Why should you visit Baku

Baku in the Azerbaijan is a great place to go to. For its small description following can be said. It is located on the shores of the Caspian Sea, on the crossroad of Europe, Asia and Middle East. It is the largest city on the Caspian Sea, 28 m below the sea level and so this is the lowest national capital in the world. Baku is the largest city in the world below sea level. Freestyle wrestling is regarded traditionally as national sport, while Football and chess, the most popular games here. Baku is 21st century city with 2000 year of dynamic history located on the shores of Caspian Sea. The city can be seen in two parts. One is the downtown area and the second is the old inner city. Little over 2 million population, about 25% people in the country of Azerbaijan live in metropolitan area of Baku. Baku in recent times is reaching new heights. The country, culture and people here are amazing and one who travels to this place will realize this immediately. Baku city is the scientific, cultural and industrial center of Azerbaijan. In recent past Baku has become an important venue for international events. It hosted the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in 2012. 28th June of 2015 only was the concluding day of European Games held here. It will host European Grand Prix 2016 and Euro 2020. Baku is known by its nick name ‘City of winds’.

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Reasons why you should visit Baku?

Baku has all the ingredients that makes it a must see place in Azerbaijan. Baku is the most famous region for tourists in entire Caucasus region. Baku is a great mix of cultures because Azerbaijan lies at the cross road of Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Naturally it has gathered influences from all these regions in terms of cuisine, culture, lifestyle etc. Anyone in the first look would observe the fact that Baku is both new and old. You can experience them separately. To explore the old part go to the ancient old city which is surrounded by massive brick walls on all the sides. To enjoy the new part of the Baku you can go to the modern skyline Flame Towers along with various new and urban attractions in this part of the city.

People find Baku as Mini Dubai in terms of tourist attractions around town it has. In the city of Baku you can do many things and options for entertainment are plenty ans the great thing is that the city is expanding. One must walk around the city of Baku to get the real essence of the city. In the old city you will find cobblestone streets, narrow winding alleys, boutique houses and plenty of local stores, cafes and restaurants.  To get the best of New Baku you must go up the Flame towers, the most iconic structure of the Baku. Along with Flame towers you can also see some of the most modern buildings in the region. Take a cable car to get to the base of Flame towers and from there you can go to observatory deck to experience an amazing view.  Other amazing sight in Baku to see is Heydar Aliyev Center museum, a funky modern building.

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Other great places in Baku worth visiting are old town known as Icheri Sheher, Atashgah Fire Temple, National Museum of History of Azerbaijan, Yanar Dagh, Qala, Baku Boulevard, AF Mall and others. Adjacent to the Baku city is Caspian Sea which is a massive lake or an ocean. You can enjoy walking down with numbers of cafes, bars, restaurants, parks here. Your time in Baku is incomplete without tasting local food. Kebab, Salad, flat bread, fresh fruits and vegetables are only some of the Baku cuisine you have to taste when you are in Baku on your Azerbaijan Tour Package.

Palace of the Shirvanshahs

There are many facets why a place can be fascinating for travelers. One of those is surely the age of the place. Places which are really old do attract tourists. And there are some really old places on the planet. One among those is Baku in Azerbaijan. Historians say that history of Baku dates back to 12th century while others say it goes back to 7th century. Well however old may be the history of old city of Baku, it is first place in Azerbaijan to be classified as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000. The old city once used to be the main gate of the city. During the medieval period of Baku, monuments such as the Synyg Gala Minaret, the fortress walls and towers, the Maiden Tower, the Multani Caravanserai and Hajji Gayyib bathhouse, the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, the Bukhara Caravanserai and Gasimbey bathhouse were built. In this article we will explore Palace of Shrivanshahs.

