Georgia and Armenia – pilgrimage that promises deep spiritual experience

12 days
10-07-2024
Itinerary Conditions for participation and cancellation

Price includes

  • Accommodation in high-standard tourist hotels;
  • Stay in double rooms;
  • Sightseeing according to the itinerary; Transport to and from the airport in Georgia and Armenia;
  • Meals twice a day: breakfasts and dinners.
  • Excluding flight days – meals on these days will be adjusted according to the flight schedule;
  • Travel by air-conditioned coach; Transfers by off-road vehicles;
  • Journeys on cable cars;
  • Scheduled tastings of local wines and regional cuisine specialties;
  • Assistance of a Polish-speaking tour leader; Guidance from local guides in Polish (in Georgia and Armenia);
  • Group medical insurance;
  • Tax fees;
  • Spiritual care;
  • Daily Holy Masses – whenever possible, at selected sanctuaries;

The price does not include

  • Cost of the air ticket Chicago-Tbilisi-Zvartnots-Chicago;
  • Baggage fees according to the carrier;
  • Admission tickets to the visited places listed in the program;
  • Meals other than those mentioned in the program;
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, beverages, alcohol, souvenirs, religious items, Mass intentions, and offerings;
  • Compensation in case of loss or damage to personal belongings, luggage, etc.;
  • Standard tips, cost to be confirmed at the organizational meeting;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Single room surcharge, cost to be confirmed at the office;

GEORGIA-TBILISI-MTSKHETA-GERGETI-SIGHNAGHI-BODBE-NEKRESI-ALAVERDI-KVARELI-ARMENIA-HAGHPAT-TSAKHKADZOR-SEVANAVANK-YEREVAN-GARNI-NORAVANK-GORIS-TATEV-MOUNT ARARAT

Culture and history

Pilgrimage


Itinerary

1.day

USA-GEORGIA

After the meeting at the airport, our pilgrimage will fly to Georgia. Georgia is a South Caucasus country, a former Soviet republic, but above all, for us, it is an Orthodox country that was the second in the world to adopt Christianity as its religion. The majestic Caucasus, valleys full of vineyards, ancient monasteries and churches, vibrant traditions, and extraordinary hospitality – all of this awaits us in Sakartvelo, which is Georgia.

Tbilisi Downtown, Georgia.

 

 

2.day

GEORGIA - TBILISI

Tbilisi is a vibrant city with a rich history and diverse cultural influences. Nestled along the banks of the Kura River, the city combines old-world charm with a mix of architectural styles, including classical, Art Nouveau, and Soviet-era structures. Tbilisi’s historic Old Town features narrow winding streets, ancient churches, and traditional sulfur baths, creating a picturesque atmosphere. The cityscape also boasts modern elements, with contemporary buildings adorned with glass facades and LED lights.

Tbilisi has been shaped by various civilizations, and this cultural amalgamation is evident in its cuisine, traditions, and lively atmosphere. The city is home to landmarks such as the Holy Trinity Cathedral “Sameba” and offers a dynamic blend of past and present for visitors to explore. During dinner, we will experience the customs of the Georgian “supra” – a traditional festive table. The “tamada,” who leads the supra, will raise famous Georgian toasts filled with poetry and eloquence. The supra will also be enriched with performances of traditional Georgian dances.

Ancient arched bridge and Sameba Cathedral in Tbilisi, Georgia
Ancient arched bridge and Sameba Cathedral in Tbilisi, Georgia
3.day

GEORGIA - MTSKHETA - GEORGIAN MILITARY ROAD - STEPANTSMINDA - GERGETI

On that day, we will embark on the so-called Georgian Military Road, also known as Ghalghaï Military Road. It runs for 212 kilometers and follows the traditional route used by invaders and traders throughout the ages. Along the way, we will visit the medieval fortress of Ananuri, perched scenically above the turquoise Zhinvali Reservoir. There, we will learn about the history of the struggles of local nobles, known as eristavis. Further up in the mountains, we will stop at a viewpoint, which also serves as a monument with a mosaic in socialist realist style. Photos from this place always make a splash on social media.

The highest point of our journey will be the Cross Pass (2395 m.a.s.l.), around which unfolds a magnificent view of green slopes and snow-capped peaks of majestic mountains. However, the main goal of this day will be the Gergeti Trinity Church at the foot of Mount Kazbek – we will reach it using reliable off-road vehicles. It is undoubtedly the most recognizable place in Georgia. Photos of the church against the backdrop of the towering mountain decorate guidebook covers and postcards. If the weather allows, we will witness the golden glow of sunlight on the snowy peak of Mount Kazbek.

