Caucasus Travel

Treasures of The Caucasus

Published in Caucasus Travel

Nestled against the Caucasus Mountains, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are emerging as go-to destinations. Fabulous cuisine, rugged mountain peaks and lush valleys, narrow medieval streets and glass skyscrapers inspire travelers in this enchanting mix of cultures and traditions. Explore this pillar of early civilization; a bridge between Europe and Asia, on your journey to a region spanning continents, culture and history – travel to the Caucasus!

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Discover the Hidden Riches of the Caucasus

Published in Caucasus Travel

The Caucasus countries of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan hold unique enchantments for travelers to discover. Thousands of years of history beckon from this bridge between Europe and Asia, nestled between Russia, Turkey and the Black and Caspian Seas. Relatively untraveled, visitors will find adventure like it used to be with fabulous food, warm hospitality and amazing cultural diversity. Hike up to lone monasteries in Armenia, take a moonlight swim in the Black Sea, taste unforgettable Georgian wine and dance under the minarets of Azerbaijan. It's a land of forgotten wilderness, ancient cities, and traditions from the beginnings of Christianity and Islam, Circassia and the Ottoman Empire. Experience the most incredible adventure in your life in the Caucasus!

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Easter in Armenia – The Cradle of Christianity

Published in Armenia

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.

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Treasures of Armenia

Published in Armenia

Armenia is an ancient and beautiful country, modernizing and blossoming after years of Soviet rule. Incredible landscapes, a rich history and modern amenities combine to make Armenia an unforgettable travel experience. Bustling, lively cities give way to rolling hills, flowing rivers, tall mountains and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. From the mountain meadows of Tsakhkadzor to the historic churches of Echmiadzin and the urban pulse of Yerevan, Armenia offers something for everyone!

A journey through Armenia begins in the nation’s capital of Yerevan. Surrounded on three sides by mountains, the skyline is dominated by legendary Mount Ararat.  The Hrazdan Rver flows through the city, giving it a variety of elevations and neighborhoods, and even a cable car to a panoramic viewpoint.

In Yerevan we offer a walking tour between museums and art galleries around spectacular Victory Park. Then we explore the open air Vernisaj bazaar stocked with traditional carpets and crafts. The Cascade Complex is a must-see of staircases connecting the downtown to residential districts. There are escalators to whisk you up and down the fountains and sculptures. Stop in one of the many cafes to sample the most delicious apricots, berries and pomegranates or take in a jazz concert in the warmer seasons. Armenian cuisine is one of the oldest in the South Caucasus. Our hand-picked local guides will take you to traditional restaurants to enjoy authentic Armenian kufta, or dolma and of course lavash, the pliable flatbread cooked on the walls of a wood-fired clay oven.

Fabulous historic sites are never far away from the capital city. We'll tour the Holy Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the first Christian cathedral in the world. Then on to explore the many majestic architectural treasures in Armenia. Visit Zvatrnos Cathedral, Geghard Monastery, Garni, and the 5th c. Khor Virap Monastery. Khor Virap offers visitors stunning views of Yerevan and Mount Ararat.

Armenians are warm and hospitable and visitors are honored guests. Near Garni you will be invited by a local family to participate in the preparation of lavash and learn to cook traditional Armenian-style kebab with lamb and vegetables. Throughout the trip you'll sample creamy homemade Armenian yogurt and cheeses; they're delicious!

Continuing along the old Silk Road routes takes us to the charming city of Dilijan, stopping by beautiful Lake Sevan for a local fish lunch. The largest and one of the most beautiful lakes in Caucasus, its colors change from azure to turquoise to navy blue. Many locals call this lake the “Armenian Sea.”

Dilijan is famous for UNESCO World Heritage sites - its ancient monasteries Haghartsin and Goshavank date from the 11- 13th centuries. Dilijan is charming and picturesque - “Armenia’s Switzerland”. Visit the workshops of local artisans and take the opportunity to make you own wooden jewelry, pencil box or porcelain ornaments.