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When you start searching for places to see in Baku, Palace of the Shirvanshahs will be right on top. This attracts attention of visitors landing in the Baku city. The palace is of huge importance in the history of Azerbaijan. Palace of Shrivanshahs is the biggest monument in Baku, Azerbaijan. It is a 15th century palace which was built by Shrivanshahs kingdom who ruled here from 861-1538. Palace of Shrivanshahs is popularly termed by UNESCO as ‘one of the pearls’ of Azerbaijan architecture. The complex contains the main building of the palace, Divanhane, the burial-vaulst, the shah’s mosque with a minaret, Seyid Yahya Bakuvi’s mausoleum, a portal in the east – Murad’s gate, a reservoir and the remnants of the bath-house. The name Shirvanshahs literally means “the kings of Shirvan”. Shirvan was the first capital’s name of the kingdom. But frequent earthquakes happening in Shamakha led the capital to move to Baku and it became new capital. In 1964 the palace was announced as museum and in 2000 this along with Maiden Tower was inscribed into UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

Architecture

The Palace has several parts namely Main building, Divanhane, The Keygubad mosque , The Mausoleum, The Palace Mosque, Seyid Yahya Bakuvi’s mausoleum, a portal in the east – Murad’s gate, a reservoir and the remnants of the bath-house. All these parts showcase the great architectural brilliance of the palace. The two-storey building of the palace numbers about 50 dimensions and outlines of the constructions connected with three narrow winding staircases. Other parts also have significant past and they represent a great aspect of the palace along worth exploring. Why and when were they built and how beautifully they represent the medieval period architecture representing not only Azerbaijan but also Islamic Civilization in other parts of the world in those times.

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You must explore the palace of Shrivanshahs as the palace is a great place to spend some time and go into the past of Azerbaijan. In the palace different sections of the palace offer you enough to explore for their reason why they were built, time when they were built and architecture which will tell you about creative brilliance of those times. You can see it in Divankahan which is a small stone pavilion, The Mausoleum of the Shirvanshahs which is rectangular and crowned with a hexahedral cupola that is decorated from outside with multi-radial stars and The Palace Bath house which is on the lowest terrace of the complex and it was discovered in 1939 and dates to 17th century.

You can take pictures inside the palace and also buy souvenirs as there is a room to grab them. You will get anything from magnets and ‘armudu’ glasses which are traditional pear shaped glasses for tea to official postmarks of Baku European games and city map of Baku. In brief you must spend some time sightseeing at palace of Shrivanshahs when you are in Baku on your Azerbaijan Tour Package.

Trekking and mountain adventure in the Himalayas

Himalaya has been described by thousands of people in different ways yet no one has been able to spell the beauty and mistery of it in words. Those who have not visited Himalayas want to go there at-least once in their lifetime and those who have been there cannot stop wishing to explore more of it. Once Himalayas used to be a place where only braves reached but over the years development of roads and infrastructure has made it possible to access some great parts of Himalayas for many. They are not just Indians, Chinese or Nepalese but people from all parts of the world just love to come and touch the beauty of Himalayas. The existence of Himalayas in India and the topography of various locations give the country the tag of being one of the most fascinating trekking places on the globe. Trekking and mountain adventure in the Himalayas give everyone a chance to gain an insight into the archaic pulchritude of the places along with intriguing flora and fauna of it.

Everest is probably the name everyone knows as this is the highest peak in the world but this is not all. In India alone there are several trekking and mountain adventure peaks of Himalayas which one can explore. Exploration has now become easy as well; however challenges of an unpredictable mountain remain there always. So, let us see some of the treks in Himalayas here:

Zanskar Frozen river trek

This peak is in Ladakh in the Himalayas in the upper regions of Jammu and Kashmir in India. Those who have experienced Zanskar Frozen river peak found everything about it exceptional. The panorama, atmosphere, people, and the frozen river, caves, sledges and ever changing Chadar (ice sheet) everything here is simply magical. For all those who want to have an unimaginable experience must walk on the ice covered river of Zanskar. Trekking here in the Himalayas is absolutely fascinating. The trek is also named as Chadar (blanket) trek.

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Spring water does not allow this icy blanket to completely smothering the river, and so in some places, retains its rapids; which looks awesome in temperature of -25 to –30 degrees. One can trek by shuffling along the ice sheet where they can see it breaking and changing color on the river every few hours. The trek is magnificent and challenging trek sometime, but you do get opportunities to relish ancient Buddhist monasteries and secluded villages nestled in the depths of the deep gorges valley of Trans Zanskar ranges.

