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FLY, EXPLORE AND DISCOVER ARMENIA!

 

Hey! If you're not afraid of heights and are looking for a fun and different experience, try paragliding in Armenia!

 

The combination of weather and geography make Armenia a paragliding paradise with a wide range of possibilities for paragliding. From the exciting Tsovagyugh near the Lake Sevan, to the "birthplace" of Armenian paraglider and hang glider pilots, Mount Hatis - you can find places with all types of winds and weather conditions.

 

You do not need prior knowledge or special skills for these flights. Tandem flights are the easiest and safest way to experience a free flight. It involves a pilot flying with a passenger as a shared adventure. You and the pilot have separate harnesses that are attached by spreader bars to the paraglider wing. The purpose of the tandem flight is to enjoy paragliding as a passenger without being the pilot in command.

 

At Phoenix Tour Armenia we strive to provide our clients with an excellent vacation, flying fantastic sites while having fun and encountering our Armenian culture: the food, the music, the people. You can have a more organized tour, with sightseeing, outdoor activities or only flying. Just email us and we will plan it together. We hope to make it an unforgettable adventure! Come join the fun!

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Paragliding in Armenia

If the Tsakhkadzor is Armenia's defining geographical feature, skiing and snowboarding at Tsakhkadzor ski resort must be its signature activities. Superb and among the most accessible in the country, Tsakhkadzor ski resort is just within 40 minutes drive from the Armenia’s capital Yerevan and the Zvartnots International Airport.

 

Easy and scenic, the resort is a family-friendly adventure and a great place to introduce anyone to the wonder of skiing and outdoor exploration. With vast, snowy landscapes and horizons rimmed with mountains, the Mount Teghenis is the biggest draw, with its terrain for downhill skiing and snowboarding.

 

Originally built to train the Soviet athletes for the 1988 Winter Olympics, Tsakhkadzor ski resort offers the diverse ski runs on the mountain slope, ideal for beginners, for amateur and advanced skiers. All lifts are manufactured and operated by the Leitner Group (Italy), and all the chair lifts equipped with magic carpet boarding systems (Kotayk Province, Armenia)

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WINTER 2017 - Tsakhkadzor Ski Resort, Armenia

Our Hong Kong Group treat themselves to a cultural extravaganza as one of the local Armenian Folklore Ensembles puts on a dynamic and magical show of traditional music and dance (September 2016, Ashtarak, Aragatsotn Province, Armenia)

 

Through the dance-song performance, our guests witness a fascinating insight into the costumes, music, and dance heritage of Armenia.The choreography is based on authentic Armenian dances, some collected from isolated villages and dating back hundreds of years.

 

In the latter days, the Republic of Armenia, being one of the smallest parts of remote Historical Armenia, is still enormously rich with its national dances and folk songs. Stemming from pagan rituals and games, prevalent by then, Armenian national dance art has reached to us in the form of various group dances, which, according to their nature and performance, are divided into the ritual, religious and those of daily performance.

 

On the whole, the Armenian dance, art and folklore art have long been one of the most revealing expressions of its character and aesthetic thinking, as well as highlights its national idiosyncrasy, inner world, and attitude towards nature and life at large. Historical costumes used throughout the centuries overtly emphasize the fine taste and aesthetic characteristics of Armenians.

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Tonacuyc Armenian Folk Program (Ashtarak 2016)

Our guests from Hong Kong having fun by singing side by side with performers at the ruins of the ancient Zvartnots Temple, and joining the stage at the dinner party in Old Erivan Restaurant (Yerevan, Armenia, September 2016)

 

Do you love to sing? Try us out! If you've never shared a song together with Armenian performers before, you're in for some serious fun!  There's nothing quite like locking and ringing a chord with other guys or a chorus.  It is something that can't be explained, rather, must be experienced.  But regardless of who is singing,  it is safe to say - everyone has fun! So, don't miss out on those dinner nights of pure Armenian entertainment, and come and celebrate with us as we sing and dance!

 

The 7th century Zvartnots Temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site) was destroyed by an earthquake in 930 AD, and was lost to history until its discovery in the early 20th century. The Armenian and Arab historians alike marveled at the beauty of Zvartnots, calling it one of the most beautiful buildings ever built. Originally built to be the tallest church of the world at the time, and to last for 1,000 years (a projected date for the second coming of Christ), the Zvartnots Cathedral has been only partially reconstructed.

 

The Restaurant "Old Erivan" is lovingly invites everyone to spend a pleasant and entertaining evening, where you can enjoy delicious dishes of traditional Armenian cuisine and live folk music. There are many famous Armenia's guests who commended the food and atmosphere of the restaurant: the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, French President Jacques Chirac, Presidents of Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, and numerous other dignitaries and celebrities.