Hike the foothills of Mount Ararat, a magnificent, symbolic landmark of this beautiful country. It's an excellent place to taste Armenia's famous khash soup. Your local guide knows the best locations to experience the beauty of Yerevan and the surrounding regions. At your farewell dinner, there will be a performance by a special folklore group. Join them to dance and learn to say see you again soon in Armenia!

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Cradle of Wine-Georgia

Published in Georgia

This 8-day journey to Georgia, an extraordinary cultural heritage destination, uncovers 8,000 years of wine-making and culinary traditions. Nestled between Russia and Turkey in the Caucasus, along the alluring Black Sea coast, Georgia is home to five wine regions, including internationally renowned Kakheti (the largest) and Kartli. Visitors will taste wines of local wineries and monasteries, enjoy meals at the homes of local families, visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and experience the beautiful landscape and sights of Tbilisi, Sighnaghi, Telavi, Mtskheta, Gori, Kutaisi, and Batumi.

Georgian Wine Highlights:

  • Explore the Kakheti wine region, enjoying superb views of the snow-capped Great Caucasus Mountains and verdant valleys of Kakheti while sipping wines from the Pheasant’s Tears winery (www.pheasantstears.com)

  • In the nearby village of Velistsikhe, visit traditional local cellars to learn about family wine production

  • Enjoy a tasting at the modern Schuchmann Wines facility, owned by Burkhard Schuchmann, a German industrial manager who was seduced by Georgia’s promising vineyards.

  • Visit a local master of Georgian clay jars known as qvevri traditionally used for storing wine underground, a method which dates back 8,000 years.

  • Tour the wine cellar at Alaverdi Cathedral, in operation by wine-making monks from as early as the 6th century.

 

Begin in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi. During a walking tour of the old city, guests discover the religious and secular architecture that line its narrow streets: churches, synagogues, and mosques and Tbilisi's famous 19th century houses with their multi-colored wooden balconies. Relaxation awaits at the sulfur baths, popular with visitors like Pushkin, Lermontov, and Dumas.

The next day, guests explore the Kakheti wine region, famous  for its wide ranging wine varietals and fabulous landscapes. The Pheasant’s Tears is a small winery started by American artist, John H. Wurdeman in the fortified 18th century town of Singhnaghi. Velistsikhe offers an opportunity to compare traditional rural and modern wine making productions. 

The following day guests will visit a local master qvevri maker. These pointed bottom clay jars are used to store wine underground.  Afterwards, there's a visit to the wine cellar of the Alaverdi Cathedral. The ancient cellar there was frequently destroyed by Muslim invaders and rendered inactive during Soviet times when the monastery was deserted. Today, however, the cellar is as lively as it ever was! Lunch will be prepared at the home of a local family, followed by a tour and tasting in the town of Kvareli.

On day five, guests will explore the 6th century Jvari Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site overlooking Mtskheta, the ancient capital and religious heart of Georgia. Continuing on to the cave town of Uplistsikhe, wines from the Kartli region are on the menu, then an overnight in Kutaisi, one of the oldest settlements in Europe and capital of the Kingdom of Colchis. Kutaisi is also the destination of the legendary hero Jason and the Argonauts in their quest for the golden fleece and the Gelati Monastery here adds another fantastic UNESCO site to our list.

Finally, guests will make their way to the beautiful coast of the Black Sea and the Gonio fortress, also connected with the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, and enjoy their free time to exploring the city of Batumi. En route to Tbilisi for their last overnight before departure, guests will learn more about West Georgian wines and visit the Stalin Museum and a final UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mtskheta: the 11th c. Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Here is where Christ's robe is said to be buried, and at over a millennium old, still one of the most beautiful churches of Georgia. 

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Allure of Azerbaijan

Published in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, the "Guardian of the Fires," sizzles on burning mountaintops, in ancient Zoroastrian temples, and in the eyes of ambitious political and economic conquerors and investors. Fanned by the winds from the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijani flames have lit the way for travelers from all directions throughout its history. Five thousand years of rich civilization beckon you from silent tombs, lofty palaces, gorgeous mosques, and dominant fortresses to explore this complex and unique cultural mix. Silk Road Treasure Tours offers you the limitless treasures of Azerbaijan!

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