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CLASSIC: Return to Lost Homeland (7 days)

CLASSIC: Historical Western Armenia - Return to Lost Homeland (7 days)


Tour Duration
7 days, 6 nights

Tour Brief
This is a journey to celebrated Armenian towns and cultural monuments on the other side of river Araks (in the territory of Turkey). Walk in the streets of Kars and medieval Ani, rest on wonderful Akhtamar island, see miraculous Mount Nemrut and Mush Valley, admire the tallest “khachqars” - crossstones by Yerznka. Touch and fill the rich history and culture in the land where Armenians lived for thousands of years.

 Tours in Historical Wester Armenia,
Hamshen, Ararat Climb
  • Tour cost includes
    a) overnight in quality 3/4* hotels,
    b) high-quality, new and comfortable transport,
    c) 2 meals a day ("Vana Tarrekh" fish in Van),
    d) all entry and boat tickets,
    e) travel insurance,
    f) services of a professional guide.
  • Hotels
    Sarikamis / Kars
    Mush / Erzrum

Tour Program:


Town of Kars, "Vardan" Bridge, Charents House, Church of Apostles, Kars Fortress

Early in the morning we will depart Yerevan to drive to the Armenian-Georgian border. We will pass through the town of Gyumri, cross the border at the Bavra point and enter Javakhq, a county in historical Gugarq princedom that is now a part of Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia. On the way from the town of Akhalqalaqi to Akhaltsikhe we will come across Khertvisi fortress (founded in the 2nd century BC) towering above the convergence of Parvana and Kura (Mtkvari) rivers, said to be the most favorite fortress of Tamara, the queen of Georgia in the 12-13th centuries. Continuing the way we will reach the town of Akhaltsikhe, the center of this region of Georgia. After a short rest in Akhaltsikhe we willfor more details see

Medieval Capital Ani, Town of Dogubayazit, Daroinq Fortress, Ishak Pasha Palace, Berkri Waterfalls

In the morning we will leave Kars to visit legendary Ani, the magnificent capital of the mighty Armenian kingdom of the 9-11th centuries, which was once called “the city of one thousand and one churches”. Located on the Great Silk Road Ani used to be the largest religious, trade, and cultural center on this Europe and Asia crossroad. We will experience the power of the medieval city walls and towers, glorious cathedrals, palaces and mosques that are still standing after a millennium. Then we will head to Dogubayazit (Bayazed), on our way after passing the town of Igdir we will enjoy a panoramic view of Mount Ararat from the oppositefor more details see

Tushpa Fortress, Varagavanq Monastery, Sourb Khach Cathedral on Aghtamar Island

In the morning we will visit the ancient Urartian fortress of Tushpa/ Van (9th century BC) that has impressing cuneiform inscriptions of King Sarduri. Passing through the town we will stop by the rock-cut door of “Sasna Tsrer” legend’s hero Junior Mher. If interested we may visit the Van cat nursery to see a breed of cats native to Van only noted for their different colored blue and yellow eyes. We will then drive up the Varaga mountain to Varagavanq church complex (which locals call “Seven Churches”), the archbishopric seat of medieval Vaspourakan Kingdom. Then we will head to the turquoisefor more details see

Town of Bitlis, Alexander the Great Fortress, Mount and Lake Nemrut (“The Army of Nimrod” and “Tears of Semiramis”)

We will take the route toward the town of Tatvan. Passing it we will drive up Mount Nemrut, a volcano, whose latest eruption happened only three hundred years ago. Up the serpentine drive we will enjoy wonderful views of Nemrut crater lake on the one side and Lake Van on the other, weather permitting we may observe Mount Sipan in the north. We will see interesting rock formations that according to the legend are called “The Army of Nimrod” as well as stones called “Tears of Semiramis”. After restingfor more details see

Town of Moush, Eastern Euphrates, Souloukh Bridge, “Msho Sultan” Sourb Karapet Cathedral, Apostles “Araqelots” Monastery

In the morning we will hike up the hill to visit the legendary Apostles (“Msho Araqelots”) Monastery of Mush. The latter was founded by St. Gregory the Illuminator in the 4th century on the relics of three Apostles, Peter, Paul and Andrew that he received from Rome. Afterwards we will drive to the medieval Murat/ Souloukh bridge on the Eastern Euphrates, an important site related to the Armenian national-liberation movement against the Ottoman Empire where one of the leaders, Gevorg Chaush, died. We will then visit the remnants of “Msho Soultan”for more details see

Aparank Monastery, Tallest Armenian Cross-Stones (“Khachkars”), City of Erzurum, Byzantine Fortress, Chifte Minare and Yakutiye Theology Schools, Sanasarian College, Shepherd’s Bridge

Leaving Moush we will pass over Bingol and Palandoken mountain ranges, a historical region called Highland Armenia. Reaching the Western Euphrates and driving up Pakhra (Karagel) mountains we will find ourselves at the magnificent monastery of Aprank/ Apranits. We will see the perfectly preserved Church of St. John (17th century) and the Chapel of St. David, as well as the highest in the world, over 6-meter tall (!) cross-stones (“khachqars”, cross-bearing carved stones) of the 12th century. Then we will continue our way to Erzurum (historical Karin), the largest city in Eastern Anatolia. We will visit the Byzantine Theodoupolis fortress (5th century)for more details see

Ardahan Castle and Town

Before going back we will visit the town of Ardahan located on the Kura River in historical Gugarq princedom. The ancient castle here used to belong to Armenian then Georgian branches of Bagratouni (Bagrationi) royal dynasty, in the 16th century it was invaded by the Ottomans and later by the Russian army. From Ardahan we will drive to the Turkish-Georgian border. In Georgia we will pass through Akhaltsikhe and Akhalqalaqi, and cross the Georgian-Armenian border. Then through Gyumri we will return to Yerevan.


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