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Tolma Festival Tour

Country: Armenia
City: Yerevan
Duration: 8 Day(s) - 7 Night(s)
Tour Category: Culinary Tour
Departure Date: Thu 01 Jan '99

Package Itinerary

Tolma Festival

Armenian cuisine includes the foods and cooking techniques of the Armenian people. The preparation of meat, fish, and vegetable dishes in an Armenian kitchen requires stuffing, frothing, and pureeing. Lamb, eggplant, yogurt, and flatbread or lavash are basic features of Armenian cuisine. Armenians use cracked wheat (burghul) in preference to the maize and rice popular among their Caucasian neighbors.

One of the main dishes of the Armenian traditional table is “Tolma”. Primarily it was made of grape leaves and was called “Udul”. The name derives from the Urartian word Udul which means the leaf of grape.

Celebrating on the 11th of July

Day 1: Arrival

Arrive at Zvartnots airport. Meet and greet transfer, accommodation at the hotel. Rest.

Day 2: Yerevan City tour

In the morning meet your tour director and start a city tour around Yerevan. The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC. A little part of the capital city's 3,000-year history has survived: Central Yerevan was once dominated by huge Soviet-style buildings, but now, due to the nowadays active constructions, many modern-style buildings appear and are going to appear.

In the second half of the day, your main attractions will be the Armenian History Museum, where the important archaeological collections from Stone Age through Medieval periods are dark and almost unlabeled, but should not be missed, and Tsitsernakaberd memorial park and museum dedicated to the victims of the Genocide 1915. Overnight in Yerevan.

Day 3: Yerevan / Khor Virap / Noravank / Yerevan

Breakfast at the hotel. Start tour to Khor-Virap monastery 4- 17th cc. is situated in the Ararat valley against the biblical AraratMountain was Noah's arch cast anchor. The importance of it is connected with Gregory the Illuminator, who introduced Christianity to Armenia and is considered to be the first Armenian catholicos. Here you will also have an opportunity to take a lit candle from the pit like His holiness Paul II did while his visit to KhorVirap. Continue the tour to Noravank monastery - a great religious and cultural center of 12th c.

On the way visit the Areni wine factory to taste local wine made from special sorts of vines. Noravank (“New Monastery”) is 122 km away from Yerevan and is located in an inaccessible location throughout the stunning nature. Possibility to have lunch in a local cave cafe. Drive back to the capital city. Overnight in Yerevan.

Day 4: Yerevan / Sardarapat / Echmiadzin / Zvartnots / Yerevan

After breakfast drive to Sardarapat. Participate at the Feast of Tolma. Drive to Echmiadzin which is a mere 20 km from Yerevan. On the way visit St Hripsime church which is considered to be one of the 7 wonders of Armenia. Etchmiadzin Cathedral is known as the center of the Armenian - GregorianChurch and appears to be one of the world's first Christian churches. Legend has it that it was here that Jesus Christ descended from heaven to show where he wanted a church built. So Echmiadzin means “The only-begotten descended”.

The Church was built between the years 301 - 303 AD under the Armenian king Tiridates III and the first Armenian Catholicos, St. Gregory the Illuminator. Return to Yerevan with a stop at the ruins of Zvartnots temple - the pearl of the 7th c. architecture is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage. Overnight in Yerevan.

Participate at the Feast of Tolma.

· There are represented different types of Tolma made by representatives of different villages and regions.

· There are participating the leading Armenian restaurants and individuals from Yerevan and regions as well, from each of which makes his/her own variant of traditional Tolma with a unique recipe

Day 5: Yerevan / Sevan / Dilijan / Goshavank / Yerevan

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to LakeSevan. About 70 miles north of Yerevan sits LakeSevan the second largest alpine in the world. This huge mountain lake which takes up to 5% of Armenia's surface area is about 2,000 meters above sea level and is the second-highest freshwater lake in the world. The monastery peninsula is the most popular spot and is the closest place to visit as well. Possibility to taste local fish in a restaurant.

Continue to the North of Armenia through the spectacular forested region of Dilijan, where you can walk through a museum street, with the buildings preserved from 19 c. with the ceramics workshop and woodcarvers’ studio. Drive to Goshavank monastery of the 13th century. and take the chance to see one of the most beautiful Armenian cross-stones. Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight in Yerevan.

Day 6: Yerevan / Ashtarak / Sagmodavank / Yerevan

Breakfast at the hotel. to Ashtarak town – one of the most ancient Armenian cities, to visit the church of Karmravour. It’s one of the smallest pan-Armenian churches but in spite of its size, you can still feel authentic Christianity. It’s also one of those rare churches where some traces of frescos are still seen. Drive to Saghmossavank medieval monastery that is situated in the breathtaking site, at the deep canyon of Ashtarak. Sgmossamvank is translated as “monastery of psalms”.

According to the tradition when the first church of the monastery was built the priests kept reading psalms 40 days long so the monastery was called the monastery of psalms. Return back to Yerevan. Overnight in Yerevan.

Day 7: Yerevan / Mateadaran / Garni / Ghegard / Yerevan

Visit the depositary of ancient manuscripts the Matenadaran which contains historical documents from all over Europe and Asia throughout many centuries. Departure to GarniTemple. It was built in the first century A.D. by the Armenian King Tiridates and it is dedicated to a heathen god, probably to Mithra, the god of the sun whose figure stood in the depth of the sanctuary. Possibility to have lunch at a local house in Garni where you will have the opportunity to watch Armenian national bread “lavash” baking and barbeque making process in the underground stove called “Tonir”. Northeast of Garni, higher up the gorge of the Azat river, there is a magnificent monument of medieval Armenian architecture - Geghard monastery inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list(inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list).

Geghard is another incredible ancient Armenian monastery, partly carved out of a mountain. Return back. Visit the fruit market where local merchants sell fresh and dried fruits and vegetables, spices, and delicacies. Overnight in Yerevan.

Day 8: Departure.

Transfer to the airport. Departure.

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