On the way back, we will visit Mtskheta – the former capital, where in the early 4th century, the Christianization of Georgia began through the efforts of St. Nino from Cappadocia. There, we will enter the cathedral of Sveti Tskhoveli – the holiest place in the country.

A high-angle shot of Ananuri castle in Georgia.

4.day

GEORGIA - DAWID GAREJA MONASTERY - SIGHNAGHI - BODBE

Georgia is known for its excellent wine. Even the word “wine” likely originates from the Georgian language. Throughout the country, these traditions are vibrant and strongly upheld, but the outstanding wine region is Kakheti, specifically the Alazani Valley. It is there that the best grape varieties thrive, and local vineyards export their products to a wide audience worldwide. We couldn’t miss out on visiting this region.

We will journey across the steppe terrain to reach the rock-hewn David Gareja Monastery, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Along the way, we will admire colorful rock formations and almond plantations. We will visit the Bodbe Monastery, where St. Nino from Cappadocia is buried. From there, we will head to Sighnaghi – a town reminiscent of the Italian Tuscany and often called the “City of Love.” Gazing at the Alazani Valley from the high plateau on which the town is situated, we will behold the beauty of this country.

View on Alazani valley and tower of old city wall in city Sighnaghi, Kakheti, Georgia

5.day

GEORGIA - NEKRESI - ALAVERDI - KVARELI

Kakheti is a region full of history and beautiful places. To better appreciate it, we will stay in this region for an additional day. We will visit the Nekresi Monastery, renowned for its heroic defense against Muslim invaders. From the monastery, we will once again gaze upon the Alazani Valley, this time from the opposite side. From there, we will head to Alaverdi, one of the largest monasteries in Georgia. In the vineyards of Kvareli, we will taste wines made from indigenous grape varieties. It will also be an opportunity to purchase Georgian wines before departing for Armenia.

Alaverdi Monastery Complex aerial panoramic view in Kakheti, Georgia
Alaverdi Monastery Complex aerial panoramic view in Kakheti, Georgia
6.day

GEORGIA - ARMENIA - HAGHPAT - GOSHAVANK - TSAKHKADZOR

On that day, we will cross the Georgian-Armenian border. Armenia is a country that, as the first in the world, adopted Christianity in 301 AD. The deeply rooted Christianity will be evident at every aspect. Ancient monasteries and stone crosses (“khachkars”) will accompany us every day of our stay in Hayastan (the name Armenians use for their country).

First, we will visit Haghpat – a medieval monastery listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. We will learn about the history of this vibrant center of theological thought and more. From there, we will head to Goshavank to discover who Mkhitar Gosh was and what contribution he made to Armenian and Polish law.

In the late afternoon, we will reach Tsakhkadzor – a mountain resort in the heart of Armenia.

Haghpat Monastery in the Caucasus mountains, Armenia
Haghpat Monastery in the Caucasus mountains, Armenia
7.day

ARMENIA - SEVANAVANK - HAYRAVANK - NORATUS - YEREVAN

On the peninsula of Lake Sevan lies one of Armenia’s most renowned monasteries –Sevanavank. Known as the “Black Monastery”, it boasts a picturesque location. The site holds a historical narrative entwined with Arab invasions, heroic monks, and the warrior king Ashot the Iron. As we explore the monastery, we’ll surely come to admire the Armenians’ adeptness in selecting sites for erecting sacred structures.

Driving along Lake Sevan, we will also visit the Hayravank Monastery.

Further on, we will explore the Noratus Cemetery, the largest concentration of ancient tapanakars (gravestones) and khachkars (stone crosses) in Armenia. There, we will learn to “read” the symbolism engraved in stones.

From the shores of Sevan, we will head to the capital of the country, the elegant city of Yerevan.

Sevanavank monastery on Sevan lake in Armenia.
Sevanavank monastery on Sevan lake in Armenia.
8.day

ARMENIA - GARNI - GEGHARD

We will head to Garni, a Hellenistic temple from the 1st century AD, a site illustrating the replacement of ancient pagan beliefs with Christianity. Descending to the bottom of the gorge, where the temple is perched, we will witness the so-called “Symphony of Stones” – basalt rock formations resembling organ pipes. Several kilometers further, we will visit Geghard Monastery, a rock-cut complex dating back to the 4th century. Nestled within the complex is a sacred spring, while the monastery, over centuries, served as the guardian of the Spear of Destiny. This site is widely regarded as the ultimate testament to the artistry of ancient Armenian stone masonry.

