10 / 13 Days HIGHLIGHTS OF SOUTH AFRICA + VICTORIA FALL
– Shirvanshkh’s Palace, Maiden Tower
– Shemakha Gate, Gobustan
– Juma Mosque, Caravanserai
– Kakheti Wine Tasting, Sighnaghi
– Stepantsminda Town, Ananuri Fortress
– Gergeti Mountain, Gergeti Trinity Church
– Tbilisi sightseeing tour, Mtskheta
– Jvari Monstery, vetitskhoveli Cathedral
– Haghpat Monastery, Lake Sevan
– Sevanavank Monastery, Yeravan sightseeing tour
– Garni Monastic Complex, Geghard Monastery
– Local food market, Etchmiadzin Cathedral
– Zvartnots Temple
Your voyage to the Caucasus begins with a flight to Baku, Azerbaijan.
Salam eleykim! Welcome to Azerbaijan. On arrival, Get to know Baku with a tour of the city, taking in a visit to the Old City, including time at Shemakha gate, Shirvanshahs` Palace, Maiden Tower, Old Market Square and the Carpet Museum. Bring a camera as there will be panoramic views of Baku’s skyline to enjoy. Afterwards head out on a tour of the Absheron Peninsula, visiting the Ateshgah fire temple, Mardakan medieval fortress and the eternally burning Yanardagh fire mountain. Return to Baku in the evening.
This morning, Drive to Qobustan and visit the open-air rock paintings museum, a UNESCO heritage site with its own archaeological museum. Next, continue to Shamakhi. In its history, eleven major earthquakes have rocked Shamakhi but through multiple reconstructions it maintained its role as the economic and administrative capital of Shirvan and one of the key towns on the Silk Road. The only building to have survived eight of the eleven earthquakes is the landmark Juma Mosque of Shamakhi, built in the 10th century. Take a visit to the Juma Mosque before we continue to Ganja for our overnight stay.
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Lagodekhi on the Azerbaijan-Georgia border. Visit a traditional bazaar. From Lagodekhi, travel to the Kakheti region, famous for its wine making and welcoming hospitality. From here, both the snowy Caucasus mountains and bountiful green valleys are visible. Visit a local family, explore the gardens and vineyards and then enjoy a lunch of delicious homemade food, wine and Georgian ‘Chacha’. Later, visit a 300-year-old Georgian wine cellar and taste Georgian wine produced using Qvevri, large earthenware pots. This method of wine making is protected on UNESCO’s heritage list and Georgian farmers have used this method for centuries. Continue to the beautiful 18th-century town of Sighnaghi, known for its quaint stone walls, small houses with terracotta roofs and decorated balconies. Admire the picturesque views of the Alazani Valley and Great Caucasus mountains. Tonight, we shall have our overnight stay in Tbilisi, Capital of Georgia.
Today, we shall start our journey to Caucasus Mountains. Drive up the famous Georgian Military Highway (leading to the Georgian-Russian Border), your first stop is Ananuri architectural complex, the two churches and the fortress overlooking Zhinvali Water Reservior.Continue the drive to Stepantsminda (also know as Khabezi), the administrative center of Khevi province. Here we’ll change to 4WD vehicle and drive up the beautiful forest to the top of Gergeti Mountain, where a lone church – Gergeti Trinity Church stands in front of one of the highest mountains of the Great Caucasus – Mt. Kazbegi (5047m). This evening, be treated to an authentic Georgian folklore dinner and dance.
Today, visit Mtskheta, the ancient capital and religious center of Georgia. See UNESCO Heritage Sites such as the 6th century Jvari Monastery and the impressive Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, where the Robe of Christ is purported to be buried. Afterwards, visit a wine cellar in the village of Chardakhi and taste unique BIO wines, produced using traditional Georgian methods. After lunch, we transfer back to Tbilisi and explore the capital of Georgia. Wander the old districts of the city, which are structured like terraces, and walk through the narrow streets to appreciate the colourful houses, patterned balconies and revamped modern architecture. Get to know the city on a walk beginning from the 13th-century Metekhi church, with its magnificent views over old Tbilisi, before visiting the main sights of the city. Next, enjoy panoramic views of the whole town and through the ancient Narikala fortress, then head to the historical domed sulphur bath area. Visit the stunning treasury of the Golden Fund at the historical museum (closed on Mondays), which will prove that Georgia is truly the land of the Golden Fleece.
After breakfast, drive to Sadakhlo, a village at the Georgia-Armenia border. Begin the Armenian leg of your adventure with a visit to Haghpat monastery, which is listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Haghpat stands as an example of one of the most outstanding works of medieval Armenian architecture. Later, travel to the picturesque resort town of Dilijan, often refered to as the “Little Switzerland of Armenia’’. Dilijan’s central Sharambeyan Street has been preserved and maintained as a charming “old town”, complete with craftsman`s workshops, a gallery and a museum. Stay overnight at a hotel in Dilijan.
After breakfast drive to the reflective waters of Lake Sevan, nicknamed “The Pearl of Armenia”. Sevan is one of the largest fresh-water high-altitude lakes in the world. Visit the romantic Sevanavank Monastery, which overlooks the water on the Peninsula. Move on to the village of Garni to visit the 1st century Garni Temple, built by the Armenian King Tiridates and dedicated to Mithra, the God of the Sun. Travel northeast of Garni, higher up the gorge of the Azat River, where there is a magnificent Geghard monastery. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is partly carved out of a mountain and surrounded by cliffs. In the afternoon, drive to the capital city of Armenia, Yerevan.
After breakfast, become familiar with the streets of Yerevan on a guided city tour. Established in 782 BC, Armenia’s capital is one of the oldest cities in the world. Nowadays it’s a lively city, where ancient culture is mixed with a modern lifestyle. Visit the Matenadaran, a depository of ancient manuscripts that contains historical documents from all over Europe and Asia. The building also holds the first copy of the Bible in Armenian. In the afternoon, depart for Echmiadzin, the spiritual center for all Armenians. The legend goes that the Echmiadzin Cathedral was designated in a vision where Christ came to Earth and struck the plains with a golden hammer. Return to Yerevan with a stop at the ruins of Zvartnots Temple, a stunning example of 7th century Armenian architecture. Return to the capital.
Free at leisure till transfer to airport for flight back to Singapore.
Arrive in Singapore with sweet and fond memories of your Europe Tour with Super-Travels.