Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia Highlights



From the traditional streets of Baku to the rugged peaks of the Georgian mountains to the historic monasteries nestled in Armenia’s serene landscapes, the Caucasus area of the world has wealthy historical past and tradition.

This mountainous area, located between the Black and Caspian Seas, is dwelling to 3 distinctive international locations: Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia. And Arara Excursions will take you on a journey of all of them!

Listed here are a few of my favourite highlights from my Classical Tour Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia with Arara.

The Best Stops and Things to Do on a Tour of the Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia)

The Finest Stops and Issues to Do on a Tour of the Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia)

Azerbaijan Highlights

Maiden Tower 

The Maiden Tower, or Qiz qalasi (Tower of Virgin in Azerbaijani), stands tall in Baku’s Outdated Metropolis, Azerbaijan. This UNESCO World Heritage Web site, courting again to the Twelfth century, reaches 29.5 meters (97 toes) with eight flooring. Over the centuries, it’s believed to have served as a defensive tower, lighthouse, and mosque.

Whereas many tales encompass its design and goal, the preferred one is {that a} king constructed it for his daughter, who tragically leaped from it to flee an undesirable marriage.

PS: you possibly can climb to the highest of the tower and absorb a fantastic view of the town.

Palace of the Shirvanshahs

The Palace of the Shirvanshahs is a Fifteenth-century palace advanced positioned within the Outdated Metropolis of Baku, Azerbaijan. This advanced served because the regal abode for the illustrious Shirvanshahs, the rulers of the Shirvan Khanate. The palace consists of a number of buildings, together with the principle palace, the Divanhana (council corridor), the mosque, and the bathhouse.

The palace is thought for its lovely structure, which mixes parts of Islamic, Persian, and Azerbaijani structure. Moreover, it has earned its place on the distinguished listing of UNESCO World Heritage Websites, in tandem with the enduring Maiden Tower.

Highland Park

Highland Park, is within the Nasimi district of Baku, Azerbaijan, claims the distinguished title of being the town’s highest level, with its highest peak reaching an elevation of roughly 600 toes above sea stage. From this elevated vantage level, you’ll be handled to panoramic views that stretch throughout the city sprawl and the Caspian Sea.

Among the best issues you will note is the Flame Towers trio, whose heights vary from 528 ft to 597 toes. 

Highland Park

Bibiheybat Mosque

You will discover the Bibiheybat Mosque tucked away within the historic Bibiheybat settlement of Baku, a testomony to Islamic heritage courting again to the thirteenth century.

It is among the oldest mosques within the metropolis and is taken into account to be probably the most sacred Islamic websites in Azerbaijan. The mosque is thought for its lovely structure and its elaborate carvings.

The Bibiheybat Mosque’s hallowed floor can be believed to be the resting place of a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, lending an excellent deeper sense of sanctity to this cherished place of worship.

Mud Volcano

Azerbaijan is dwelling to over 300 mud volcanoes, that are the best focus of mud volcanoes on the earth. In contrast to conventional volcanoes that spew molten lava, mud volcanoes are an eruption of mud, water, gases, and generally even rocks and particles from the Earth’s floor.

The formation of those mud volcanoes is attributed to the collision of the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates. The extraordinary stress and warmth ensuing from this geological interplay trigger the mud to erupt from the bottom.

Gobustan Nationwide Park Petroglyphs

Gobustan Nationwide Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Web site positioned within the Gobustan district. The park is dwelling to over 6,000 rock carvings and petroglyphs that date again to the Stone Age. The petroglyphs depict a variety of topics, together with people, animals, vegetation, and pure phenomena. In addition they present insights into the each day lives and beliefs of the individuals who created them.

Other than the rock carvings, there are additionally different rock sights within the space, such because the Roman inscription on an enormous rock discovered near the Boyuk-Sprint mountain’s southeast facet, and the Gaval Sprint, a pure musical stone which produces a sound resembling a tambourine when hit with a small rock (there’s one on the entrance to the reserve.)

Gobustan National Park Petroglyphs

Heydar Aliyev Cultural Heart

The Heydar Aliyev Cultural Heart is a contemporary masterpiece designed by Zaha Hadid in 2012. Its distinctive, fluid design avoids sharp angles and traditional architectural parts, that includes a seamless white exterior that exudes motion and dynamism.

