Archaeological tour: Pagan Armenia
At first glance Armenia for foreigners appears as a country, which first adopted Christianity as a state religion in 301. Accordingly, all the major tourist destinations and routes cover the historical and architectural monuments, one way or another associated with Christianity - medieval monasteries and churches, some castles, etc. But when we look into this issue deeper, we can see, that during your journey to Armenia one can find even more interesting and little-known places and monuments, which are not included in main tourist routes - pre-Christian culture – pagan temples, Iron Age fortresses, Bronze Age burials and mounds, cave dwellings of prehistoric man-hunters, petroglyphs and mysterious dragon-stones (vishapaqars), Copper Age wineries, rock tombs, sanctuaries, etc. Classic archaelogical tour in Armenia.
Early in the morning we will visit Urartian fortified city Erebuni and archeological museum, which is considered as “Passport” of Armenian capital – with artifacts from other ancient settlements on the territory of Yerevan. Shengavit Settlement – the oldest settlement on the territory of Yerevan, where excavations are still ongoing. After the lunch we will also visit History museum of Armenia. Here we can get acquainted with the history of our country from prehistoric times to the present day.
Not far from Yerevan cave dwellings of prehistoric man located. Lusakert 1 and 2 dating back to the Middle Paleolithic /250000-35000 BC/. Artifacts from Lusakert cave, we already could have seen the day before at the Museum of History. Continuing our way to the North, we will find ourselves in Karashamb cemetery, which dates from the Middle Bronze Age to the Early Stone Age. /2400-900 AD/. Not so far we also can find dilapidated medieval church and the remains of cyclopean fortresses. Then we will be heading to the South-West, where we will have a lunch of national dishes, but before that we will witness how Armenian lavash is made. Lavash is traditional Armenian bread which was recently included to the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. On the territory of Historical and Cultural Museum-reserve Garni we will visit fully restored pagan temple, and an ancient bath with mosaic walls and ruins of the church of the 7th century.
In the morning we will visit Historical and Archaeological Museum-Reserve Metsamor, which is famous of its Copper Age foundries. In the museum we will see exclusive artifacts, the seal of king of Babylon Ulam-Burariasha in the form of a frog made of agate. In the courtyard of the museum we can see the largest collection of stone phalluses - symbols of fertility of the ancient inhabitants of the mountains. Not so far from Metsamor we can find the citadel of Armavir – one of the oldest capitals of Armenia. Few years ago the archeologists excavated Urartian temple on the top of the hill. The ruins of Urartian city Argishtikhinili also located on the hills near the citadel, dating back to 776 AD. After lunch we will visit Sardarapat Ethnographic Museum, where one of the richest collections in Armenia is being kept. On the territory of the museum we can also find mystical stone-dragons, brought here from Armenian highlands.
Our first stop will be at archaeological complex Agarak. Here we can find the sanctuary of the Bronze Age, a winepress, the only Urartian rock-cut tomb on the territory of Armenia. A little later we will reach Shamiram and will visit ruins of settlements, surrounded by three layers of fortification wall. On our way we also will not miss one of the biggest temples of medieval Armenia – Haruch, and afterwards we'll visit caravanserai, which was restored recently. After lunch we will reach Kaqavadzor village, where yet not excavated settlement is located – with the remains of a pagan temple and rock carvings. And finally we will get to Oshakan, where we will visit Urartu temple on the top of Didikond hill, as well as the medieval church and the tomb of the creator of the Armenian alphabet Mesrop Mashtots. On the way back we will pass through the medieval bridge on the river Kasakh.
Early in the morning we will drive to high mountain lake Sevan. Our mission is to explore archeological monuments on the Southern shore of the lake. First we will visit Lchashen, where we will find royal tombs, which had been excavated in the 1950s, after the water level in the lake decreased by 20 meters. We also will visit Bronze Age fortress and cuneiform on stone of Urartu king Argishti the First. Continuing our journey South-East, we'll see the 3000 years old fortress Berdkunk. Then we will be heading to Odzaberd – so called Snake Fortress, where Urartu king Rusa the First petroglyph preserved. Afterwards we will visit Vayots Dzor Province. On the road through the Vardenis pass we will have a chance to see 1000 years old petroglyphs, and also medieval caravanserai, which stands on Armenian part of the Great Silk Road. Overnight at the hotel in the village Hermon.
In the morning we will rise on Muradsar Mount, where we will find one of the biggest concentration of petroglyphs in Armenia. Afterwards we will visit Birds cave, where the oldest shoe in history was found and the brain remains of ancient man. But the most interesting thing in the cave is a winery complex of Late Stone Age, yet the oldest in the region. One night stand in Sisian.
In the morning we will visit Karahunj – Zorats Karer. This place according to some physicists and astronomers, is considered to be the oldest observatory in the world. Archaeologists inclined to believe that this is the sanctuary and tomb field of the Bronze Age. Afterwards we will go to Ukhtasar on SUVs, where on the shores of mountain lakes we will see hundreds of stones with prehistoric petroglyphs. After lunch we will return to Yerevan.
Sightseeing tour through Yerevan. Time for shopping. Transfer to the airport.
Individual tour by request
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*Prices refer to one person -
according to specified number of pax.
The price includes:
- All the transfers on a comfortable vehicle;
- English speaking guide;
- Tour program, tour-map of Armenia,
- Drinking water in a vehicle,
- Around-the-clock phone support,
The tour price does not include:
- Picnic during the tour. Optionally, one can order a lunchbox,
- The schedule and route of individual tours can be edited according to your wishes,
- Tour can be started from any place you prefer in Yerevan,
- The tour is free for children under 5,
- 50% discount for children from 6 to 10 years
- This publication is intellectual property of Barev Armenia tour operator. Full or partial copying of material entails a violation of copyright.