Panoramic view of the Garni Temple - one of the main travel and sightseeing attractions of Armenia, located near Yerevan
Panoramic view of the Garni Temple – one of the main travel and sightseeing attractions of Armenia, located near Yerevan.
9.day

ARMENIA - KHOR VIRAP - NORAVANK - GORIS

Heading south, we will ascend the hill crowned by the Khor Virap Monastery – a site with historical significance as it once housed a dungeon during the era of the former capital, Artashat. In this underground chamber, the revered St. Gregory the Illuminator was once held captive. It was here that in 301 AD, he baptized King Tiridates, marking the pivotal moment when Armenia became the world’s first Christian nation. Khor Virap is gracefully positioned at the foothills of Mount Ararat.

Continuing our journey south, amid the crimson-hued rock canyons of the Vayots Dzor region, we will encounter the Noravank Monastery.

In that place, we will learn the legend of the sculptor Momik, who fell in love with the daughter of Prince Syunik. From there, we will head to the town of Goris.

Khor Virap with Mount Ararat in background. The Khor Virap is an Armenian monastery located in the Ararat plain in Armenia.
Khor Virap with Mount Ararat in background. The Khor Virap is an Armenian monastery located in the Ararat plain in Armenia.
10.day

ARMENIA - TATEV - ZORAC KARER - YEREVAN

In the morning, we will set out for Tatev to take a ride on the world’s longest cableway, the “Wings of Tatev,” and explore the most significant religious and scientific center of medieval and modern Armenia.

In the Tatev Monastery, we will observe various aspects, including how ancient monks were able to predict earthquakes. We will learn about the history of the Armenian struggle for independence under the leadership of the unwavering national hero, Garegin Nzhdeh. Then, we will head north, stopping at the megalithic tumulus and presumed astronomical observatory of Zorats Karer (“Singing Stones”), also known as the “Armenian Stonehenge”.

Once again, we will approach Mount Ararat before returning to the capital of Armenia, the city of Yerevan.

Tatev Monastery is a 9th-century Armenian Apostolic monastery located on a large basalt plateau near the village of Tatev in the Syunik Province in southeastern Armenia.
Tatev Monastery is a 9th-century Armenian Apostolic monastery located on a large basalt plateau near the village of Tatev in the Syunik Province in southeastern Armenia.
11.day

VAGHARSHAPAT - YEREVAN

On this day, we’ll explore the spiritual capital of the Armenians – the city of Ejmiadzin, home to the seat of the Catholicos of All Armenians and a museum filled with relics. Later, we’ll journey to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, boasting a population of over a million people.

Yerevan, as indicated by archaeological findings and ancient records, predates Rome by 29 years. Despite its ancient roots, the city’s architecture is “only” a century old, shaped by the visionary architect Alexander Tamanyan’s masterful city plan.

We will begin exploring the city with the famous Cascade, from the top of which we will admire the beautiful panorama of Yerevan with Mount Ararat in the background.

We’ll take a leisurely walk by Freedom Square and the Opera building, proceeding along the elegant Northern Avenue until we reach Republic Square. Our journey will also lead us to a poignant chapter in Armenian history as we visit the Armenian Genocide Museum on Tsitsernakaberd Hill, reflecting on the events of 1915. Through understanding the nation’s challenging past, we aim to gain insight into the Armenian mentality.

Yerevan capital city of Armenia

 

12.day

ARMENIA - YEREVAN-USA

Our pilgrimage will depart for the United States from Zvartnots International Airport, situated on the outskirts of Yerevan.

Zvartnots airport in Yerevan
Zvartnots airport in Yerevan

See also:

PERU – Pilgrimage to the tomb of contemporary Polish martyrs in Pariacoto

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Show full itinerary

12 days

The company is not responsible for client’s lost property due to burglary, theft, loss, etc. we are also not responsible for client’s losses in motels. Rek Travel Company reserves the right to change the program, dictated by circumstances beyond its control. The client is obliged to comply with the tour regulations. Tour participants are insured as required by the U.S. Department of Transportation for a total of $5,000,000 (policy available for review upon request). For an additional fee, participants may be insured for in-patient and out-patient treatment of medical conditions acquired during the tour, as well as for accidents at sightseeing facilities (all information at the office).

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