Armenian architecture, surrounded by gorgeous red rocks. In the afternoon we will visit the oldest (12,000 years old) observatory Zorats Karer, also called Karahunj (prototype of Stonehenge). In the evening we will arrive to Goris. Dinner and overnight stay in Goris.
Day 6: Goris - Tatev Monastery – Ditaket - Goris
Breakfast at the hotel in Goris. Trip to 9th-century Tatev Monastery by the longest cable car in the world. In the 14th and 15th centuries Tatev Monastery hosted one of the most important Armenian medieval universities, the University of Tatev, which contributed to the advancement of science, religion and philosophy, reproduction of books and development of miniature painting. Scholars of the Tatev University contributed to the preservation of Armenian culture and creed during one of its most turbulent periods in its history.
Lunch during the tour in the forest on the edge of deep gorge of breathtaking beauty. After our lunch we will explore the 6,000-year old city, discovered in a mountain forest. We will see the ruins of houses and architectural details. In the evening we will return to Goris. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 7: Ughtasar
Breakfast at the hotel in Goris. Today we will explore the petroglyphs of Ughtasar. Located high in the mountains, situated more than 9,000 feet above the sea level on top of the Ughtasar Mountain. These rock carvings depict hunting scenes, a wide array of local animals, animal domestication, farming, astronomical sights, solar symbols, geometrical shapes, mythical creatures, ancient rituals, religious dances, and even zodiac signs. The petroglyphs can only be accessed by an uphill climb in a 4x4 vehicle (3-hour drive from the highway). The petroglyphs (12,000 BCE) are carved onto dark brownish-black volcanic stones left behind by an extinct volcano. Although the site was discovered in the early 20th century, it is still not fully understood today.
In the evening we will drive back to our hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Goris.
Day 8: Goris – Selim – KarvanSaray – Noraduz - Dilijan
Breakfast at the hotel. Cross through Caravanserai, one of the most famous parts of ancient great Silk Roads. You can trace the Silk Road in Armenia by following its caravanserai, or inns; medieval stopping points where caravan riders and their pack animals spent the night. Continue to Noraduz which is truly considered to be forest of khachkars, displays hundreds of khachkars, the most stunning of which are the so called ''embroidered'' ones typical to the 13th-14th centuries. Lunch during the tour. Continue to Dilijan – the forest kingdom of Armenia. Check in the hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Dilijan.
Day 9: Dilijan - Haghartsin
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit Haghartsin Monastery which represents an indescribable blend of nature with architecture. It was founded in the 10-11th centuries, though new buildings were added in the 12-13th centuries. Excursion to Old Dilijan. Lunch at Tufenkian Hotel with special menu of ancient Armenian cuisine. Free time at a hotel resort.
Day 10: Goshavank – Lori Region
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to visit Goshavank Monastery. It used to be one of the most famous religious and cultural centers in medieval Armenia. Here you can see one of the most beautiful khachkars of Armenia. After lunch we will drive to Lori Region, which is located in the north of the country. Dinner and overnight stay in Lori.
Day 11: Haghpat – Sanahin - Yerevan
Breakfast at a hotel. Visit Sanahin and Haghpat Monasteries which are included in the World Heritage List. The two monastic complexes represent the highest flowering of Armenian religious architecture, its unique style developed from a blending of elements of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture and the traditional vernacular architecture of the Caucasian region. Lunch during the tour. Drive back to Yerevan. Farewell Dinner. Overnight stay in Yerevan.
Day 12: Departure from Yerevan
It is the last day of our tour and time to say goodbye to Armenia. After breakfast we will transfer you to the airport. The Time of a New Era company will do everything to ensure that our guests will have the time of their lives during our exciting adventure.
3. Terms & Conditions
Price per person: $3985 USD for double room. Email us at email@example.com for the payment schedule.
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