Past its placing look, the middle’s performance shines. Its curved partitions and open areas create a way of circulation and connection. It homes state-of-the-art services, together with a 1,000-seat auditorium for cultural occasions, a convention corridor for as much as 1,500 attendees, a up to date artwork and design gallery, a museum devoted to Heydar Aliyev’s legacy.

Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center

Nohur Lake

Think about a serene water escape within the nation’s northern mountains—Nohur Lake. It’s a hidden oasis with boating, birdwatching, and scenic hikes. And right here’s a enjoyable reality: It’s a man-made marvel courting again to post-World Battle II. 

Even should you don’t stick round for water actions, it’s nice to have an outside lunch at Nohur Gol restaurant. 

Nohur Lake

Sheki Fortress

In Sheki, the 18th-century Sheki Fortress holds immense historic worth. It contains the famend Sheki Khan’s Palace, one other Azerbaijan UNESCO World Heritage Web site, showcasing Azerbaijani architectural brilliance with intricate tilework and vibrant stained glass home windows.

Contained in the fortress grounds, you’ll additionally discover a museum, artwork gallery, a Shebeke workhouse (the place you possibly can watch how the artwork of stained glass home windows are created with out glue or nail!) and a caravanserai—a conventional roadside inn for vacationers.

Sheki Fortress

Conventional Eating places To Strive

If you happen to wish to eat the native delicacies the town of Baku has all kinds of conventional eating places that serve genuine Azerbaijani delicacies. A few of my favorites within the metropolis embody:

  • Firuza: It is a enjoyable underground restaurant famend for its delectable kebabs, grilled meats, and widespread dishes like dushbara, qutab, and plov.
  • Quaynana: This is among the hottest locations inside the town wall of previous city Baku. They’ve loads of conventional meals, however the rooster kebabs have been my favourite and their home bread that got here heat from the oven!
  • Dolma: This restaurant celebrates its namesake dish, dolma, comprising grape leaves stuffed with a tasty combination of rice and floor meat. 
  • Nergiz: An underground eating gem (actually!). Nergiz presents a various menu that includes each conventional Azerbaijani dishes (like sadj and plov) and worldwide delicacies.

Lodge: Shah Palace

Our resort in Azerbaijan was the 4-star Shah Palace Lodge within the coronary heart of Baku’s historic Outdated Metropolis. Positioned only a stone’s throw from iconic landmarks such because the Maiden Tower, the resort presents company unequalled entry to the town’s wealthy heritage. 

The resort’s design is impressed by the wealthy historical past and tradition of Azerbaijan, and its décor options many conventional Azerbaijani parts, corresponding to carpets, rugs, and furnishings. Certainly one of its highlights is the central atrium, the place you’ll get to see the palace’s inside designs in all their glory. You’ll be able to even see some historic artifacts via  a glass panel on the ground!


Jvari Monastery

Jvari Monastery is a Sixth-century Georgian Orthodox monastery positioned on prime of a hill overlooking the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers. It is among the most necessary non secular and cultural monuments in Georgia. 

The monastery is inbuilt a cruciform fashion with a central dome and 4 apses. The outside is adorned with elaborate carvings, whereas the inside is adorned with frescoes courting again to the eleventh century.

Svetitskhoveli Church

Svetitskhoveli Church, probably the most revered non secular websites in Georgia, holds a particular place within the nation’s non secular historical past. It’s stated to be the burial place of Christ’s gown, and has been a pilgrimage web site for hundreds of years.

The church can be a UNESCO World Heritage Web site, and it’s famend for its gorgeous structure. The church’s huge dome and complicated carvings are a testomony to the ability of Georgian artisans.

Outdated City Tbilisi 

Outdated City Tbilisi is the historic coronary heart of Georgia’s capital metropolis. It’s a maze of slender streets and alleyways lined with centuries-old buildings and monuments.

There’s a lot to see, however don’t miss hopping on the cable automobile for a journey that gives some killer metropolis views. As you ascend, you’ll spot the enduring Mom of Georgia atop Sololaki Hill, a logo of Georgian energy and independence. You stroll proper as much as it! Additionally, stroll throughout the Peace Bridge, a contemporary architectural masterpiece which connects the Outdated City with Rike Park.