Gomukh Tapovan Trek, the sources of Ganges

Ganga is the holy river in India coming from the region of Gomukh in Garhwal in Himalayas in the state of Uttrakhand. Ganga has different names along its path to the planes. Bhagirathi is one name that it has in the upper regions in the mountain. You can take trek along the holy river Bhagirtahi River and reach the source of the river where it is known as ‘Gomukh, Cow’s at the base of the Gangotri Glacier.

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Trekkers camp at Tapovan where you get to experience some of the rarest sites in Himalayas. The view of eight enthralling peaks- Bhagirathi I, II, III, Mt. Shivling, Chaturangi, Meru Parvat, Bhirgupanth and Sudharsan is beyond words. There are other peaks also which provide full view of the Gangotri Glacier. As trekkers you want to gain sight of maximum beauty at one place as you don’t go there every other day. Goumukh Tapovan trek offers you all that and much more. The good things about this trek is that it can be undertaken by novices also who have good health conditions. Camping at Tapovan, a huge meadow for tourists is exciting.

The Lord Curzon Trail Kuari Pass Trek

This is another great trekking in Himalayas in the region of Garhwal. At the height of above 4000 meters this is widely liked among the trekkers in the world. Kuari Pass Trek along the way offers you startling vistas of the snow capped peaks of the Greater Himalayan Range. This is also popularly known as Lord Curzon’s trail. This trek goes through the lush valleys, thick forests and small villages where you can touch the well preserved culture of people living here. When you get to Kuari Pass, you are rewarded with panoramic views of the magnificent peaks of Nanda Devi, Chaukhamba, Kamet, Hathi-Ghodi Parvat and Dronagiri.

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Nanda Devi East BC and Milam Glacier Trek

This is another wonderful trek in Kumaon region in Himalayas. Trekkers can explore the fascinating Nanda Devi East Base Camp and astounding Milam Glacier here. This part of Himalaya in Kumaon is an eye-catching area. This borders to the western end of Nepal and consists of the famous mountain of Nanda Devi at the height of over 7800 m. Many explorers from around the world have been fascinated by this part of Himalaya.

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This trek trails the Gori Ganga ravine to the village of Milam and then goes to the East Base Camp of elating Nanda Devi. This is considered one of the best treks in India. Nearby Nanda Devi along with the adjoining peaks, is a mesmerizing landscape combined with the mesmerizing historical background of the area.

 

Singalila Kanchenjunga Trek

This is probably the best trek as from the Singalila Ridge, you can see a huge vista of peaks stretching for 700 kilometers. Four highest mountains of the world Mt Everest (8850m), Makalu (8481m), Lhotse (8516m) and Kanchenjunga (8585m) are included in this site. The natural beauty here is unparalleled which makes Singalila Kanchenjunga a striking trek. The Singalila Ridge, near Darjeeling, offers outstanding view of Kanchenjunga which is world’s third highest peak.

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From Singalila you can take a long but exciting approach to Goecha-La pass below Mt. Kangchenjunga. On this route, trekkers enjoy the the enchantment of Himalayas upland trekking. Those trekking here are for enticing challenge of the 5000 mts high Goecha-La at the end. The elevation however is more gradual, and you get ample time to familiarize yourself with the climate.

So, these are some amazing trekking and mountain adventure in some great peaks of Himalayas in India. When you are on an India Tour then you must go for trekking in some of these places especially of you are adventure lovers and you have sufficient time in hand to explore these best parts of Himalayas.

Bazaars of Tashkent

Tashkent is the first city where you land on your Uzbekistan Tour Package. Tashkent is not just the capital city but also the larges city in Uzbekistan. Tashkent is hub of Central Asia and the most happening place in Uzbekistan. Tashkent is a charmer for the visitors as the city has best restaurants, museums and lively nightlife in the city. Tashkent is new in part, old in part. One fascinating part of the traditional Tashkent is its crowding bazaars. Talking about Bazaars in Tashkent, you can buy almost anything in the Bazaars here. There is not one, two or three but 20 major Bazaars in Tashkent.  This means you can spend a great day in Tashkent, visiting these Bazaars only. Chorsu Bazaars in one of the most famous bazaars in Tashkent. In this article however, we will see some bazaars of Tashkent along with Chrosu Bazaar.

Alay Bazaar

Alay Bazaar or Oloy market is one of the oldest Bazaars in Tashkent. The bazaar saw trade caravans passing through it over the century to China, India, Europe and Middle East. It played a role of cultural center and social center for locals of Uzbekistan and visitors where people gathered to share and collect news about like in other countries.

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Today the Alay Bazaar is famous for vegetables, fruits, dry fruits, spices and oriental sweets. You can pick Uzbek melons, watermelons, grapes, salt almonds and other fruits from the market. One can also buy beautiful and varieties of jewelries and other souvenir items from Alay Bazzar.

Karavan Bazaar

Karavan Bazaar in Tashkent is mainly for dealers to buy cheapest food in Tashkent. Karavan Bazaar is also the most preferred bazaar in Tashkent for shopping for both locals and travelers. In the bazaar one can buy many things like food, construction equipment, electronic items, machinery, clothing and carpets.  Karavan Bazaar is spread over a huge area and you may need an entire day in this Bazaar only for shopping several items.

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As the quality and variety of items in the market is high, you will surely get spoilt for choices when you reach and roam in the Karavan Bazaar.

Askia Farmer’s Market

If you love the set up of hotchpotch stalls in a market then you must visit Askia Farmer’s market in Tashkent. The market is full of every item one can think of. You will get food, furniture, kitchen appliances, DVD and other things at one place.

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Askia Farmer’s market is close to Babur Recreation Park in Tashkent. You can spend some busy time in the market checking all the stalls which attract the visitors in the market.

Bek Baraka wholesale market

Bek Baraka wholesale market is locally famous as wholesale clothes market in Tashkent. The market is new as it started only in 2011. Bek Baraka wholesale market is located on the outskirts of Tashkent opposite another cloth market known as Chilanzar clothing market and Abu Sahiy market in Tashkent.

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There are 3 pavilions in the Bek Baraka wholesale market. The first pavilion sells food products, second pavilion sells industrial products and third pavilion sells home appliance and consumer goods.

Chorsu Bazaar

This is definitely the most famous and happening Bazaar in Tashkent. The Bazaar is hundreds years old. Chorsu Bazaar is a traditional bazaar with bright colors. Chorsu is biggest and oldest in Uzbekistan and in Central Asia. Located across the street from Chorsu Station of the Tashkent metro near Kukeldosh Madrasah, in chorus all daily necessities are sold.

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Tashkent since oldest time was a trade center where from good came into and out of Tashkent. So a fair was set up where goods came into and went out eastward, westward, southward and northward caravan routes. It was called Chorsu which means crossroad. Since then despite lot of attacks on Tashkent, this oriental bazaar has lived through. Chorsu bazaar like any oriental bazaar has played significant display of social life since beginning. People gathered, talked, shared their lives and so had great times. So chorus bazaar is not just a market place to buy goods but it enjoys great flavor of the orient.

So, these are some famous Bazaars of Tashkent where you can spend a great time for shopping local items which you can take home with you. On your Tashkent tour package or Tashkent holiday package you must take a day out or at-least few hours to visit one of these bazaars if not all of them and if you have time in hand then explore these wonderful oriental bazaars in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in detail.

Narikala Fortress

In the last article you saw aerial tramway in Tbilisi which connects Rike Park or popularly known as European Square with Fortress of Narikala. Narikala Fortress is on the top of the hill and it is quite an ancient fortress. You saw that your journey now by tramway has also become quite splendid and easier as compared to earlier time when the only way to reach Narikala Fortress was by climbing hills.  Once you reach the top of the hill you get to immerse in the great landscape around. On top of it you can explore the beautiful Narikala Fortress for which you took aerial tramway in the first place. What this means is that your travel experience is going to be great when you choose to visit Narikala Fortress on your Tbilisi Tour Package. So, on these notes let us explore Narikala Fortress a bit more.

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Narikala fortress is in Tbilisi, Georgia. Sitting on a hill Narikala fortress is one of the most beautiful and important site among visitors. This ancient fortress overlooks the city of Tbilisi. The fortress belongs to 4th century when it was built to protect the city from external attacks. At night when lights are on, this place is mesmerizing and demands a place in your camera. Though some parts were completely demolished in the earthquakes of 1827 still other walls stand tall and give beautiful view of the city.

So, this ancient fortress played a significant role in the history of Tbilisi which reflects even today when you watch it. This fortress is also called Mother Fortress of Tbilisi. In those times it was a symbol of Tbilisi’s defense. The fortress was established at the same time around when the city of Tbilisi itself was founded in 4th century. After that it saw expansion in 7th -8th centuries by Arabs. Arabs built the Emir’s palace within the walls of the fortress. After that it was further beautified by different kings and most of the exciting fortification happened in 16th and 17th centuries. After the earthquake in 1827 partly the fortress was demolished and it was not resorted to its early glory. It was renovated in 1996 and then it replaced the original church which was built in 13th century which got destroyed in a fire. Today, the Narikala offers you some of the best panoramic views of the city from the top.The internal part of the fortress and the church are also beautiful. You should spend some time watching the internal part of the church which is decorated with the frescos showing scenes both from the Bible and history of Georgia.

Today, your Tbilisi tour is not complete at all without you visiting this beautiful and ancient Narikala Fortress. You cannot leave the city without walking around this amazing fortress as no one does this. Inside the fortress you can observe the history of the city through the walls even though they are not in great shape today. During the day Narikala fortress draws the attention of visitors from all sides of Tbilisi. The fortress overlooks Mtkvari River, which makes Narikala more incredible. Easily, Narikala is one of the most visited places in Tbilisi.

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You are highly advised to take a walk along the Narikala Tourist route, a 1500 meter trail that runs from the top of the ridge near the Mother Georgia statue, around the fortress and down into Old Town to near the entrance to the Botanical Gardens. You can experience some stunning views at every turn and you will be absolutely delighted at night when the city lights shine below. Without a hint of doubt, you must visit this ancient and glorious Narikala Fortress on your Tbilisi Tour Package.

Aerial Tramway, Tbilisi

Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia is a great travel destination. The city is surrounded by mountains on three sides. One major component which decides the time to go to a destination is weather and weather in Tbilisi remains good throughout the year, is quite good news for all the travel lovers. Summers are warm and winters are cold. But what makes Tbilisi special? Well if you don’t know about the place then you might wonder about it. Warm hearted people along with stunning countryside, amazing Tbilisi’s nightlife or may be something else can touch the core of your heart. Tbilisi is unspoiled beauty shaped by rugged mountains. That is around the city and within Tbilisi you will enjoy little streets all over the city. Carrying a camera or clicking with mobile is what you will love to do on the streets of Tbilisi. Having said about these things that you would love about Tbilisi in Georgia on your Tbilisi Tour Package, what are we going to explore in this article? Well, it is quite interesting thing known as Aerial Tramway in Tbilisi. It is brief but great experience to have. Let us see about this more.

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Aerial Tramway is a fast and great experiential way to reach from a place on ground to the top of a hill where a significant travel sight is located. In this regard, Tbilisi aerial tramway connects Rike Park or popularly known as Europe Square to the fortress of Narikala. This aerial cable care smoothens your journey from Rike Park to fortress of Narikala. But apart from smooth experience it offers you great 360 degree view from top. This cable care was built in recent years and was opened in 2012 for public. Before this tramway the only way to get to Narikala was by climbing the hill which might have been troublesome for many. After the aerial tramway, it has become super easy for any one to reach from ground to top of Narikala. This journey in the tramway takes you through Mtkvai River, over the recently renovated rooftops and buildings of Old Town and then Narikala in only 2 minutes. Yes, you read it right. Only 2 minutes. This is little saddening as you experience great view but for just a brief time. However, your focus should be on viewing from top and not on duration. You must also take pictures of cars arriving and departing which you can take from outside the platform.

You may also think of cost when it comes to taking a ride in Aerial Tramway in Tbilisi. But you will be happy to know that riding in the tram here is cheap. One way ride costs you 1 Gel only. You need card which is used here for travelling in the metro because cash is not accepted. So, you should buy a card which you can buy at the Kiosk for 2 Gel only before going for a ride. What about the comfort and safety of cable cars? Well, the cars are quite comfortable, they are all air conditioned and have big, tinted windows which offer you exceptional all round views. For safety there are signs to warn you against standing whilst the car is travelling. On the platform on top also you are discouraged to linger on the platform for safety reasons.

