Welcome to Baku. After check-in into your hotel, the rest of the day is free at leisure.
BAKU: CITYTOUR & ABSHERON PENINSULA (B, L)
Take a CityTour in the morning and discover the capital city of Azerbaijan. Start with Shirvanshas' Palace. The complex contains the main building of the palace, Divanhane, the burial vaults, 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. Continue then to the Maiden Tower, also known as Giz Galasi. Maiden Tower houses a museum, which presents the story of historic evolution of the city. Next, visit the Atesgah, an ancient religious temple of fire worshippers built in the 17th century. Many foreign travellers and historians have described this castle-like place. It is one of the sacred places Zoroastrians (fire worshippers) used to visit and still do during their pilgrimage. Last stop for the morning tour is the new building of the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum which will amaze you with its vast collection of more than 10.000 items. Aside from carpets woven in 17th – 20th centuries, a collection of jewellery, ceramics and old metal works is also a part of the exhibition. Enjoy your lunch, before driving to the Ansheron Peninsula, where you visit the burning mountain “Yanar Dag”, Mardakan Castle and the Raman Castle.
BAKU – GOBUSTAN – SHAMAKHI – SHEKI (B, L)
After breakfast, drive to Gobustan, where you visit the National Park. The Rock Art Cultural Landscape is a hill and mountain site occupying the south-east end of the Big Caucasian Ridge. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. Continue then to visit the Juma-Mosque of Shamakhi City and the Seven Dorms, a complex of tombs built for Shirvan's royal family in the 18th century.
SHEKI – LAGODEKHI BORDER – TBILISI (B, L)
Axplore the Sheki Khan's Palace in the morning. Along with its pool and plane trees, the summer residence is the only remaining structure from the larger palatial complex inside the Sheki Khans’ Fortress, which once included a winter palace, residences for the Khan’s family and servants’ quarters. Continue then to the Lagodekhi Border, where you cross over to Georgia. Visit here the Gremi Architectural Complex, which is a 16th-century architectural monument. The complex is what has survived from the once flourishing town of Gremi and is located east of the present-day village of the same name in the Kvareli district.
TBILISI: CITYTOUR (B, D)
During the morning, discover the great city of Tbilisi. Your CityTour includes the Metekhi Church, a good example of cross-domed Georgian Orthodox churches. Resting upon the top of the hill, the church overlooks the oldest part of Tbilisi, offering wonderful views of famous Narikala fortress. The fortress was established in the 4th century as Shuris-tsikhe. Next, visit Abanotubani at the foot of Narikala fortress. This place is where king Vakhtang Gorgasali discovered warm springs and subsequently found a new capital ‘Tbilisi’. Last on your tour is the Anchiskhati Basilica – the oldest surviving Basilica in the city. The afternoon is free at leisure. We recommend a visit of the National Museum of Georgia or the Open Air Ethnographic Museum. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner.
TBILISI: ROUNDTRIP TO WINE REGION KAKHETI (B, L)
Your first stop today is the Bodbe Nunnery, one of the major pilgrimage sites in Georgia and the place where St. Nino, the 4th.c female enlightener of Georgians is buried. Continue to Sighnaghi. The town is famous for its wine and carpet making culture. Enjoy breathtaking views of Kizikhi area and unusual charm of Sighnaghi – so called ‘City of Love’ which is surrounded by 18th c. fortified town wall. Discover the special storehouse for harvested grapes and for making wine. Wine is pressed in a ‘satsnakheli’, a huge wooden vat, in which the family crushes the grapes. After learning so much about wine, visit the Tsinandali Family Estate and wine cellar, which once belonged to the 19th century aristocratic poet Alexander Chavchavadze. After Lunch and your wine tasting, travel back to Tbilisi.
TBILISI – GREATER CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS – GUDAURI (B, D)
On your way to the Khevi Province, visit Jvari, the 6th century cross-shaped monastery built on the top of a cliff, overlooking the confluence of Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. At this place St. Nino, enlightener of Georgia, erected a large wooden cross on the site of a pagan temple. Next, visit Svetitskhoveli, the fortified cathedral dating from11th century. Svetitskhoveli is a sacred place, where the Robe of Christ is buried. Continue your journey along the Georgian Military Highway towards the Ananuri Architectural complex. The former residenceof Dukes of Aragvi region, beautifully overlooking Jinvali reservoir includes churches and towers dating back to the 15-17th cc. Before check-in into your hotel, hike up to the Gergeti Trinity church, which is the most important church of Khevi province. The stone decorations represented on the facade of the church help us to understand the ancient rituals and beliefs
GUDAURI – KUTAISI (B, L)
Today's trip is to the oldest urban settlement in the Georgia. Uplistsikhe rock-hewn town (1st Millennium BC), which is notable for unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures and the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture. Here you can see ancient wine presses carved in stone. Continue after lunch to Stalin's Museum and the house, where Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, was born. Continue then to Kutaisi, the ancient Kingdomof Colchis. It is Georgia’s second largest city. You will enjoy learning about a turbulent history of the city, which retained its greatest monuments – Bagrat Cathedral (11th century) and Gelati Monastery complex.
KUTAISI – BATUMI (B, L)
The Gelati Monastery, founded in 1106, by the famous king of Georgia, Davit the Builder. The frescos of the monastery are considered to be unique, as they display the entire history and most important stages of Georgian ecclesiastic mural paintings. Gelati Monastery is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Afterwards, drive to the Black Sea Coast, to Batumi, which is one of the most beautiful cities around the coast and also one of the oldest cities of Georgia. Batumi is mentioned by Greek and Roman sources as one of the principal ports of the Black Sea.
FREE DAY IN BATUMI (B)
Discover the ancient city on your own today.
BATUMI DEPARTURE (B)
Depending on your flight time, you are transferred to the airport for your flight home or onward journey.