Ananuri Fortress

Perched on the shores of the Zhinvali Reservoir, the Ananuri Fortress is a testomony to Georgia’s wealthy historical past. Courting again to the thirteenth century, it as soon as served because the noble seat of the Dukes of Aragvi.

This advanced boasts an array of church buildings, towers, and formidable partitions, with the Church of the Assumption and the Church of the Savior standing out as its jewels. 

Ananuri Fortress

Panorama Gudauri Mural (& View!) 

Panorama Gudauri, with its sweeping mountain views,  is a canvas for each nature’s artistry and human creativity. Positioned alongside the Georgian Navy Freeway, it overlooks the Satan’s Valley within the Caucasus mountains.

Alongside its interior circumference, you’ll see scenes depicting occasions from each Georgian and Russian historical past. 

Panorama Gudauri Mural

Gergeti Trinity Church

Excessive within the misty mountains, the Gergeti Trinity Church reigns as a beacon of spirituality and a logo of Georgia’s enduring religion. Arara Excursions, transferred us from a shuttle bus to a 4WD to rise up the mountain!

The church’s easy stone façade towards the dramatic backdrop of Mount Kazbek creates an unforgettable tableau, reminding us of the religious heights Georgia reaches.

Gergeti Trinity Church

Tsinandali Property

Tsinandali Property is a former aristocratic property positioned within the village of Tsinandali in Georgia’s famend wine nation, Kakheti. The property was as soon as dwelling to the Chavchavadze household, probably the most influential households in Georgian historical past.

You’ll be able to discover the property’s gardens, dine or drink in one among their bars and eating places, go to the Chavchavadze Home Museum, and pattern a few of their award-winning wines on the Tsinandali Wine Cellar. In addition they maintain the annual Tsinandali Competition, a should for classical music lovers.

Batonis Tsikhe Fortress Museum

The Batonis Tsikhe Fortress Museum is positioned within the village of Akhmeta in Kakheti, Georgia. The museum is housed in a Seventeenth-century Persian-style fortress that was as soon as the house of the Kakhetian kings.

The museum was opened in 1935 and homes a set of archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, together with manuscripts, uncommon publications, army gear, and a advantageous arts gallery.

Across the fortress, you’ll be handled with the spectacular structure of the well-preserved fortress partitions, two royal chapels, gardens, and park. Plus, you’ll additionally get sweeping views of the town and Caucasus mountains.

Khareba Vineyard

Khareba Vineyard is among the largest and hottest wineries in Georgia. It presents quite a lot of wine tastings, in addition to excursions of the place and its wine cellars. We did a tasting within the cellar of a few of their signature wines like Kindzmarauli, Saperavi Basic, and Mukuzani. However that’s not all; delve into the world of Georgian spirits with a sampling of chacha, a potent exhausting liquor.

For these trying to embrace Georgian tradition totally, there’s an choice to be taught the artwork of constructing conventional shoti bread (Georgian flatbread) and Churchkhela sweet (Georgian candle-shaped sweet made out of nuts and dried fruit). That was my favourite half!

Sighnaghi City

Perched on a hillside overlooking Kakheti, Sighnaghi presents postcard-worthy views. Often called the “Metropolis of Love,” it’s widespread for romantic getaways and weddings. Its cobblestone streets and pastel buildings create an ambiance straight out of a fairy story.

Certainly one of my favourite issues we did there was to stroll the fortress partitions for some fairly spectacular valley views, particularly throughout sundown. 

The city’s colourful buildings and charming setting additionally make it a haven for taking photographs. In fact, don’t neglect to loosen up and savor the straightforward pleasures of life in Sighnaghi – take a leisurely stroll via the city’s streets, go to an area cafe, or pattern among the area’s scrumptious wines.

Sighnaghi Town Annette

Lodge: Brim resort

Our resort whereas in Georgia was in Tbilisi on the fashionable Brim Lodge. This boutique gem presents a mix of contemporary consolation and Georgian hospitality with completely different rooms and suites, every with its personal distinctive fashion and facilities. In addition they have a rooftop bar, a restaurant, and a spa—simply to call just a few.

Their buffet breakfast was one among my favorites!

