YEREVAN - CHURCHS SAINT GAYANE AND HRIPSIME - ETCHMIADZIN CATHEDRAL - ZWARDNOC-KHOR VIRAB - YEREVAN

ETCHMIADZIN CATHEDRAL. Although there are various historical landmarks in Armenia, the oldest and most well-known is probably the Biblical Mount Ararat. This is why our tour promises a spectacular view from the closest spot possible. Whilst travelling to Armenia, you may just be interested in seeing the world’s first Christian Cathedral church. Echmiadzin is considered to be the spiritual center of all Armenians all over the world! The word itself means a place where “the only begotten son of the God descended”.

You will visit the Church of Saint. Hripsime, which was built on the sepulcher of a Christian nun Hripsime who fled from the Roman Empire and was killed in Armenia. This amazing building has stood upright from the day of its construction since 618 A.D, making it one of the oldest standing churches in the world. Five minutes drive away will be our next spot: the 7th century church of St. Gayane. Gayane was the nanny of Hripsime, and shared Hripsime’s tragic fate.

The Church of Saint Gayane is a 7th-century Armenian church in Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), the religious center of Armenia. It is located within walking distance from the Etchmiadzin Cathedral of 301. St. Gayane was built by Catholicos Ezra I in the year 630. Its design has remained unchanged despite partial renovations of the dome and some ceilings in 1652. Gayane was the name of an abbess who was martyred with other nuns by Tiridates III of Armenia in the year 301, and subsequently made a saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

In 2000, Saint Gayane Church was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with historical churches of Vagharshapat.

After this stop, you will be able to observe the world’s first Christian Cathedral-the Holy Echmiadzin, built in 301-304. According to the legend, Jesus Christ descended on the same spot where the Dissention Altar stands today, where Gregory the Illuminator ordered to build the church.

13:00-14:00 Lunch

Cathedral Zvartnots was built at a time when much of Armenia had just recently been occupied by the invasions of Armenia by the early Muslim Arabs who were progressively occupying the Sasanian Persia/Iran of  which Armenia was a part at the time. Construction of the cathedral began in 643 under the guidance of Catholicos Nerses III (nicknamed the Builder). Dedicated to St. Gregory, it was located the place, where a meeting between King Trdat III and Gregory the Illuminator was supposed to have taken place. According to the medieval Armenian historian Movses Kaghankatvatsi, the cathedral was consecrated in 652. Zvartnots remained standing until the end of the 10th century, but historical sources are silent as to the cause of its collapse. A close copy of the cathedral was erected at Ani out by Trdat the Architect under the reign of Gagik I Bagratuni during the final decade of the 10th century. The contemporary Armenian historian Stepanos Taronetsi referred to Zvartnots when describing the church that Gagik I had inaugurated as "a large structure at Vałaršapat [Vagharshapat], dedicated to the same saint that had fallen into ruins.

The Khor Virap monastery is located about an hour’s drive away from the capital Yerevan, and offers an amazing view of Armenia’s defining symbol – the majestic Ararat. “Khor Virap” translates as “deep dungeon”, and was built of the place of the former royal prison, located on the historical site of Artashat. It was this very prison in which they kept Gregory the Illuminator, the first Armenian Catholicos, for a whole 13 years. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this place is one of the most sacred spots for Armenians around the world. Likewise, it’s also the closest point to the Mount Ararat from Armenia; very often this spot becomes the number 1 reason to visit our country!

The duration of the excursion is 6-7 hours

Excursion price

Number of Persons

1

2-3

4-7

8-17

Price (USD) for one person

182

102

67

45

The excursion price does not include:

The tour includes: