Dashtadem fortress, Sardarapat memorial complex, Etchmiadzin, Zvartnots temple

Dashtadem Fortress

Dashtadem Fortress is a substantial fortress of the 10th to 19th centuries located at the southern outskirts of Dashtadem village in the Aragatsotn Province of Armenia. An octagonal walled enceinte surrounds the fortress and was constructed during the beginning of the 19th century. On the east wall of the fortress keep is an Arabic dedicatory inscription of 1174, written in Kufic script attributing the structure to Sultan ibn Mahmud, one of the Shaddadid Princes that ruled in Ani. It reads the following passage: May Allah exalt him. In the blessed month of Safar in the year 570 the lord of this strong fortress, the Prince, the great Spasalar, the Pillar of Faith, the Glorifier of Islam, Sultan son of Mahmud son of Shavur. Until recently, the fortress had been home to local shepherds and their families.

Sardarapat Memorial Complex

Sardarapat Memorial (located in Araks village) is a memorial complex to the Battle of Sardarapat. Its a symbol of pride and survival, the Sardarapat Memorial marks the place of Armenias successful last-ditch effort to save the nation from obliteration at the hands of the Turks in the Battle of Sardarapaton May 22–26, 1918. Against tremendous odds, and during the haunting backdrop of genocide during the previous few years, Armenias makeshift army rebuffed the Turkish troops and safeguarded the small portion of historic Armenia, what became the current republic as it stands today. On the grounds of the historic battle one can today visit the Sardarapat Ethnography and Liberation Movement History Museum adjacent to the outdoor monument.

Etchmiadzin Cathedral

Etchmiadzin Cathedral has always been in the core of the Armenian and foreign architects’ and scientists’ research. This historical, spiritual and architectural place is not only a church, but also a unique museum for researchers. Etchmiadzin Cathedral, likewise other Christian churches, was established in the location of a pagan temple. According to Armenian church tradition, the cathedral was built between 301 and 303. According to History of the Armenians by Agathangelos, Armenias patron saint Gregory the Illuminator had a vision of Jesus Christ descending from heaven and striking the earth with a golden hammer to show where the cathedral should be built. Hence, the patriarch gave the church the name of Etchmiadzin which translates to "the Descent of the Only-Begotten (Son of God)."

The Treasury Museum

The museum is home to rare items such as church accessories with historical and artistic value, gold and pearl dresses, crosses and cathedral rocks, numerous ritual items made of gold, silver and ivory decorated with delicate and precious stones. Here you can see rare, ancient coins and ancient manuscripts. The catholic chairs of the 17th-century are particularly remarkable, decorated with peppermint and ivory, with lions head and scarf.

The museum also features unique sacred relics as well as St. Geghard, the spear by which the centurion Longinus pierced Jesus Christ or the Ark of Noah.

St. Hripsime

Saint Hripsime Church is one of the oldest churches in Armenia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is located in Echmiadzin. According to legend, the girl named Hripsime, escaped to Armenia from Roman emperor Diocletian for her Christian beliefs. Here, Armenian king Trdat lll fell in love with her beauty and wanted to marry her. As the king was rejected commanded to kill her. After the adoption of Christianity in the place where she was killed a church was built. St. Hripsime church in Etchmiadzin is considered a masterpiece of early Christian Armenian architecture.

St. Gayane

The Church of St. Gayane was built in the 7th century. It is domed-basilica in style. Gayane came to Armenia with 38 nuns including Hripsime .The legend says the church was built over the tomb of Virgin Gayane who was killed for preaching Christianity.

Zvartnots temple

Zvartnots Cathedral is a 7th-century centrally planned aisled tetraconch type Armenian cathedral built by the order of Catholicos Nerses the Builder from 643-652. Now in ruins, it is located at the edge of the city of Vagharshapat in Armavir Province of Armenia. It is said that the cathedral was built on the post where Grigir Lusavorich met Trdat, initiating the king’s conversion and leading to Armenia adopting Christianity as the state religion. The cathedral’s unique construction was an engineering marvel. Many legends are connected to the monument. One legend relates how the Byzantine Roman Emperor Cosas II, attending the temple, impressed by its design, hired the master architect to built a similar church in Constantinople.

DestinationDashtademi fortress, Sardarapat memorial complex, Etchmiadzin (Gayane, Hripsime, Mother Cathedral, Historical and Ethnographic museum), Zvartnots temple    
Duration9-10 hrs

* The unused portions of the itinerary are not refundable.

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