Brim Hotel


Goshavank Monastery

Goshavank Monastery is a Twelfth-century Armenian masterpiece positioned within the village of Gosh. Based by the famend scholar and jurist Mkhitar Gosh, the monastery rapidly grew to become a middle of studying and tradition. Its gorgeous structure, with its hovering domes and complicated carvings, is a testomony to the ability and artistry of medieval Armenian builders.

If you go to Goshavank, take the chance to discover the monastery’s two church buildings, its library, and its assortment of khachkars, or Armenian cross-stones. The khachkars at Goshavank are significantly noteworthy for his or her intricate designs and symbolism.

Goshavank Monastery

Haghartsin Monastery

One other architectural gem in Armenia is Haghartsin Monastery, within the lush Dilijan Nationwide Park. Constructed within the thirteenth century, this monastic advanced is dwelling to 3 church buildings, a refectory (eating corridor,) a sepulcher, and a library. The St. Astvatsatsin Church, the most important church within the advanced, is famend for its 16-sided dome that’s adorned with arches, columns, and triangular ledges.

Matenadaran Museum

The Matenadaran Museum in Yerevan homes a formidable assortment of 23,000 manuscripts, together with the traditional Tenth-century Echmiadzin Gospel. This repository of information serves a triple goal as a museum, a manuscript repository, and a analysis institute, making it an indispensable pilgrimage for historical past aficionados and students.

Inside its partitions, you’ll have the chance to delve into the historical past of Armenian writing, calligraphy, and illumination, whereas additionally marveling at an array of different historic artifacts, together with historical maps, cash, and sacred relics. It’s a spot the place the previous comes alive, and the pages of historical past reveal their timeless secrets and techniques.

Genocide Memorial and Museum

A somber but important go to, the Genocide Memorial and Museum in Yerevan commemorates the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The museum paperwork the genocide of over 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire throughout World Battle I.

The museum advanced consists of two fundamental elements: the memorial and the museum. The memorial is a towering obelisk that symbolizes the rebirth of the Armenian individuals after the genocide. Within the middle it has an everlasting burning flame that represents the un-extinguishable Armenian spirit. The museum is housed in a contemporary constructing that comprises a everlasting exhibition on the Armenian Genocide, in addition to a memorial wall with the names of over 1 million victims.

Echmiadzin Cathedral

Echmiadzin Cathedral holds a particular place within the hearts of Armenians, extensively thought of to be the oldest Christian church on the earth. This UNESCO-listed web site is the seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and is among the most sacred websites in Armenia. Its historical structure and spiritual significance make it a pilgrimage vacation spot for the trustworthy.

The inside of the cathedral is adorned with colourful murals and mosaics. You’ll additionally get to see relics such because the Holy Lance, believed to be the spear that pierced Jesus’ facet on the crucifixion, and a chunk of Noah’s Ark.

Echmiadzin Cathedral

Zvartnots Temple Ruins

Zvartnots Temple is a Seventh-century Armenian cathedral positioned close to the city of Vagharshapat within the Armavir Province of Armenia. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Web site and probably the most necessary non secular and cultural monuments in Armenia.

Zvartnots Temple was one of many largest and most spectacular church buildings on the earth on the time of its building, boasting a three-story round construction with a diameter of 38.7 meters and a peak of 45 meters.

The temple was destroyed within the Tenth century, with theories suggesting an earthquake or Arab assaults because the doable causes. Whereas solely the temple ruins stay at the moment, it’s nonetheless a testomony to the ability and artistry of medieval Armenian builders and designers.

Khor Virap Monastery

Khor Virap Monastery is a Seventh-century monastery perched on a rocky hilltop overlooking the Ararat Valley. The monastery is among the most necessary pilgrimage websites in Armenia and is claimed to be the place the place Saint Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 13 years.

As you step into the monastery, you’ll have the possibility to discover its church, chapel, and the notorious pit the place St. Gregory was as soon as confined. And don’t miss the chance to soak within the awe-inspiring vistas of Mount Ararat, a sacred image for the Armenian individuals, from the monastery grounds.

Noravank Monastery

Tucked away throughout the gorgeous Amaghu Canyon, Noravank Monastery is a jewel of Armenian medieval structure. Courting again to the Twelfth century, it’s famend for its intricate stone carvings and dramatic crimson rock formations.

