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Study Trip

A visit to the Republic of Armenia

Thursday 1 – Thursday 8 June 2017
Leader: Khun Somlak Charoenpot, Honorary Secretary of the Siam Society

 

 

The Republic of Armenia is the only country remaining from 3,000 year old maps of Anatolia. It became the world's first Christian country more than 1,700 years ago and has a large Diaspora all over the world. As a former Soviet republic lying in the Caucasus region straddling Asia and Europe, Armenia has a rich and ancient culture.

Landlocked, Armenia is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Iran to the south, Azerbaijan to the east, and Azerbaijan's Naxcivan exclave to the southwest. Five percent of the country's surface area consists of Lake Sevan (Sevana Lich), the largest lake in the Lesser Caucasus mountain range. Armenia's many mountains and mountain valleys create a great number of microclimates, with scenery changing from arid to lush forest at the top of a mountain ridge.

Armenian history extends for over 3,000 years. Armenians have historically inhabited the "Armenian Highlands", a vast section of mountains and valleys across eastern Anatolia and the Southern Caucasus. Armenian vassal states, principalities, kingdoms and empires have risen and fallen in different parts of this highland throughout history.

In 301 AD, Armenia became the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion. One can find thousands of churches and monasteries in Armenia. Armenians are Apostolic Christians and have their own Catholicos (religious leader, like the Pope for Roman Catholics).

During this visit to Armenia we will have an opportunity to admire the treasures coming from the depth of the history: from powerful monasteries to small chapels on top of mountains, from booming cities to small villages of great historical importance, from lushly forested regions to green high rocks, from hot valleys to uneven mountains.  We will enjoy the amazing countryside and the hospitable nature of Armenians, and get acquainted with local traditions and lifestyle.

Under the leadership of Khun Somlak Charoenpot, Honorary Secretary of the Siam Society, the Siam Society will conduct a study trip to visit the Republic of Armenia from Thursday, 1 June to Thursday, 8 June 2017.

 

The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Thursday, 1 June 2017  Bangkok

11.30 p.m. Meet at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport at Row P, check in counter for Qatar Airways

Day 2: Friday, 2 June 2017   Bangkok – Doha (Qatar) – Tbilisi (Georgia) – Dzoraget (Armenia)

02.05 a.m. Depart Bangkok to Doha (capital of Qatar) by QR 837 (6.40 hrs.).
04.45 a.m. Arrive at Doha Airport, transit for flight to Tbilisi (the Caucasian capital in Georgia).
06.50 a.m. Depart Doha to Tbilisi by QR 251 (4.45 hrs.).
12.45 p.m. Arrive at Tbilisi Airport in Georgia, transfer to restaurant for lunch.
Afternoon: Continue to Georgia-Armenia border of Sadakhlo by bus.
- After fulfilling border formalities at Georgia-Armenia border.
Enroute: Visit the impressive fortified monastery Akhtala Monastery (10th century), after that continue to Dzoraget.
Evening: Dinner and overnight at Tufenkian Avan Dzoraget Hotel in Armenia.

Day 3: Saturday, 3 June 2017  Dzoraget – Sanahin – Odzun – Haghartsin – Lake Sevan

- Breakfast at the hotel.
 
Morning: Proceed to visit the 10th century monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat  situated in Debed Canyon. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. During the period from the 10th to the13th century, Sanahin was an important and reputable center of learning, where humanitarian sciences and medicine were taught. Scientific treatises were written, and paintings and miniatures were created here. As for Haghpat, it was here in this holy site that the great Armenian poet Sayat-Nova lived and created his wonderful songs and poems.
  Continue to visit the village of Odzun, in the center of the region of Lori. On a notably large plateau, the village of Odzun is one of most prosperous villages of Armenia, rich in many numerous monuments constructed in different historical periods. A wonderful example is the church dating back to the 7th century built by Catholicos Hovhan of Odzun. Beside the church, we can see a special funerary monument with two carved pillars showing scenes from Bible and Christianization of Armenia.
 
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Proceed to forested region of Dilijan. Visit Haghartsin Monastery (10th-13th Century), nestled in the green nature with mountains all around. This monastery has its special place in the culture and architecture of Armenia.
- Drive to the Lake Sevan.
 
Evening: Dinner and overnight at Tufenkian Avan Marak Tsapatagh Hotel near the lake.

Day 4: Sunday, 4 June 2017  Lake Sevan – Selim – Tatev – Khndzoresk – Goris

- Breakfast at the hotel.
Morning: Proceed to Syunik region.
Enroute: We will have a stop at Selim Caravanserai, a unique architectural monument of Medieval Armenia. Built along the Selim Pass, the caravanserai once hosted weary travelers and their beast of burden passing by.
 
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Take the cable car along the 5.7km aerial tramway, called “Wings of Tatev” to visit one of the most attractive spots in Armenia – Tatev Monastery. Perched atop the Vorotan River Gorge, the 9th century Tatev monastic complex was one of Armenia’s most advanced medieval universities hosting students in humanitarian sciences and an important political stronghold. Because of its forbidding location, it was once hard to access.
 
