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Evangelical Lutheran Caucasus Tours in Georgia » Group tours » Themed tours » Pilgrimage tours » Lutherans in Georgia and Armenia
Evangelical Lutheran Caucasus

Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Rustavi – Bolnisi – Yerevan – Echmiadzin – Matenadaran – Garni – Gegard – Gyumri – Akhaltsykhe – Vardzia – Borjomi – Sighnaghi – Bodbe – Tbilisi (8 days, 7 nights)
Day 1: Tbilisi
Arrival to Tbilisi. Meet with the representative of the company. Hotel accommodation.
Excursion in the capital of Georgia. The capital of Georgia is unique. It is located on the several mountain hills, on which the old blocks "creep". Tbilisi – is a beautiful river Kura with its picturesque rocky shores that flows across the whole city. "Old Town" – is the historic center of Tbilisi, that is located at the root of Mtatsminda (Holy Mount) mountain. Almost all of the buildings of the Old Town are historical and cultural sites, this part of the city is round – the – clock full of life, here walk alone or in groups tourists, meet lovers near the Clock Tower. This amusing Tower appeared here recently, built by the Puppet Theatre director Rezo Gabriadze. Here artists exhibit their paintings, artisans offer numerous souvenirs. Basically here are 2-3 storied houses, built of brick and stone that have a particular Tbilisi architecture, distinguished by narrow streets, galleries and carved wooden balconies.Tbilisi is one of the rare places in the world, where can peacefully exist in the Old Town Orthodox Church, catholic cathedral, synagogue and mosque. During the excursion, visit of Metekhi Church (V c.), Narikala fortress (IV c.), Sioni Cathedral (VI-VII c.), Anchiskhati Basilica of St Mary, the oldest surviving church, Synaxis of Saint Truinity of the temple complex of Tsminda Sameba – the main Cathedral of Georgian Orthodox Church.
Visit the Lutheran Church of St. Peter and Paul. Church of Reconciliation. Get familiar with the work of the Lutheran community in Tbilisi. Visit Nursing Homes and participate in other activities.
Walk on Shota Rustaveli Avenue. Dinner. Overnight in Tbilisi hotel.
   
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Day 2: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Tbilisi
Breakfast. Attend church service (if possible). Excursion in ancient capital – Mtskheta – the town-museum, included to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (1010-1029), at the basement of which one of the major Christian relics – Lords Tunic is buried, brought in Georgian by Ellious, Jewish citizen of Mtskheta who witnessed crucifixion. This is the burial place of many Georgian kings too. Visit Samtavro Monastery, where the blackberry bush grows, flowers and fruits whole year round. St. Nino – the enlightener of IV century – lived and preached nearby. Wonderworking icon of Iberian Mother of God, wonderworking icon of St. Nino, grave of St. King Mirian and Queen Nana, hallows of St. Abibos Nekreseli, St. Shio Mgvimeli are located inside. Visit Temple – Monastery Jvari (VI c.). Return to Tbilisi. Dinner. Overnight.
   
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Day 3: Tbilisi – Rustavi – Bolnisi – Yerevan
Breakfast. Departure to Rustavi. Walk through the city. Visit the World Evangelical Lutheran Church. Meet with representatives of the community in Rustavi. Next, transfer to Bolnisi. The city was founded in 1818 under the name Katharinenfeld by 95 German families from Swabia. At that time, the city had a clear linear planning with the main street called Tifliser-Shtrasse. There was the Lutheran church in the center at the south of the intersection. Almost all Germans were deported to Siberia in 1941. The facade of Lutheran church was demolished and rebuilt. It was turned into a sport school. Bypassing around the building you can see the elements of temple architecture. German house is still preserved in some places. One of them is immediately behind the former temple. It looks more Bavarian, though almost broken down.
Crossing Georgian-Armenian border (it takes about 30 minutes – an hour). Change coach and guide. Arrival to Yerevan. Dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
  
