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Route description

 

A three-week tour of the Caucasus - three countries and four Russian republics: Armenia, Georgia, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya, Dagestan, Azerbaijan. Excellent cuisine and new wine, traditions of hospitality, ancient fortresses and ultra-modern architecture, unique nature, the Black Sea and mountains - everything will be on this rich, informative auto tour with small radial tracks.

 

 

Route by day

Day 1. Yerevan

Meeting at the airport of Yerevan, transfer to the capital of Armenia, hotel accommodation, walks in the city center. Let's look at the famous Yerevan Cascade, dine in one of the cafes and restaurants famous for their delicious and inexpensive food.

 

Day 2. Holy Etchmiadzin- Zvartnots - Erebuni Fortress - Garni Temple - Geghard

First, we will visit Echmiadzin - the Armenian “Vatican”, where the most important temple of all Armenians, Mayar-Tachar (“Mother Church”) is located, and the museum houses one of the main relics of Christianity - the tip of Longin’s spear, which, according to legend, pierced Jesus Of Christ.

Then we stop by to look at the nearby Zvartnots Temple - the visiting card of Armenia. Further along the program is the ancient fortress of Erebuni. The fortress dates from 782 BC - that is, she is three decades older than Rome. And since the age of Yerevan is considered to be from the moment of construction of Erebuni, it turns out that the capital of Armenia is older than one of the oldest and greatest cities in the world!

And at the end of the day we will go to two more places in the vicinity of Yerevan - the Garni Temple and the “spear monastery” Geghard.

Garni is a unique temple of the pagan god Mithra - the only one in the Caucasus and generally in the territory of the former USSR. Located in a very picturesque place - on a rocky ledge above the gorge of the Azat River, it looks like a greatly reduced copy of the Athenian Parthenon.

Geghard is one of the most popular sights of Armenia and a place of religious pilgrimage. The word “geghard” means “spear” - for a long time the tip of the sacred spear was kept in the monastery with which the Roman centurion Longin pierced Jesus crucified on the cross, saving him from torment (now the spear is in Etchmiadzin). The complex is partially located in caves - the monastery’s churches form a single space with them.

For the night we return to the hotel of Yerevan.

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Day 3. Khor Virab - Areni - Noravank - Jermuk

Breakfast and departure to the route. After driving 40 km. along the highway, we will make a stop near the ancient Armenian monastery Khor Virap, located on the border with Turkey. Immediately behind the walls of the monastery there is a barbed wire and a control and track strip separating the two countries from each other, and against the background rises Mount Ararat - the historical symbol of Armenia, now it is in Turkey.

We will continue the movement and for about an hour, make a stop in the village of Areni - the center of Armenian winemaking. Here you can visit the Areninsky winery and one or two family wineries to taste wine and have lunch at the same time.

Another 10 kilometers along a stunningly scenic road, laid among the red rocks from an excess of iron, and we will find ourselves in the Noravank monastery complex - one of the most spectacular sights of Armenia.

Well, we’ll finish this busy day by driving another 70 kilometers in the town of Jermuk, one of the best resorts in the Caucasus. Here, in addition to many healing mineral springs (the word Jermuk itself is translated as “hot spring”), there is almost always beautiful clear weather, there are no fogs in spring and autumn, winds are not snowy and winters are exceptionally clean. The rest of the day until the evening we will enjoy all the amenities of the resort: hot springs, spa and massage - just take a short break in the rich program, rest and relax.

Day 4. Jermuk - Lake Kari

In the morning we leave on the highway and in an hour and a half we reach the shores of high-altitude Lake Sevan, along the coast of which we will drive for about another hour. We’ll make a couple of stops near a couple of old churches, picturesquely standing on the shore of the lake, as well as stop at the Khachkars cemetery in Noratus. Khachkar - a type of Armenian architectural monuments and shrines, which is a stone stele with a carved image of a cross, in 2010 the art of creating khachkars was included in the representative list of UNESCO on the intangible cultural heritage of mankind.

We will make a stop in the village of Ostrov to admire the Sevanovank church, located in a very picturesque place, as well as try the famous Sevan trout, grilled in a local cafe.

