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Nestled between the Middle East, the Black Sea and snowy Russia, the Caucasus region holds a wealth of historical treasure, breathtaking views and warm hospitality from its inhabitants. This tour of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan reminds us that the world still holds much that is unexpected. You just have to know where to look.

Over the course of 14 days, explore a myriad of museums, historical and religious sites, ancient caves with Stone Age inscriptions, remnants of Roman culture and urban architecture next to green and abundant vineyards.

Georgia

Day 1 | Baku | Four Seasons Baku

Dinner

Upon arrival you are met at the airport and assisted through customs before being transferred to your hotel, Four Seasons Baku. Just steps from the old city in the center of Baku, Four Seasons Baku is a luxurious destination in Azerbaijan that will accommodate all travelers. Boasting a classic yet modern design, this grand escape is the perfect place to explore the city and the majesty of the great Caspian Sea.

Enjoy a welcoming dinner with traditional cuisine in an Azerbaijan restaurant, followed by a folklore show in which elegantly dressed performers regale guests with traditional dance and music. Though it is known for fiercely cold winters, the city of Baku is a warm starting place for an adventure through the Caucasus region.

Azerbaijan

Day 2 | Baku | Four Seasons Baku

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

After breakfast embark on a city tour of Baku. Trek into Old Town, otherwise known as “Icheri Sheher,” and get a taste of royal life while exploring the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, one of the most striking examples of medieval palace structures in Azerbaijan dating to the middle of the 15th century. You will also see Maiden’s Tower, an eight-story ancient fortress originally built as a fire beacon, and visit the Juma Mosque. Take time to browse and shop at the antique shops and carpet vendors while in Baku for the day.

Azerbaijan

Day 3 | Baku | Four Seasons Baku

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

After breakfast leave for a tour of the Absheron Peninsula. Traces of the ancient Zoroastrian culture of fire-worship can be found throughout the entire region. In the Surakhany village near Baku visit Ateshgah, commonly called the Temple of Eternal Fire. Zoroastrian pilgrims came from as far as India to worship at this temple. These ancient fires are believed to have given Azerbaijan its name, which is thought by some researchers to mean “the land of fires.”

After lunch visit the well-preserved ancient castles of the Absheron Peninsula, dated from the 12th century and situated farther from Baku. There are several fine medieval castles, in the surrounding towns, all having been built for defense by the Shirvan’s Shahs.

Baku

Day 4 | Baku | Four Seasons Baku

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Embark on a day trip to the Gobustan Reserve, an open-air museum found south of Baku with around 4,000 neolithic rock drawings and inscriptions. Find drawings made in the Stone Age, all reflecting activities like hunting and dancing. Their dances are thought to have been accompanied by the Gaval-Dashy or Tambourine Stone, a rock that has a deep, resonating tone when struck. Retrace the steps of famous Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, as he often frequented this site to study the ancient evidence of Azerbaijan history.

Return to Baku this evening for dinner and prepare to head to Georgia in the morning.

Gobustan

Day 5 | Tbilisi | Marriott Tibilisi Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia and the country’s largest city. After checking in to your hotel, the Marriott Tbilisi, get acquainted with the city on a walking tour, passing through the old quarters and the center, with its famous sulphur springs along the Mtkvari River. Look up and see the examples of Georgian architecture of the houses with balconies and grape vines that line the path to Narikala, the fourth century fort with an exquisite view of the city and surrounding region.

Enjoy dinner at a Georgian Traditional restaurant with folklore show.

Tbilisi

Day 6 | Kazbegi | Rooms Hotel Kazbegi

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

After breakfast check out of your hotel and meet your guide for a drive via Mtscketa to Tbilisi. Mtskheta is the ancient capital of eastern Georgia, where the country’s conversion to Christianity occurred in 337 AD and it is considered one of Georgia’s most important religious centers. Continue your drive to Kazbegi, the only town in the Khevi province, stopping en route to see the Ananuri Fortress. This 13th-century castle was the seat of the Dukes of Aragvi and holds over 600 years of history. Two churches comprise part of the complex, with the larger Church of Assumption boasting elaborate facades, a large carved grapevine cross, and the remnants of stunning frescoes.