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Armenia - Come, Sing with Us!

The great Polish spirit has made a notable comeback from a day of touring, by dancing to a live music at the Tospia Restaurant in Yerevan (Yerevan, Armenia, September 2016)

 

Located in the very center of Yerevan, on the crossroad of Abovian and Tumanyan streets, the Tospia Restaurant is regarded to be the establishment for the lovers of delicious food & fine wine, where the local produce is its valuable advantage, and the fresh, flavorful foods brought in from different regions of Armenia. Tasting the traditional and newest Armenian cuisine is harmoniously accompanied with Armenian classical, national, folk and modern music, creating the wonderful atmosphere for the guests. Expect generous portions and reasonable prices alongside singing, dancing, live music, and a lot of fun!

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The Polish Dinner Party at Tospia Restaurant

The Award Winning Travel Host Laura McKenzie takes viewers on a Once in a Lifetime Journey through the Historic Nation of Armenia during a One-Hour TV Special (April 19, 2016).

 

"Laura McKenzie's Traveler" is the number one travel show on broadcast television across the US. In this new primetime special, Laura McKenzie gives a firsthand account of her explorations through Armenia, including destinations like the capital city of Yerevan, the ancient Temple of Garni, the cave Monastery of Geghard, the Echmiadzin Cathedral and the Monastery of Tatev, featuring the longest cable car ride in the world. She also discovers local markets, learns to make ethnic cuisine, and tries her hand at the art of carpet weaving at the Megerian Carpet Factory.

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ARMENIA - Once in a Lifetime Journey!

City kids have good fun ziplining in the Yell Extreme Park (June 02, Yenokavan, Tavush Province, Armenia 2016)

 

Ziplining in Yenokavan's Yell Extreme Park is an increasingly popular and expanding tourist attraction in Armenia. Riders wearing harnesses clip onto a thick steel cable, then step off a platform amid the forest - never looking back, flying atop the trees, the cliffs and with stunning views below.

 

This adventure through the forests of the beautiful Tavush Province of Armenia, features 5 incredible ziplines (135 meters, 200 meters, 268 meters, 375 meters, and 750 meters long lines), joined by a network of different trails. The all 5 rides take approximately 1.5 hours to complete, and the flights last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. The Nightime Zip is your final and exhilarating adrenaline push, setting off every Friday after 8 p.m. All the Zipline rides are fully guided by the professionally trained staff, creating a safe environment at heights up to 300 meters off the ground.

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Armenia - GO EXTREME!

Our South Korean folks enjoying their evening at one of the favorite restaurants in Yerevan - the "Old Erivan". Beautiful settings, delicious Armenian cuisine and a lovely experience, playing along with the great rendition of the popular "Million Scarlet Roses" in Russian and Korean (Yerevan, Armenia, May 2016)

 

"Old Erivan" is a popular restaurant complex located in the beginning of Northern Avenue near the Opera House. It is a multistory building, each made in a different design. The complex offers a restaurant, a cigar club, a karaoke club, a pub, and during summertime an open air café is available on the top floor.

 

The Restaurant "Old Erivan" which is located on the second floor of the namesake restaurant complex, lovingly invites everyone to spend a pleasant and entertaining evening, where you can enjoy delicious dishes of traditional Armenian cuisine and live folk music. If you want to have burning party you can visit the 5th floor of this complex and have a wonderful time with DJ and modern music. It is suitable for lively youth and lovers of active and loud music!

 

There are many famous Armenia's guests who commended the food and atmosphere of the restaurant: the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, French President Jacques Chirac, Presidents of Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, and numerous other dignitaries and celebrities.

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Yerevan - A Night To Remember!

Hiking through the beautiful forests in the majestic Tavush Province of Armenia. After a long day, getting relaxed around a bonfire at the Apaga Resort in Yenokavan, and having a cozy birthday party dinner with Armenian wine and Chinese food in Yerevan (Tavush Province, Armenia June 2015)

 

Lastiver Waterfall is located in the Tavush Province of Armenia. Most of Tavush, which is in the northeast of Armenia, is covered with lush forests and green zones. The area is also plentiful in rivers. The largest is Aghstev with one of its significant tributaries, the Khachakhpyur River, that leads to the wonderful corner of Ijevan, the Lastiver. The cave, desert, swift river, small and large waterfalls, forests and spectacular nature - tourists from around the world, as well as the locals, love to come to Lastiver and see this natural attraction.