After that we drive 120 km. roads and get into the Aragatsky alpine sanctuary, where, at an altitude of about 3,000 meters above sea level, we will stop for the night in a guest house on the shores of Lake Kari.

It was in these places that a powerful ancient civilization was born (II-X millennia BC), the direct descendants of which are Armenians, Georgians and Persians, and the height of the peak Aragats, according to scientists, to a powerful volcanic explosion, which occurred about 12-20 thousand years BC, approaching 8 thousandth altitude .... However, the energy of the eight-thousanders has been completely preserved on this mountain to this day.

 

Day 5. Mount Aragats - Gyumri

An early climb, lightly we climb to the top of the highest mountain of modern Armenia - Aragats (4090 m.). Climbing is technically not difficult and does not require special equipment other than trekking boots and appropriate clothing. The difference in height will be only about 800 meters.

First we go up to the Southern peak (3880 m.), Where wonderful views open up and strong energy reigns, then through the saddle between the southern and western peaks we go down to Aragats crater, from where an even more interesting view of all its 4 peaks comes from. And then we climb to the western peak of Aragats (4070 m.).

Having got down, we get into the car and drive to the city of Gyumri, where we stay for the night in a hotel or guest house.

Day 6. Vardzia Cave city - Akhaltsikhe - Rabati Castle - Borjomi

In the morning we will briefly examine the center of the city - the second largest in Armenia, where to this day there is evidence of a terrible earthquake that occurred here in 1988, and then we will go to the border with Georgia.

We cross the border and go to the cave city of Vardzia - a unique cave complex consisting of 13 floors and stretching for more than a kilometer!

After exploring the city, we will move to the town of Akhaltsikhe, where we will stay overnight at the hotel, and spend the time remaining until night to inspect the ancient Rabat fortress and the old synagogue, and then we will reach the city of Borjomi, where we will stop for the night.

 

Day 7. Borjomi - Kutaisi

The city of Borjomi is famous for its healing waters, here is the famous boleological resort, known far beyond the borders of Georgia. In the morning we will make a short trek along the picturesque gorge to the springs, where you can take baths with hot mineral water for free, then climb the mountain, which overlooks the Borjomi valley, dine at a local cafe with excellent Georgian cuisine, and then drive by car to the city of Kutaisi.

Kutaisi is a very colorful Georgian city, almost untouched by modern trends in architecture and culture - such as it was decades and, in places, even centuries ago. Walking around its center is a special pleasure. Here you can meet flour mills carrying bags of flour and posing for visiting tourists with pleasure, bargaining at the market with fruit sellers, sitting on a bench and just watching the life of local residents. Also of interest is the ancient Bagrat temple, which we will definitely visit. Here, in the city, we will stop for the night in a hotel.

Day 8. Kutaisi - Mestia

In the morning we will overcome about 200 km by car, picturesque mountain roads and for dinner we will find ourselves in the town of Mestia - the capital of the Svaneti region. This is a historical mountainous region in the north-west of Georgia, inhabited by Svans - severe inhabitants of the mountains. Earlier a blood feud was raging here, in memory of these times in many settlements of Svaneti there were once inhabited towers where families, as in a fortress, were hiding from the revenge of their fellow tribesmen.

Upon arrival, we will settle in a guest house, and devote the rest of the day to exploring the picturesque surroundings and Svan towers.

 

Days 9 -10. Track to Mount Ushba

Early in the morning we fall off to the track to the foot of Mount Ushba - the pearl of the Caucasus Mountains. On the way, we will see the beautiful mountain lake Koruldi, go to the point of panoramic view of the Greater Caucasus Range, and also reach the point of view of Mount Ushba. We spend the night in tents on the route. The total mileage of the track will be approximately 35 km. Upon returning from the track on the 11th day, we get into the car and drive along the mountain road to the village of Chazhani. where to stay for the night in a guest house.

 

Day 11. Track in the vicinity of the village of Chazhani

In the morning we will go on a one-day trek through the most beautiful surroundings of the region. Having walked about 25 kilometers that day, we will see a lot of amazing views and climb Mount Chubudishi (3015 m.), From where a breathtaking view of the Great Caucasus Range also opens.