Continue to the Rooms Hotel Kazbegi for the evening. Nestled in the remote Georgian landscape, Rooms Hotel Kazbegi is a modern, cozy resort with breathtaking mountainous views and consistently friendly service. The first of its kind in Georgia, this luxurious escape boasts a simple, open design that allows guests to feel right at home. Each of Kazbegi’s 156 rooms and suites are elegant yet simply designed with plush beds, modern decor, and spectacular views of mountain peaks and wild flowers. Accommodations feature all the comforts of home including wireless Internet and satellite television.

Hotel Kazbegi

Day 7 | Kazbegi | Rooms Hotel Kazbegi

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Enjoy breakfast this morning before meeting your guide for a drive to the Gergeti Tsminda Sameba Trinity Church, built in the 14th century and situated nearly 7,000 feet up on the hill. Mingle with sheep under an impossibly blue sky on a hike up to Gergeti Trinity Church, or Tsminda Sameba to the locals, in Kazbegi—the only town in the Khevi province just a few miles from the Russian border. From the church windows, see the paradise view of Mount Kazbek, 5,033 meters high and dotted with glaciers and permafrost.

According to the legend, the titan Prometheus who brought fire to men was chained on Mount Kazbek. Afterwards drive to Sno Gorge, an area rich in natural mineral water springs and dotted with old towers.

Gergeti Tsminda Sameba Trinity Church

Day 8 | Tbilisi | Marriott Tibilisi Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and meet your guide for a drive to the cave city Uplistsikhe. This city was carved out of sandstone in the second century B.C. and populated until well into the 19th century. Houses, temples, streets, and Roman theatres were carved out of the cliffs, and an intact basilica from the year 600 still exists on the site.

Enjoy a scenic drive as you return to Tbilisi. Arrive once more to the Marriott Tbilisi and take time to rest before dinner this evening.

panorama of mountains

Day 9 | Signagi | Kabadoni Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

After breakfast drive to the Kakheti region, Georgia’s famous wine region. Begin with a city tour in Telavi, one of the oldest towns of the Kakheti region. Numerous monuments of historic and archaeological significance are found in the outskirts of the city. After a city tour in this magnificent place, enjoy lunch and wine tasting in Kvareli in a local family home. Alongside your hosts you can bake bread, taste homemade wine and Georgian Chacha (vodka), and can try famous Georgian barbecue called mtsvadi.

Continue to Signagi for the evening. Located in the eastern foothills of the Gombori Range of the Caucasus Mountains, Signagi is one of the smallest towns in the country. Rich in ancient culture, the Caucasus is mentioned in ancient Greek mythology and in the Bible. A large variety of languages and nationalities mingle with the unique mountain landscape to make the Caucasus one of the most breathtaking places on the planet.

Located in the heart of Signagi, Kabadoni is an exclusive boutique hotel bursting with Georgian culture, hospitality, and beauty. The interiors of Kabadoni Hotel feature a mixture of Art Nouveau and ancient Georgian motifs. Rooms are outfitted with modern furniture and accents and boast magnificent views of the Caucasus and Alazani Valley. After checking in to the Kabadoni Hotel, take time to rest before dinner this evening.

Kabadoni Hotel

Day 10 | Tbilisi | Marriott Tibilisi Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Wake this morning for breakfast and meet your guide for a drive to the Monastery of Saint Nino at Bodbe. Originally built in the 9th century, this Georgian Orthodox monastic complex has since been significantly remodeled, especially in the 17th century. The monastery now functions as a nunnery and is one of the major pilgrimage sites in Georgia, as it is the final resting place of Saint Nino, the 4th-century female evangelist of Georgians. Highlights of this tour include visits to the church, bell towers, and the Saint Nino spring, which is said to have healing capabilities for faithful Christians.