 

During the Mongol invasions in 13th and 14th century locals found their shelter in the Lastiver Cave. The cave is located on almost flat slope of the canyon. In order to reach the cave people had to construct a ladder, made of superposed logs. The ladder reminded a raft. That's the reason it has been called the “Lastiver”, which is translated from Armenian as “up the raft”. 

 

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Hiking to Lastiver Waterfall

Sailing down on a ropeway from the Mt. Teghenis in Tsakhkadzor and cruising along the Sevan Peninsula on the boat. Stopping by the Armenian Stone Alphabet and feeling the history at the base of the mighty Amberd Fortress (Armenia, July 2014)

 

Tsakhkadzor (“Gorge of Flowers” in Armenian) is situated along the southeast side of Mt. Teghenis (2,819m), and the Tsakhkadzor ski resort (1,750m) is located just above the town of Tsakhkadzor, approximately 60 km from Armenia’s capital Yerevan. The architectural complex of Kecharis is the highlight of the town, comprising three churches and three chapels dating back to the 11th century.

 

Lake Sevan is one of the highlights of a visit to Armenia. The lakeshore is lined with sandy beaches, some teeming with activity and resorts, offering water sports such as sailing, jet skiing and windsurfing, and some quiet and secluded. Lake Sevan’s proximity to Yerevan, coupled with its cooler summer temperatures, outstretched blue waters and historic sights make it one of Armenia’s key places to visit.

 

In 2005, the Armenian alphabet celebrated its 1600th birthday. In commemoration, the architect J. Torosyan created the stone carvings of every letter, strategically placing them near the final resting place of the man who created the alphabet, Mesrop Mashtots. This new addition to the landscape is a very popular spot to stop and climb some of the letters for a photo with your favorite letter.

 

The southern slope of Mt. Aragats hosts the 7th century medieval Amberd Fortress, the patrimony of Pakhlavuni princes and one of the few surviving castles in the country. The complex of Amberd Fortress stands at 2,300m above sea level, and includes the defensive walls, the castle, bath and the church.

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Another day in Armenia with our Thai friends

CNN The Silk Road: Past, Present, Future' explores the Armenia's rich tradition of carpet-weaving, a centuries-old craft turned into a multi-million dollar industry.
(November 23, 2015)

 

Traditionally, since ancient times the carpets and tufted rugs were used in Armenia to cover floors, decorate interior walls, sofas, chairs, beds and tables. Up to present the carpets often serve as entrance veils, decoration for church altars and vestry. Starting to develop in Armenia as a part of everyday life, carpet weaving was a must in every Armenian family, with the carpet making and rug making being almost women's occupation.

 

Armenian carpets are unique "texts" composed of the ornaments, where sacred symbols reflect the beliefs and religious notions of the ancient ancestors of the Armenians that reached us from the depth of centuries. The Armenian carpet and rug weavers preserved strictly the traditions. The imitation and presentation of one and the same ornament-ideogram in the unlimited number of the variations of styles and colors contain the basis for the creation of any new Armenian carpet. In this relation, the characteristic trait of Armenian carpets is the triumph of the variability of ornaments that is increased by the wide gamut of natural colors and tints.

 

 

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CNN The Silk Road: Armenian carpets

Booze Traveler | Season 1 Episode 11 | The Armenian Trail (February 02, 2015)
Jack Maxwell travels to another excellent destination for alcohol tourism - Armenia.

 

Armenia produces a remarkable variety of grapes under soil and climate conditions perfect for fermenting excellent dry wines. However, the largest selection of wines are semisweet to sweet dessert wines. Armenians prefer them that way, choosing harder drinks like brandy or vodka over wine at dinners. The dessert wines are not to be underrated though, since they are among the best produced and have begun to win international competitions. Dry and table wines that are particularly good include the red Areni and the honey-colored semisweet Voskevaz.

 

Of all Armenia's alcoholic drinks, the Armenian brandy is its best known product, with the Ararat Brandy Factory factory exporting more than 2 million bottles a month to Russia alone. It's no wonder why, since it is truly one of the best brandies in the world, the only type William Churchill drank (Stalin often complained about Churchill, saying he cared more about his next shipment of Armenian brandy than how the war was going). Armenian brandy won its first Grand Prix Gold Medal in France in 1904, which has been followed by 51 gold, 21 silver and 3 bronze medals over the years.

 

Besides the Russian vodka, traditional local vodkas, usually distilled from fruit are very popular. Honi aragh (Cornelian cherry vodka), Tsirani aragh (apricot vodka) and the most common, the Tuti aragh (mulberry vodka). And the best local beers to try out are the Kilikia, Erebouni, Kotayk, Ararat, Gyumri and Aleksandrapol .