Certainly one of its most notable sights is the Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mom of God) Church, which incorporates a two-story design and hovering dome. Its facade is roofed with intricate patterns, which provides to the church’s magnificence. 

You’ll additionally discover a number of surviving khachkars alongside the compound partitions, in addition to different buildings just like the Surb Karapet church and Surb Grigor Chapel.

Noravank Monastery

Geghard Monastery

Geghard Monastery, partially carved into Azat River Gorge cliffs, is an historical marvel with deep non secular significance. Named after the Holy Lance, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Web site and a key cultural and spiritual middle in Armenia.

This advanced options two church buildings: Katoghike (1215,) famend for its intricate carvings and frescoes, and Gavit (1225,) with its personal set of lovely designs and murals. The St. Gregory the Illuminator chapel rests in a hillside cave. The monastery advanced additionally comprises numerous caves that have been used as dwelling quarters and storage rooms by the monks.

Lavash Making

What higher means so as to add some conventional Armenian recipes beneath your belt than studying the artwork of lavash making? This conventional flatbread, usually ready in underground clay ovens, is an integral a part of Armenian delicacies.

Our tour information made a cease to an area dwelling the place we obtained to see the fascinating course of dwell! It was then served with a choice of recent herbs and native cheese. 

Garni Temple

Garni Temple stands as a testomony to Armenia’s pre-Christian heritage. This historical Hellenistic temple, devoted to the solar god Mihr, dates again to the first century AD, and is the oldest pagan temple within the nation. Its well-preserved colonnades and pagan symbolism make it an enchanting historic web site, providing a glimpse into Armenia’s historical beliefs.

Guests to Garni Temple can discover the temple’s ruins, which embody the principle temple constructing and numerous different buildings, corresponding to a bathhouse and a guesthouse. The temple is positioned in a wonderful setting, surrounded by mountains and rivers.

Garni Temple

Historical past Museum of Armenia

If you happen to’re trying to immerse your self in Armenia’s wealthy historical past, look no additional than the Historical past Museum of Armenia in Yerevan. The museum homes an enormous assortment of artifacts from Armenia’s lengthy and sophisticated historical past, together with archaeological finds, manuscripts, cash, and artistic endeavors.

The museum was based in 1919 and its assortment contains over 400,000 artifacts, making it one of many largest museums in Armenia.

History Museum of Armenia

Conventional Eating places to Strive

In fact, our tour of Armenia won’t be full with out getting a style of their native delicacies. Indulge your style buds at Tavern Yerevan, the place Armenian delicacies shines. From fragrant kebabs to delectable dolma, this restaurant presents an genuine culinary expertise. It was our favourite meal on the journey! Make sure that to make reservations properly prematurely.

In the meantime, Lavash Restaurant invitations you to savor the flavors of Armenia, together with freshly baked lavash, in a comfortable and fashionable ambiance. Don’t miss out ordering the hummus eggplant appetizer. It was my favourite factor I ate in Armenia!

Lavash Restaurant

Lodge: Ani Plaza resort

We stayed at Ani Plaza Lodge within the coronary heart of Yerevan. It’s a bigger 4-star resort that’s identified for being conveniently positioned near all of metropolis’s main sights, together with Republic Sq., the Armenian Opera Home, and the Historical past Museum of Armenia, permitting for exploration of the town on foot or by public transportation.

About Arara Excursions: We went on this 3 nation journey with Arara Excursions, a journey firm that focuses on excursions of the Caucasus area. They provide quite a lot of choices, however the one written about right here was the Classical Tour Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia. This 13-day itinerary covers all three international locations, beginning in Baku, heading to Azerbaijan, and wrapping up in Yerevan, Armenia.

The Caucasus area, the place historical past, tradition, and gorgeous landscapes converge, unveils an alluring tapestry of experiences. Exploring Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia with Arara Excursions allowed me to delve into this wealthy tapestry. 

From the colourful streets of Baku to the rugged Georgian mountains and the serene Armenian monasteries, the area’s allure is boundless. Whether or not your coronary heart beats for historical past, tradition, nature, or sheer journey, the Caucasus area generously presents its treasures to all who search them.

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