After lunch enjoy a wine tasting at Tsinandali, a historic winery in an estate which once belonged to the 19th-century aristocratic poet Alexander Chavchavadze. The Tsinandali garden was renovated in 1887 and organized into a museum in 1947. Discover the great wine-making tradition of eastern Georgia and learn the history behind the powerful family who left a lasting mark on Georgian culture. Return to Tbilisi for your final night in Georgia. During this evening’s dinner you will be treated to special performance from the Georgian National men’s choir ensemble.

Day 11 | Yerevan | Marriott Yerevan Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Enjoy breakfast this morning before checking out of your hotel and meeting your guide for the drive to the Georgia-Armenia border. Arrive at the town of Sadakhlo and cross into the town of Bagratashen. Stop at the monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat, both dating from the tenth century and inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For 300 years Sanahin was an important center of learning, where humanitarian sciences and medicine were taught. Visit the village of Dsegh and the house of renowned Armenian writer Hovhannes Tumanyan. The house is a typical example of an old Armenian village and has been converted to a museum.

Continue on a scenic drive to Yerevan, Armenia’s capital. Home to the majority of the country’s population, Central Armenia is truly the heart of the country. Arrive at your hotel, the Marriott Yerevan, and take time to rest before dinner this evening. Built in the 1950s, Marriott Yerevan is a historic accommodation in Armenia’s capital that boasts culture, luxury, and hospitality. Recently refurbished to its original glory, this luxury hotel is the place to be in Yerevan. The only internationally-managed hotel located on Republic Square, Marriott Yerevan boasts 226 spacious guest rooms, including 11 suites, a lively fitness center and spa, and three outstanding restaurants.

Rooms and suites at Marriott Yerevan are vibrant and welcoming. Elegantly furnished and designed, each accommodation boasts astonishing views of Mount Ararat or Republic Square and features plush beds with down comforters and designer duvets. All of the modern conveniences are provided including high speed Internet access and satellite television. Relax, unwind, and feel right at home in Yerevan.

Armenian village

Day 12 | Yerevan | Marriott Yerevan Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

After breakfast meet your guide and embark for Etchmiadzin, the holy city of Armenia. This is the site of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin complex which is comprised of cathedrals dating from the fourth, seventh, and 17th centuries, all of them included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the afternoon drive to the 17th century Khor Virap monastery, which is famous for its deep dungeon where Saint Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 13 years. Saint Gregory was the first head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and is credited with converting Armenia to Christianity in the year 301, making it the first nation to name Christianity as its official religion. In this historic atmosphere you will enjoy the best view of Mount Ararat over the border with Turkey, where it is said that Noah’s Ark rested after the famous flood.

Make your way back to Yerevan, passing through a picturesque landscape of high rocks. On the way make two stops: the 13th century Noravank Monastery and the ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the seventh century.

Monastery

Day 13 | Yerevan | Marriott Yerevan Hotel

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Take breakfast at the hotel and meet your guide for a drive out of suburbs of Yerevan to start the tour to the miraculous subterranean cave nearly 70 feet deep. It took more than two decades for the Master to build this cave-shrine. This cave is often compared with the Noah’s Ark and considered to be the second ark which is to save the humanity not from flood but from fire.

Continue to Garni Temple, a wonderful piece of Hellenistic architecture and the only surviving pagan temple in Armenia. Afterwards proceed to the magnificent monastic complex of Geghard, which is inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Return to Yerevan with a stop at the open air market art and craft market called Vernissage. In Vernissage you can buy different souvenirs to take a piece of Armenia with you.

Day 14 | Departure

Breakfast

This morning, you will be transferred to the airport in time to check in for your international departing flight. On the journey home contemplate the rich history of the Caucasus region, with the memory of Georgian wine and hearth-baked bread still fresh.

Armenia

For more information about The Grand Caucasus, contact us.

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