Green Lane, Garni , Geghard
English, Russian, Polish
Training, All mills, Transportation
Air tickets, insurance, alcohol
In Dcoraghbyur village , only 10 km out from Yerevan located quite interesting , important educational and experimental eco center Green Lane. This is first educational experimental center related with organic and sustainable agriculture.
We will visit this place where trainers from center will organize training and some practical courses for us. You will be witnessed with experimental agricultural styles , like permaculture, organic and so on. Than we will go to Garni temple which is 20 km from training center. Almost anyone who comes to Armenia visits Garni, and they think it is the 76 AD temple and Roman style baths. Many learn when they visit that the cyclopic stone walls that surround the royal summer residence and temple are were in fact first laid in the 3rd millennium BC by ancestral Armenians who developed the region into one of the greatest metallurgical and trading powers in Mesopotamia and Asia Minor.
After Garni we will continue to Geghard monastery and village. The monastery of Geghard contains a number of churches and tombs, most of them cut into the rock, which illustrate the very peak of Armenian medieval architecture. The complex of medieval buildings is set into a landscape of great natural beauty, surrounded by towering cliffs at the entrance to the Azat Valley.
After monastery we will visit to family in Geghrd village to see how they bake gata(traditional sweet bread). We will taste the gata, have our dinner there and will be back to Yerevan.
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Areni, Noravank, Eghegis, Smbataberd castle
English , Russian , Polish
In 2007, an Armenian-Irish team decided to do test excavations in the cave site of Areni 1. Two test trenches in the front and rear galleries revealed Chalcolithic Age and Early Bronze Age layers dating back to 5000-4000 BCE. The cave has offered surprising new insights into the origins of modern civilizations, such as evidence of a wine-making enterprise. Archaeologists announced the discovery of the earliest known winery, the Areni-1 winery. The winery, which is over six-thousand years old, contains a wine press, fermentation vats, jars, and cups. Patrick McGovern, a biomolecular anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania, commenting on the importance of the find, said, "The fact that winemaking was already so well developed in 4000 BC suggests that the technology probably goes back much earlier."
But lets see what awaits us.
On our first day we start from Yerevan. We are off to the south, and Areni will be our first stop. Not only first, but also extremely important. As we mentioned before, Areni has centuries of history and tradition in winemaking. This is the very place where the oldest winery in the world was excavated. Today it is still a very active wine producing center for Armenia and the whole Caucasus region. There can't be a good agro tour without tasting and experiencing the wine producing process right in front of your own eyes :) Professional winemakers will make a presentation on wine making for us to give us an insight on their secrets of producing their top-notch wine, rich in aromas.
Wine from this region is usually red, dry, semi-sweet, and sweet. The unique dry climate of the village makes local Areni grapes extremely valuable. This kind of grapes has been cultivated here. It' believed that their taste is way better than in any other village in Armenia. The homeland of Areni grapes is Vayots Dzor region of Armenia, in particular the Areni area. Areni has a shade of dark amber. Thanks to its pleasant, slightly sour and very specific taste, the best wines are made from Areni grapes. Areni is an aborigine sort and in the course of centuries it has been adapted to the dry climate of Vayots Dzor. And finally yes! We will try this legendary wine and about which we have already heard so much, voila!
There is something else we need to mention. Every year a traditional Areni Wine Festival is organized in the village. It is a truly wonderful opportunity to discover Armenia During the festival organizers invite winemakers and connoisseurs of culture and traditions. Within the festival you are given an opportunity to taste the best Armenian wines, fruit, sweets, and cuisine, listen to traditional Armenian music and dance with local dance groups. If you arrive to Armenia during this period, we you will have a chance to participate in this wonderful fest.
After visiting Areni we head to the famous Noravank Monastery. Noravank means New Monastery in Armenian. Built in 13th century, the monastery is a lovely example of the ornate architecture of this period. The site is comprised of three surviving churches, each decorated in intricate designs and religious reliefs. The sculptor of Noravank was a man by the name of Momik, who created the lovely stonework that survived till today. He also carved a number of uniquely Armenian religious monuments known as khachkars (cross-stone), which are usually depicted an image of a cross surmounting a circular symbol. The sculptor is buried in a simple grave at the site.
After contemplating amazing monastery, indulging in its wonderful surroundings, and learning its history from our guide, we will head to Yeghegnadcor , which is a regional center, a small town located on red rocks. We will stay for the night here in a local style house.
Next day a rooster may wake us up, so that we would start our day activities on time :)
We will have our village breakfast made from fresh, local products right at our house. Then Artabuynq village is waiting for us with its cliffs, nice view of the river in the gorge and hospitable people. We will have a chance to witness lavash baking (traditional flat bread), which is a nearly sacral process for Armenians. By the way, lavash has made it into UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage for Armenian culture. It’s not only the bread’s unique role in Armenian cuisine, but also the unusual technique for producing it coupled with the role lavash plays in the community that has influenced the local culture.
You can read about this more here lavash - the preparation meaning and appearance of traditional bread as an expression of culture in Armenia
Not only is the lavash bread an integral part of Armenian cuisine, a household staple that can even be kept up to six months, it also plays a ritual role in Armenian culture. At weddings, the flatbread is placed on the couple’s shoulders as a lucky charm to bring about prosperity and fertility. But its not only the superstition behind the bread that plays a role in the local community, but also the fact that lavash has to be prepared as a group makes it a tool to strengthen family and community ties, where young girls serve the older women as aides in the bread making experience. While the women are in charge of making the bread, the men are charged with building the clay ovens and oval cushions, where these making skills are passed down from father to son traditionally.
After this unique experience, we will head to Smbataberd. Smbataberd is one of the largest and oldest fortresses of Armenia and Syunik. Smbataberd Fortress is situated on top of a mountain, southeast of Artabuynk village. The real name of the fortress is unknown today, but local people call it Smbataberd (Smbat’s fortress), as King Smbat is buried in the village nearby. According to another version, the fortress was named after Smbat, Prince of Syunik. The masonry suggests that the fortress dates back to the 9-10 cc., but its beginnings may possibly go back to as early as the 5th c.