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Booze Traveler Armenia - Alcohol Tourism 2015

Armenia Travel Guide by PLANET DOC (2013)

 

Few nations have histories as ancient, complex and laced with tragedy as Armenia. And even fewer have a culture that is as rich and resilient. This is a destination where you will be intrigued by history, awed by monuments, amazed by the landscape and charmed by down to earth locals.

 

The simply extraordinary collection of medieval monasteries scattered across the country is the number one attraction, closely followed by a dramatically beautiful landscape that is perfectly suited to hiking and other outdoor activities. And then there's the unexpected delight of Yerevan – one of Europe's most exuberant and endearing cities. Put together, they offer an enticing and hugely enjoyable travel experience.

 

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Armenia, the Land of Noah

A program by NDR Fernsehen German television channel (June 22, 2014 broadcast)
Enjoy a sneak preview of a capital city that has managed to preserve its ancient traditions, culture and architecture while integrating the latest innovations and technology.

 

The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC, with the founding of the fortress of Erebuni in 782 BC by king Argishti I at the western extreme of the Ararat Valley. After World War I, Yerevan became the capital of the First Republic of Armenia as thousands of survivors of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire settled in the area. The city expanded rapidly during the 20th century as Armenia became part of the Soviet Union. In a few decades, Yerevan was transformed from a provincial town within the Russian Empire, to Armenia's principal cultural, artistic, and industrial center, as well as becoming the seat of national government.

 

Yerevan is home to dozens of museums, art galleries, concert halls, city parks, churches and many other attractions. The most prominent of these are the National Gallery of Armenia, The State Opera House, The Cafesjian Museum of Art, Sergei Parajanov Museum, The Matenadaran Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, “Ararat” Brandy Factory and Armenian Genocide Memorial.

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Yerevan - Unknown Armenia (in German)

АРМЕНИЯ "ПОЕДЕМ, ПОЕДИМ!" (НТВ РОССИЯ)

 

Армения: головокружительная красота, удивительная музыка и национальная кухня в программе Джона Уоррена "Поедем, поедим!" (НТВ Россия)

Armenia: a stunning beauty, amazing music and traditional cuisine in John Warren's program “Let's go, and let's eat!” (NTV Russia)

 

Given the geography and history of Armenia, the Armenian cuisine is a representative of the cuisine of the Mediterranean and the Caucasus, with strong influences from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and, to a lesser extent, from the Balkans. The glory of Armenian cuisine extends far beyond the country's borders: everyone loves the juicy smoking Khorovats, emitting the magnificent aroma, with baked vegetables, saturated with the smell of coals and the tender cooked Dolma, melting in your mouth - all delicious!

 

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Аrmenia: Let's go, and let's eat! (NTV RUSSIA)

The stunning beauty of the Hunot Canyon and the exquisite splendor of Gandzasar Monastery. The marvelous Noravank Monastery and the medieval Noratus Cemetery along the azure blue waters of Lake Sevan. And in the end, the explosive dinner party at the popular Afrikyanneri Pandok in Yerevan (Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia, September, 2014)

 

Wrapped up in mystery in the heart of the Caucasus, Nagorno-Karabakh remains an enigma, and its natural beauty and cultural heritage makes this unusual region merit a visit. The entire Caucasus region is steeped in ancient history and Nagorno-Karabakh is no exception. With some of its monuments date back for centuries and even millennia, this small complex region boasts a unique cultural heritage.

 

Gandzasar, Dadivank and Amaras monasteries serve as examples of unique medieval architecture that’s typical of old Armenia, characterized by unique stone carving and masonry. Going beyond the medieval monasteries and khachkar cross-stone carvings, the ancient cities of Nagorno-Karabakh are the fantastic destination for those interested in history, culture and architecture.

 

Nagorno-Karabakh gets its name from its mountainous terrain, which dominates most of the country. Towering mountains, bottomless gorges and primeval forests trademark Nagorno-Karabakh’s rebellious nature, which makes it great for adventure travelers and hikers.

 

Like neighboring Armenia, Karabakh has excellent cuisine, as it goes back to antiquity, and as a result, the region has a varied culinary profile, using locally sourced ingredients, with vegetables and meat from the mountains and valleys of Karabakh. The Karabakh fine wines made from indigenous grapes, Khindoghni and Muskat, as well as local berries. You can also try out a Tuti aragh, a strong mulberry vodka, which is typical for the region.