- After that continue to the town of Goris, on the way stopping to visit the cave village of Khndzoresk where the primeval people lived. People still lived there some 50-60 years ago but at present the Old Khndzoresk has been abandoned and is under government protection. However, visitors can get acquainted with the village of caves, beautiful ancient churches and very old tombstones. The beautifully carved caves fit in perfectly with the canyon, rock formations and the greenness all around.
 
Evening: Dinner and overnight at Mirhav Hotel in Goris.

Day 5: Monday, 5 June 2017  Goris – Karahunj – Noravank – Areni – Khor Virap – Yerevan

- Breakfast at the hotel.
Morning: Proceed to explore Zorats Karer or Karahunj – group of the standing stones, which is believed to be the oldest observatory in the world. This is an evidence of primeval civilization in Armenia.
- Drive along beautiful valleys and through mountainous roads to visit Noravank Monastery (13th century).  After that we will visit to the village of Arenito taste delicate and gentle Armenian wine. Recent archaeological expeditions in this region have unearthed the oldest winery in the world, thus proving that the village has the oldest traditions of wine production.
 
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Continue to Ararat valley, visiting the Monastery of Khor Virap. This is the place where Armenia adopted Christianity as a state religion in 301 A.D. thus becoming the first in the world. Here is where the first Armenian Catholicos Gregory the Illuminator was jailed for 13 years for disseminating Christianity in Armenia. The monastery offers the closest and the best view to Biblical Mount Ararat.
- Transfer to Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia.
Evening: Dinner at own arrangement.
- Overnight at Radisson Blu Hotel in Yerevan.

Day 6: Tuesday, 6 June 2017   Yerevan – Echmiadzin – Zvartnots

- Breakfast at the hotel.
Morning: Walking Tour in Yerevan where we will visit the most pleasant Republic Square with Government buildings, History Museum of Armenia and one of the oldest streets in Yerevan – Abovyan Street.
- Visit the depository of ancient manuscripts Matenadaran. This unique institution is a major center for the study and preservation of Armenian works of ancient literature. Thousands of temporary, changeable and exclusive exhibits are on display. Manuscript, fragments of manuscript, documents, old printed books, precious bindings, individual miniatures, and more are shown from the Matenadaran’s database of roughly 23,000 manuscripts.
 
- Proceed to Echmiadzin, the holy city of Armenia.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Visit the Holy See of Armenian Catholicos, Echmiadzin with its main Cathedral (4th century), St. Gayane (7th century), St. Hripsime (7th century), St. Shoghaka churches (17th century). All of them are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  Drive back to Yerevan with a stop at the ruins of Zvartnots Temple or Church of the Guardian Angel (7th century). The latter is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 
Evening: Dinner at a local tavern with a folk show.
- Overnight at Radisson Blu Hotel in Yerevan.

Day 7: Wednesday, 7 June 2017  Garni Temple and Monastery of Geghard – Yerevan airport

- Breakfast at the hotel.
Morning: Explore the top tourist attractions of Armenia: Garni Temple (a pagan temple built in 1st century, the only survival of the Hellenic epoch in the whole territory of the Caucasus) and the Monastery of Geghard (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The monastery was first recorded in a document of 1250 A.D. Geghard is famous due to the relics, among which the most important one is the spear which had wounded Christ on the Cross presumably brought there by the Apostle Thaddeus. Here in Geghard, we can also watch the process of “lavash” baking in the traditional underground oven “tonir”, and enjoy the medieval vocal concert.
- Return to Yerevan.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: At leisure / dinner at own arrangement.
Midnight: Transfer to Yerevan Airport.

Day 8: Thursday, 8 June 2017  Yerevan - Doha – Bangkok

03.25 a.m. Depart Yerevan to Doha by QR 286 (3 hrs.).
05.25 a.m. Arrive Doha Airport, transfer for flight to Bangkok.
08.15 a.m. Depart from Doha to Bangkok by QR 832 (6.45 hrs.).
7.00 p.m. Arrive Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Booking

Bt. 125,900.- (Bt. 128,900.- for non-members). Single room surcharge Bt. 18,000.-. A deposit of Bt. 45,000.- and photocopy of passport much accompany the booking. Please pay by cash or cheque payable to ‘The Siam Society’. Alternatively you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no. 053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us.

Your reservation will be confirmed as soon as the deposit has been made. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges.

Includes/Excludes:

The contribution includes airfares, airport transfer, 5 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 4 dinners, accommodation for two persons per room, entrance fees, tips to local guide and driver and other costs incurred to make this trip possible.

It excludes visa fee, personal expenses, tips for additional service, any chargeable beverages/drinks (e.g. hotel minibar), payment or offering for photographing and video shooting, individual service apart from the group, other expense of personal nature like telephone calls, laundry etc.

Cancellation charge:

30 days before the start of the trip:                              No cancellation charge
30 – 15 days before the start of the trip:                       50% of the tour cost
Less than 15 days or cancellation without notice:           No refund

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Pinthip.