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Three tourist sights at the top of the tramway to explore are fortress of Narikla, the 300 year old botanical garden and Kartlis Deda. So, in simple terms you must take a ride on this aerial tramway when you are on a Tbilisi Tour Package in Georgia and explore not just ancient fortress of Narikala but also go around mountains for hiking as you wish.

Mount Kazbek

Georgia is a country in Eastern Europe and it is a great place for travel. The country is set on the coast of the black sea and lies in the proximity with Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Georgia offers many great things on plater to the visitors and chief among those are great landscapes, high mountain peaks and lush black sea resorts. Also the infrastructure for tourism in the country has improved significantly over the years, which is why the number of tourists visiting the Black sea republic has increased many fold. So, which special attraction of Georgia we are going to explore in this article? We will explore a dormant stratovolcano and one of the highest peaks in Georgia. This is Mount Kazbek.

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Are you game for Mountaineering, hiking and trekking in Georgia? Yes. Then go for Mount Kazbek. Why? One simple reason to excite you is that it is one of the highest and most beautiful mountains of Caucasus. In fact, it is the third highest mountain in Georgia, after Mount Shkhara and Janga and the seventh highest peak in the Caucasus Mountains. The area around Mount Kazbek was designated a nature reserve by the Soviet Government in 1979, and it includes beech forests, sub-alpine forests and alpine meadows. Many of the plants and animals in the reserve are endemic to the Caucasus region. Mount Kazbek comes under the natural beauty category when it comes to must visit places in Georgia. One of the major mountains of Caucasus, Mount Kazak is located in Kazbegi district of Georgia.

Probably no country would be complete without its natural beauty and Georgia is no different. Because Mount Kazbek is one of the highest mountains in Georgia, Climbing and trekking is quite popular among the visitors. Known as mountain of ice, Mount Kazbek is surrounded by nature reserve and also includes beech forests, sub-alpine forests and alpine meadows. It is not difficult to climb Mount Kazbek and the normal route to climbing is mostly glacier walking. Crux part of the walking route is 100 m which is easy ice climbing and thus tourists find climbing here quite easy and enjoyable at the same time. The best known glacier of the Mount Kazbek is Dyevdorak followed by other glaciers as Mna, Denkara, Gergeti, Abano and Chata.

Mount Kazbek is attached to some old stories as well. In this sense the mountain is associated with Georgian Folklore Amirani, the Georgian version of Prometheus (A titan in Greek mythology or best known as the deity in Greek mythology who created mankind) who was punished for having stolen fire from Gods and giving it to mortals. As a result of punishment Amirani was chained on the mountain. This location where he was imprisoned later became the site of an Orthodox hermitage which is located in a cave known as Betlemi. Legends say that this cave has housed many sacred relics.

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So, you can see that Mount Kazbek is quite a happening place for all the travelers from the world. You can walk up the mountain as climbing is easy. You can also enjoy the place for its natural beauty and a fantastic landscape. What is another interesting fact about Mount Kazbek is that it is also an extinct volcano which is appreciated for its conic form with the distinct remains of ancient gigantic crater. The place has got some mythological aspects too which does excite many travelers. All these put together make Mount Kazbek a must visit place when one is on an Tbilisi Tour Package. Come here and carry some beautiful memories with you which you can preserve and pass on to next generation.

Khor Virap

Some places have unique history behind it. They are worth exploring as they carry significant element of historicity and excitement with it. You need to go down the lane in the place itself to experience the uniqueness of the place and the reason for which it is famous for long now. You know that Armenia is full of great historical elements and in this article we are going to see one more such place from Armenia. This is Khor Virap, a monastery located in Ararat plain in Armenia. The monastery is in existence for centuries. This is quite right to say that when you are on your Armenia Tour Packages and exploring some great places there, do include Khor Virap if it is already not there in your itinerary. Why? Let us know together.