Day 12. Chazhani - Uplistsikhe - Gori

Today we will drive more than walk - it is necessary to get out of the mountainous region to the "mainland", at the same time rest from the physical load of the previous three days.

After driving 330 km. mountain roads, we find ourselves in the cave city of Uplistsikhe. It is somewhat similar to the cave city of Vardzia, but it is different and much smaller. Here we will stretch our legs for about an hour, and then we will reach the city of Gori, where we will stop for the night and take a little walk around the city before going to bed. There is an old fortress and a museum of Stalin.

 

Day 13. Mtskheta - Tbilisi

In the morning, having traveled about 65 kilometers, we will find ourselves in Mtskheta. It is a small, but oldest town in Georgia! Therefore, in the morning we will devote several hours to sightseeing. Here are the remains of the fortified residences of the Armaz Fortress (Armaztsikhe), city blocks, as well as the complex of Samtavro Monastery (the main temple of the 11th century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Near Mtskheta, on the high bank above the confluence of the Kura and Aragvi rivers, there is one of the oldest monastery of the 6th century in the country. The cultural monuments of the region are under the protection of UNESCO and belong to the world heritage.

Then we get in the car and in half an hour we will already be in Tbilisi - the capital of Georgia, an old and very interesting city, the inspection of which will be devoted to the rest of this day.

And we will pick up a hotel in the old city, near the Narikala fortress, from where a beautiful view of the whole city opens.

From the fortress we will begin the inspection, and then we will move to the Sulfur baths, which are interesting both as an object of architecture and an object for rest and relaxation. Baths were erected on the site of ancient sulfur springs discovered during the reign of King Vakhtang I, the founder of Tbilisi. Water in the baths is supplied directly from the ground. The buildings were built of red brick and crowned with round domes with windows through which ventilation is carried out, and inside the bathhouse they are tiled with tiles.

 

 

 

Day 14. Tbilisi - Mount Kazbek - Vladikavkaz

In the morning we can take a little walk around Tbilisi, and then we are going towards the border with Russia. On the way, we will stop for a short time near Ananuri Castle on the picturesque shore of the Zhinvali reservoir, and then we will drive to Gergeti, where we will make a short track to the observation platform, from where a view of Mount Kazbek and a small church against the backdrop of the mountains opens - impressive views.

Later in the evening we cross the border with Russia. And by night we will arrive in the city of Vladikavkaz - the capital of the Russian Republic of North Ossetia, where we will stay for the night in a hotel.

 

Day 15. Karmadon Gorge - Magas - Grozny

After the warm and very hospitable Georgians, the inhabitants of North Ossetia will seem stern and not very hospitable to you. This is a misleading impression - no less cordiality and hospitality is hidden behind the external severity of the Ossetians, it’s just not so open and pronounced than their southern neighbors. But the city of Vladikavkaz is not of particular interest to tourists, so we will confine ourselves to a cursory inspection of its very center and go to nature, which in North Ossetia is very beautiful and sometimes even unique.

Upon reaching the village of Karmadon, leave the car and make a rather long track along the Karmadon Gorge along the Genaldon River with access to the surface of geothermal springs. If we have enough strength and desire, we will reach the Kolka glacier (9.5 km one way), from where views of Mount Kazbek and other mountains of the Caucasus Range open. Views enchanting with its special Caucasian beauty.

We return to the car and make a 150-kilometer transfer to the city of Grozny, the capital of the Chechen Republic, where, closer to night, we will stop at a local hotel. And on the way, if time permits, we will drive into the city of Magas, the capital of the smallest subject of the Russian Federation of the Republic of Ingushetia. Here we will be interested in only one thing, but very interesting - the Museum of Concord Tower - a copy of the medieval battle tower, enlarged four times. Here you can get acquainted with the culture and life of the Ingush people, as well as walk along the glass observation deck at an altitude of 80 meters, from where a view of the whole city opens.

Day 16. Grozny - Sulak Canyon

We look at Grozny for half a day - a modern and beautiful city in its own way. In the 90s of the last century, the city center was almost completely destroyed by the war, and then rebuilt. Today, it impresses tourists with the grandeur and scale of its modern architectural masterpieces, cleanliness and grooming.

