Garni Temple, Geghard Monastery and Lavash Baking Day Tour
On this exciting group tour, you visit the most unique attractions of Armenia, including Garni, the only standing pagan temple in Armenia, and Geghard monastery, a complex which is partially carved in a rock. You will have a master class on lavash making, which is a beautiful and common national custom. Your first stop will be at Garni temple, the unique surviving example of pagan culture in Armenia. Towering over a triangular cape, it features an interesting blend of Greco-Roman and Armenian styles. The temple was commissioned by King Trdat I in the 1st century AD and was dedicated to the God of Sun. After the adoption of Christianity in 301 AD, the pagan temple lost its significance, and the fortress of Garni became the royal summer residence. Near the temple, you will see the ruins of the royal palace and baths with stunning mosaic work.
Then, you will head to Geghard monastery, which is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The masterpiece of Armenian architecture from the 13th century, it features churches that are skillfully carved into a huge rock. Initially, the complex was called Ayrivank ("Cave Monastery''), and later it was renamed to Geghard ("Lance") after the lance that was used by a Roman soldier to pierce Jesus's side and was kept in this monastery for many centuries. Due to its architectural structure, Geghardavank has great acoustics and is a perfect location to listen to a church choir performance. As you will walk around, you will note that the complex is rich in subtle sculptural embellishments and features many striking khachkars or cross-stones.
During the last part of the tour, you will learn about the gastronomic icon of Armenia and an integral part of the local cuisine, lavash. It is a traditional soft, thin flatbread that is made in tonir, a special ground oven. The baking process of lavash requires certain skill, and it is commonly undertaken by women. For centuries, lavash has been consumed by all of the classes of Armenian society, and it is valued for the unique taste and the ability to be stored for quite a long period of time without losing its proper qualities. In 2014 "The preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional bread lavash as an expression of Armenian culture" was inscribed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. You will participate in a master class, observing and learning the old techniques of making the flatbread. Afterwards, you will taste the lavash of your own making together with some fresh greens and delicious local cheese.
Highlights: Garni Temple, Geghard Monastery, lavash baking master class.
Departure: Mon, Fri. Includes: a professional multilingual guide, bottled water, pastries, air-conditioned vehicle with Wi-Fi, entrance fees, vehicle and passenger insurance, lavash master class and tasting, transfer from and to Yerevan. Start from the city center. Excludes: hotel drop-off after return to Yerevan, lunch.