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Khor Virap is located on hillock in Pokr Vedi, the village which is 4 KM away from the main highway there. This is just 30 KM from Yerevan, the capital and most happening city of Armenia. What is most interesting thing about Khor Virap is its history. Khor Virap was used as royal prison. Khor Virap is the place where Gregory  Lusavorich was held in a cell for 13 years at the bottom of pit dug into an Armenian hillock. He survived for 13 years because a local woman who was a Christian fed her. Gregory Lusavorich was kept in the cell at the bottom of pit dug into the hill by king Tiridates III who ruled over Armenia. Gregory Lusavorich who was an assistant of the king preached Christianity while king Tiridates followed Pagan religion. The king did not like having an adviser with a different religion. Then he subjected Gregory to severe torture. When king got the news that Gregory’s father was responsible for the murder of king’s father, the king ordered to tie the hands and legs of Gregory and throw him into the dark dungeon of Khor Virap to die. Everyone believed that Gregory died within few days of his imprisonment. But he survived because of local woman feeding him secretly. After 13 years Gregory healed a king Tiridates who had gone mad after a girl and killed many Christians. Then Gregory started preaching the king and his army Christianity. Gregory became the Bishop of Caesarea and remained in service of king until 314 AD. So this is the person for which Khor Virap got recognition in the history.

Now you know why Khor Virap is special. One reason is this is the place where Saint Gregory was imprisoned for 13 years before he cured king Tiridates of a disease. Today, you can go down the steps into the pit where Gregory spend 13 years in dark. This was the reason why the king and Armenia converted into the first official Christian nation in the world in early 3rd century. Another reason is that this is a monastery situated in Ararat Plain in Armenia nearing the border of Turkey. The monastery is surrounded by green pasture lands and vineyards within the Ararat plain and is in view of Mount Ararat. So this beautiful monastery also sits a little hill in otherwise flat Ararat valley. Even today Khor Virap Monastery is a holy site of the Armenian Apostolic Church and stands as an important pilgrimage location which locals often visit for a baptism or after a wedding to perform a “matagh” or “sacrifice”. The natural beauty of the Khor Virap is constituted by the fact that the walled, religious complex stands before the snow-capped flanks of Mount Ararat, and this offers a spectacular view of the mountain and cutting a striking silhouette in and of itself to the every visitor here.

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You can reach Khor Virap from Yerevan by train, bus and taxi. The monastery and surrounding vineyards are worth exploring when you are on your Yerevan tour package.

 

Matenadaran- The museum of Ancient Manuscripts in Yerevan

Armenia is a buzzing travel destination not just in Eurasia but the entire world. Armenia is famous for its rich history with many beautiful and unique museums. Armenia has natural beauty also for the visitors. It offers some spectacular views with the peak of Mount Ararat which dominates the skyline of Armenia. Yerevan, the capital and the largest city of Armenia is the most popular travel destination here. Yerevan is quite a historic city having deep roots of the past and home to some beautiful tourist sites. One of them that we are going to explore in this article is Matenadaran in Yerevan, which is a museum cum research centre. It has huge repository of ancient manuscripts. Matenadaran is a place to visit on your Armenia Tour Package. Why? Let us know that.

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If you are lover of history and the manuscripts then Matenadaran is certainly for you. But if you are not then also you should go there as the museum hosts world’s richest depositories of medieval manuscripts and books covering range of subjects like theology, philosophy, history, medicine, literature, art history and cosmography in Armenian and many other languages. Matendaran is a place with fantastic collection of the artistry work of Pre-press written material. This museum is in Yerevan, Armenia. Matenadaran was built in 1959 and a must see place for all history and cultural elements lovers. Today Matenadaran is not just a museum but a major research centre as well. If you are interested in knowing what role Armenian language and Armenian alphabet has played in world culture then you must visit this museum.

The literal meaning of word Matenadaran is ‘repository of manuscripts’ in Armenian language. The earliest when this term was mentioned here was in the writings of 5th century A.D. From 5th century this huge repository was noted at Etchmiadzin Cathedral where Greek and Armenian Language texts were kept. But from 10th to 15th centuries during the Turkic-Mongol invasions thousands of manuscripts in the country were destroyed which according to a medieval Armenian historian Stepanos Orbelian were over 10000 in numbers in the year 1170 itself. For quite a few years when the place was a constant battle ground between tow major powers, the Matenadaran was pillaged many times till early 19th century. Only in the first third of 19th century when Eastern Armenia was incorporated into Russian empire, the Matendaran got more stable climate to preserve remaining manuscripts. Since then many new Manuscripts were added and in 1914 the collection went up to 4,660 manuscripts.