Then we get into the car and drive to Dagestan. Since the capital of Dagestan, the city of Makhachkala, is not of interest to tourists, we will not go to it, but will turn off the highway without reaching this city and go straight to the mountain Dagestan. The first point will be the Sulak Canyon - the deepest canyon of Europe and one of the deepest in the world, and at the same time the brightest, most exciting landmark of Dagestan. Here we will meet the sunset, and for the night we will go to the city nearest to the canyon - Buinaksk.

 

Day 17. Mountain Dagestan

Early rise and we continue to study the mountain of Dagestan. Today, four unique and breathtaking sights await us.

The first is the village of Goor. The road here is a steep mountain serpentine, but the views of the medieval towers standing on steep cliffs are very impressive!

Next, we go to the village of Salta, where we will see the Salta underground (!) Waterfall.

The third place today is the city of Gunib with a beautiful Gunib fortress over a cliff and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. “Whoever was not in Gunib was not in Dagestan,” the local saying goes.

Then we will make a move and a small walk to the Gamsutl ghost village. The once lively aul, in which there was a school and a house of culture, was empty by the end of the last century and today is a colorful and well-preserved monument of Caucasian mountain architecture.

For the night we will stop in the ethno-house of the nearby village of Sogratl, where you can not just spend the night. And immerse yourself in the culture and life of the Avars - the people living in this region.

 

Day 18. Derbent

We make a rather long, taking into account the specifics of mountain roads (about 190 km.) Moving to the city of Derbent. The first mention of the city dates back to the 4th millennium BC (!), The ancient name of the city is the Caspian Gate. There is something to see here, which we will do before the end of this day.

Day 19. Baku

We are going to Azerbaijan. We cross the border of Russia and Azerbaijan and by lunchtime or a little later we find ourselves in the city of Baku - the capital of this country. Upon arrival, we check into a hotel and start exploring this large and very interesting city, like Tbilisi, which harmoniously combines antiquities and ultra-modern trends in architecture and culture.

 

Day 20. Baku

Shirvanshahs Palace, Maiden’s Tower, Shemakha’s Gate, Icheri Sheher baths, Seaside Boulevard, Little Venice, upland park, flame towers, fountain square, Heydar Aliyev’s cultural center - these are just a few of the sights of Baku that are worth visiting and we will try to do it!

 

Day 21. Fly home

Transfer to the airport and flight home. Goodbye Caucasus!

 

 

Route map:

 

 

Guide Evgeny Androsov:

 

 

Trip info

Cost

USD 2495 per person

 

What is included in the price

  • driving in a comfortable car all the days of the route,
  • travel on toll roads, bridges, tunnels, paid parking lots,
  • Accommodation in comfortable hotels, cottages or guest houses for all nights of the tour,
  • the work of a guide-instructor all days of travel, 24 hours a day,

What is NOT included

  • air tickets to Yerevan and from Baku,
  • food,
  • medical insurance,
  • the use of cable cars, entrance to museums, parks and other tourist facilities,
  • consular fee and other expenses for obtaining a visa,
  • souvenirs and other personal expenses of participants,
  • other expenses not indicated in the section “included in the price”

 

What is the difficulty of the trip? Will I be able to withstand these loads? What are the limitations?

The tour is absolutely comfortable and does not present any difficulty in terms of physical activity. However, due to long journeys, the tour is not recommended for people with spinal diseases.

How to participate

  1. If you are interested in this tour, leave a request through the form below or call on these phones, I'm Evgeny Androsov or my assistants tell details about the route and will answer all your questions.
  2. To book a place, a prepayment of 30% of the tour cost before it starts if more than 45 days, and 50% of the cost, if, prior to the start of at least 45 days. Prepayment is returnable in 45 days or more prior to the tour irretrievable and, unfortunately, less than 45 days before the start of a tour if the return is linked to your refusal to participate (for whatever reason). If the hike / tour will not take place due to our fault, because not form a group or force majeure, the advance payment, you will be guaranteed to be returned in any case.
  3. If you change your mind / lose the opportunity to participate in the campaign, please let us know as soon as possible. The transport and food for the whole trek procured, calculated and allocated based on each party's campaign.

Unfortunately, all the places on this tour are already taken.
but you can send a preliminary application for 2021 and subsequent years:

 

 

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