Sep. 8 – 23, 2019
Number of days:
|Preliminary Flyer: Crossing the Caucasus||1.68 MB|
- Located at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East and Asia are the countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia each bursting with exquisite beauty, refined art and heart-warming hospitality.
- Our journey begins in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, which sits next to the lapis blue Caspian Sea.
- Explore Baku’s elegant medieval core, with its turreted stone buildings which contrasts starkly with the eclectic mansions built for 19th-century oil barons when Azerbaijan supplied more than half of the world’s oil.
- Travel to the Absheron Peninsula home to vast petroleum reserves where the Caucasus Mountains dip below the surface of the Caspian Sea.
- Stop at Yanar Dag, a stunning natural gas fire or “mud volcano” and the remarkable Atesgah Fire Temple sacred to Zorastrians for centuries.
- Enjoy a cruise on the world’s largest lake, the Caspian Sea, filled with sturgeon which makes up the world’s supply of caviar.
- View Baku’s cutting-edge architectural designs at the award winning Heydar Aliyev Center designed by Zaha Hadid, one of her last projects.
- Drive to the village of Sheki where wooden and stone houses are strung on either side of a steep mountain river, protecting a richly decorated khan’s palace.
- Visit Kish one of the most well restored ancient churches in the entire Caucasus region dating back over 1,500 years.
- Cross the border into Georgia and drive to the easternmost part of the country – Kakheti – home to the country’s greatest wines.
- Spend two nights in the famous fortified town of Sighnaghi with its city walls lined with 29 towers some dating to the 12th century.
- Explore the Cathedral of Alaverdi, a holy site since pagan times, and the dramatic site of Gremi, capital of the region in the 15th century, with its sweeping views.
- En route to Tbilisi stop at the nunnery of Ninotsminda complex built in the 6th century and meet with the head nun.
- Also visit Gori, Stalin’s birthplace and home to his museum.
- Spend three wonderful days discovering Tbilisi where, in inner courtyards, Azeris rubbed shoulders with Armenians and Jews, and Kurds traded with Georgians and Turks.
- Visit Tbilisi’s museum, which houses a collection of superb gold jewelry from the age of Jason and the Argonauts. Sample delicious freshly cooked breads and Georgian dumplings known as “Kinkali”.
- Wander through Mtskheta, the capital of Georgia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD and the superb fortress complex of Ananuri.