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Day 4: Yerevan – Echmiadzin – Matenadaran – Yerevan
Breakfast. Excursion in Yerevan. The capital of Armenia Yerevan - is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is of the same age as Babylon and Rome. Year of the foundation of the city is 782 BC – then king Argishti founded the fortress of Erebuni.  The monument to the victims of the 1915 Genocide is located in the park on the hill of the Tsitsernakaberd. The monument consists of 12 pylons arranged in a circle and bowed slightly to the center. Nearby, the 40 m obelisk in the form of a pointed forked pyramid is located. In 2001, in Yerevan a magnificent temple of Gregory the Illuminator was built to commemorate the 1700th anniversary of Christianity in Armenia. 
Visit Research Institute of Ancient Manuscripts – Matenadaran. Its museum operates unique repository of ancient writings and manuscripts (V-XV c.).
Departure to the ancient capital of Armenia – Vagarshapat (Echmiadzin). Visit religion center and UNESCO world heritage site – Holy Echmiadzin Temple (founded in 303 AD). It occupies 80 thousand square kilometer in the center of the city. There are cathedral Surb Echmiadzin (XVI c.), the residence of Catholicos of all Armenians, the Theological Seminary, Evangelical Church. Surb Echmiadzin Cathedral (XVI c.) was established at the beginning of the IV c., Immediately after the adoption of Christianity by Armenians. According to legend, the place for the construction of the temple was noted to Gregory the Illuminator by Christ.
Next, visit the museum – Treasure of Echmiadzin. The spearhead wounding Jesus Christ is kept in the museum with many other unique relics and artifacts. Return to Yerevan. Dinner in Armenian restaurant. Master-class delivered by chief. Overnight.
      
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Day 5: Yerevan – Garni – Gegard – Yerevan
Breakfast. Departure to the north. Excursion in monastery Gegard carved in the rock (XII-XIII c.). The name "Gegard" means "spear." According to legend, the monastery kept the spear. One of the Roman guards pierced Christ with this spear during the crucifixion. Spearhead is kept in the museum of St. Echmiadzin cathedral. Excursion in the summer residence of Armneian kings – fortress of Garni (III BC-XIII AD) and visit pagan temple of the Sun (I c.) constructed by the king Trdat in 77 AD. Lunch in the local village. Return to Yerevan. Upon request, visit Yerevan cognac factory and degustation of cognac – “Ararat”. Dinner. Overnight.
  
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Day 6: Yerevan - Gyumri – Akhaltsykhe
Breakfast. Departure to the north passing the mountains Aragats (the highest part of Armenia) in Gyurmi. Gyurmi is the second largest city in Armenia. It was the center of Armenian culture at the end of 19 and beginning of 20 century. Walk in the historical part of the city (old Alexandropol) where most buildings are preserved from19 century. Pass border (it takes about one hour.). Change coach and guide. Arrival to recently reconstructed Akhaltsykhe fortress, the motherland of Sharl Aznavur, the ancient center of Catholicism in Georgia. In the complex, together with Orthodox Church of St. Marina, are placed mosque, catholic church and monastery of Benedictine Sisters, synagogue and Armenian Evangelical church. Dinner. Overnight in Akhaltsykhe.
  
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Day 7: Akhaltsykhe – Vardzia – Borjomi – Tbilisi
Breakfast. Visit Vardzia cave monastery complex (XII- XIII c.) – 19 stored rock town. 900 m along the left bank of Kura river, in the plumb wall of the mountain, around 600 buildings are cut out – among them churches, chapels, parrocks, pantries, baths, libraries. There are preserved secret passages, remains of plumbing, and irrigation system. Vardzia – is the site of Golden Age. More than thousands of monks lived there, and when being attacked, 20 thousand of people could find shelter there. Departure to Tbilisi. On the way, stop and taste Borjomi water from the spring. Dinner. Overnight in a hotel in Tbilisi.
  
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Day 8: Tbilisi – Sighnaghi – Bodbe – Tbilisi
Breakfast. Departure to Kakheti region. Visit Bodbe village and the monastery complex of St. George and the grave of St. Nino who brought Christianity to Georgia. There is a famous holy spring. It is said that bathing in the holy waters of this spring heals the sick and makes miserable people happy. Ablution in this spring is linked to the Holy Communion in Georgia.
Excursion in the "town of everlasting love" – Sighnaghi, that is located at the top of the ridge, overlooking Alazani valley. Currently the city is totally reconstructed in its original architectural style. Wine degustation in 300 years old winery of Sighnaghi. The wine is kept underground in clay vessels called Kvevri.
Return to Tbilisi. Dinner in traditional Georgian restaurant. Overnight.
 
Day 9: Tbilisi
Breakfast. Free time. Transfer to the airport. Home return.

 
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