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Tours - Biblical Mount Ararat - Khor Virap-Noravank-Yeghegnadzor-Selim carvansara-Hayrivank-Ltchashen

Artashat is one of the ancient capital cities of Armenia during the II-V B.C. It was situated in the Armenian Vostan Gavar of the Region of Ararat and at the junction of the Yeraskh and the Metzamor Rivers on the hills of Khor Virap and its surrounding (10 km to the north-west of the nowaday Artashat in Ararat Region). In this area one can notice the walls of the ancient city and ruins of some buildings. Artashat was built in the place of Urartu Habitat. It was built during the reign of Artashes I. when urban life was developing. Artashat was the world's main center of commerce. The transit trade route from the Far East to the Mediterranan Sea passed through this city enabling trade of Chinese silk and other goods.

Khor virap is situated in Ararat marz. In the place of the nowadays monastry-castle once there was a royal prison. Virap was a deep opening with poisonous snakes and insects, where the accused were kept. The legend said that the pagan king Trdat had sent Saint Gregor the Illuminator to prison because he had been propagating Christianity. The cave where St. Gregor was imprisoned later was known as Khor Virap. It is a 4th century complex viewing Biblical Mt. Ararat. The monastry of Khor Virap had served as an educational center. In the XIII century it had a church school with 40 pupils. It is one of the well known tourist sites of Armenia.

Noravank is a 13th century monastery, located 122 km from Yerevan in a narrow gorge made by the Darichay river nearby the city of Yeghegnadzor Armenia. The gorge is known for its tall, sheer, brick-red cliffs, directly across from the monastery. The monastery is best known for its two-storey S. Astvatsatsin church, which grants access to the second floor by way of narrow stones jutting out from the face of building. The architect Siranes and the remarkable miniature painter and sculptor Momik worked here in the latter part of the thirteenth and early fourteenth century. The complex was renovated in the late 1990s and early 2000s under the sponsorship of Mr. & Mrs. Hadjetian. The monastery is sometimes called Amaghu-Noravank, Amaghu being the name of a small recently destroyed village above the canyon, in order to distinguish it from Bgheno-Noravank Monastery, near Goris. In the 13th–14th centuries the monastery became a residence of Syunik’s bishops and, consequently. a major religious and, later, cultural center of Armenia closely connected with many of the local seats of learning, especially with Gladzor's famed university and library.

Selim carvansara is situated in Yeghegnadzor region, in the Soulema mountain pass, on Yeghegnadzor-Martuni motorway. It was built of huge basalt stones, by lord Chesar Orbelyan's sponsorship, in 1332. It's a triangle hall rested on 16 square shape pillars, which are connected by archs. A stone pool is preserved inside the hall which was carved of a huge piece of stone. The light falls into the hall through narrow garret windows. The roof of the building is covered with fitted and polished big stones. In 1957-1958 carvansara was fully reconstructed. It is a unique civil building of Medieval Armenia and has an importanat historical and cultural value.
Hayravank Monastery is a 9th century Armenian monastery located near the village of Hayravank along the southwest shore of Lake Sevan in the Gegharkunik of Armenia.
Hayravank has a quatrefoil cruciform central-plan with four semi-circular apses that intersect to create a space for the drum and dome to stand above. The drum and dome at one point had collapsed completely, but were later restored.
To the northwest a short distance from the monastery, are the remains of Bronze Age through medieval fortification walls and foundations of a settlement. Nearby are also two Iron Age tombs.

Ltchashen is a habitation of Armenia and Old East. The excavations done in the village has proved that the history of Ltchashen as an ancient habitation started from 4the century B.C. and in the second half of 3rd century it was reconstructed as a fortress. The village is a real open air museum. It is a habitation created before the Urartu period and surrounded with Ciclopian stone wall. The facts certify that agriculture, cattle raizing, pottery, smelting, wood carving, gunsmithing, jeweller’s art and other arts were developed. Medieval sanctuaries were preserved in the village such as St. Hripsime church (VII c.) which was reconstructed in XIX c. and now it is partly destroyed. Ltchashen is the biggest village of Sevan region and is among the first ten biggest villages of Armenia.

*An opportunity to take part in excavations

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