Matendaran was built in 1959 and today it has over 17,000 units of manuscripts and over 30,000 documents which covering wide array of subjects. It has the oldest manuscripts which has been fully preserved is the Vehamor (Our Lady) Gospel which was written in 7th century. Matendaran has the most impressing items. One of them is the largest manuscript Msho Charentier which weighs over 27 KG and the other is tiny church calendar of year 1434 which is not bigger than a passport size photo and weighs only 19 gram.

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As said Matenadaran is not only a museum but it is also a research centre. You can see a large library near to the Matenadaran known as most important scientific centre for Armenian studies. When you visit the Matendaran on your Yerevan Tour Package, you can explore the fact that Matendaran reveals the vital role that Armenian language and alphabets played in the world culture. So, you should not miss this place when you are in beautiful city Yerevan in Armenia specially if you love to know the facts about the old world.

Uplistsikhe

What about a town made of rocks? What about a town which saw a great limelight and then was abandoned? Only the remains are there for the people to see. You would love to go to such a place which has too long a history and today it can only be felt in the rocky formations there. We are talking about one such town in the country Georgia. This is known as Uplistsikhe. The town is easily an off beaten travel destination for the tourists in Georgia. But when you are on Tbilisi Tour Package then you must take time to visit this place as it is not too far away from Tbilisi and it is certainly worth visiting. Uplistsikhe which means the lord’s fortress was once the political and religious center of Georgia and archaeologists say that it is one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. Let us go through journey of Uplistsikhe in brief here.

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Uplistsikhe is an old rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia. It is just 10 KM away from the town of Gori, which is also a tourist attraction and only 80-85 KM away from the capital city Tbilisi. Uplistsikhe is built on the left bank of river Mtkvari and here in town you can see numerous structures which dates back to early Iron Age to the late middle ages. These structures show the coexistence of Pagan and Christian culture. Before the 4th century, Uplistsikhe emerged as a major political and religious center of the country under the kingdom of Kartil. However when Christianity arrived in 4th century in Kartil, Uplistsikhe went on decline loosing its importance and lost its position to new Christianity centers Mtskheta and Tbilisi later on. Uplistsikhe saw its rise again during 8th and 9th century during the Muslim conquest of Tbilisi. Then in 14th century when the Mongols raided it marked the ultimate eclipse of the town and the town was abandoned again. During Mongol raids it saw the destruction of large parts of the city.

Archaeologists found several temples and finding related to sun goddess before the Christianity arrived here. Today this cave town can be divided into three parts, South or lower part, middle or central part and north or upper part. The central area has most of the rock-cut structures and it is connected to the lower area by narrow tunnel. Most of the rock-cut structures are without any decorative elements, however some of the larger structures, do contain some stone carvings. Now as a visitor what is there for you today? Well, when you enter this rocky town you find a giant hill of carved rocks. You can feel the cold wind coming from the river Mtkvari which feels good. You can enter the gigantic hill through preserved old rock carved steps where you can climb through a steel stair case. When you trek through the hill you get to see some great scenic view standing on the edge of the hills. You can also see some archaeological ruins of some ancient civilizations. At the top of the complex you will see Christian stone basilica which dates from the 10th century. The rock cut structures that you can see here includes a large hall which is called Tamaris Darbazi, pagan places of sacrifice, dwellings, some functional buildings, like a pharmacy, a bakery, a prison, and even an amphitheater is there. These rock-cut structures are connected by tunnels, while other tunnels were used for an emergency escape route. So Uplistsikhe is notably unique for its unique combination of styles from rock cut culture from Iran and Anatolia. Uplistsikhe is ancient yet looks beautiful because it contains numerous structures from old time, as old as early Iron Age to late middles ages. Representing mythical elements ascribed by medieval writers here makes the place unique. This ancient ruins must be on your must visit places list. The caves are devoid of any decorations although some of the larger structures have coffered tunnel-vaulted ceilings, with the stone carved in imitation of logs.

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How can you get to this ruined yet beautiful place? Well, from Tbilisi you can reach Gori by regular buses, mini van and taxis which takes around 1 hour. From Gori you can take a taxi to Uplistsikhe or you can also make a bike ride and it takes around half an hour from Gori. So, on your Tbilisi tour package you should visit Uplistsikhe, the ruined town of Georgia.