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Armenia-Karabakh Diary

A little vignette from our South Korean friend's visit to Lake Sevan
(Gegharkunik Province, Armenia, May 2014)

 

Many Armenians and tourists come to visit Lake Sevan during July and August to escape the heat and spend some hours or days splashing around its cool, pristine waters. Most of the beaches are privatized and many belong to hotels, but there are also dozen of public beaches with appropriate infrastructure. It is the perfect place to spend some lazy days in the sun and indulge in freshly caught fish in one of the many sea front restaurants.

 

If the lazy beach life is too boring for you, there are lots of historical villages, ancient sites and medieval churches and monasteries for you to visit. You are in the heartland of early Christianity after all! In the north of the western shore, Sevanavank is the most famous tourist destination at Lake Sevan. Once an island, now a peninsula, you’ll find there yet another medieval Christian monument with amazing view over the lake to visit: a monastery, founded in 874 and belonging to it two churches. This was a special place and definitely not a place of joy. Monks were sent here after they had sinned, to repent and to live under even stricter rules than in normal monasteries.

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Armenia - Blue Sevan

In the April of 2013 Phoenix Tour Armenia was hosting the film crew of the biggest South Korean television network, the KBS. Trekking to Mount Ara with Phoenix Tour documentary later went on national primetime, and here is the full version of that broadcast (Kotayk Province, Armenia 2013)

 

Mount Ara, also known as Arai Ler, is a polygenetic stratovolcanic cone in Armenia's Kotayk Province.  Located north of Yerevan, the mountain has a destroyed crater and a base diameter of 9 km at an altitude of 1,900m. Mount Ara named after the early Armenian god and hero king being killed and brought back to life under the mythological circumstances involving the Queen Semiramis.

 

Built into a mossy cave, complete with a sacred spring, there is a shrine of Kuys Varvara (the Virgin Barbara), also known as Tsaghkevank, with saint’s tomb, altar, ferns, and candle vendors. The Vatican has decided that St. Barbara, like St. Christopher, is probably mythical, but if she did exist she was martyred by her cruel father for espousing Christianity, or alternatively snatched away by the angels. The town of Zoravan and a nearby church, Gharghavank, are located along the mountain's lower slopes. The town of Yeghvard is below the mountain.

 

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Armenia – Trekking with Phoenix Tour and KBS

Our South Korean group takes a trip down to Garni Gorge, to see the beautiful basalt columns, typically referred to as the “Symphony of the Stones” (Kotayk Province, Armenia, May 2014)

 

The Goght River in Armenia carves through this beautiful, eye-catching gorge, referred to as Garni Gorge and located next to a village with the same name. To get to the bottom of the gorge breathtaking vertical cliffs, visitors must walk or take a 4x4 car, as the local buses in the area do not make trips down there. The cliffs themselves are extremely beautiful, consisting mainly of well preserved basalt columns. These orderly octagonal columns look almost like an organ, that is why they are called "Symphony of the Stones".

 

The Garni Gorge's unique location is even more unique by the perfectly restored 1st century Hellenistic Garni Temple and palace complex of Garni sitting just above the cliffs. Most visitors from around the world flock to the Garni Temple and the UNESCO World Heritage site Geghard Monastery Complex and the upper Azat Valley, only 7 km to the east.

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Armenia - “Symphony of the Stones”

Our South Korean friends get the benefits of underground cooking: the group took part in a traditional Armenian bread lavash making process at the local house in Garni. And the three layer delicious BBQ assortment grill from tonir was a blast!
(Kotayk Province, Armenia, May 2014)

 

Any traveler to Armenia have tried lavash at some point. The paper thin bread may appear to be a simple concoction of water and flour, seasoned with salt, and the ingredients may be easy to get hold of, but making lavash requires a good deal of dexterity, skill, coordination and expertise, not to mention the right kind of oven!

 

Traditionally made by a small group of women, the dough is dealt out in small balls, which are rolled out into thin discs that are then stretched out on an oval cushion that is then slapped against the hot oven wall. The oven bears resemblance to a well, and the high temperature means the bread only needs 30 seconds to a minute of cooking time against the hot clay wall.

 

Lavash has made it into the UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage of Armenian culture. It’s not only the bread’s unique role in Armenian cuisine, but also the unusual technique for producing it coupled with the role lavash plays in the community that has influenced the local culture.

 

 

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Armenia - Baking lavash in Garni Village

The Polonia Group's wonderful evening at Afrikyanneri Pandok
(Yerevan, Armenia, May 2014)

 

Traveling Armenia had already proved to be a joy to our Polish guests. Much of this comes from the fact that Armenia is an ancient land. Dating back to times of antiquity, Armenia is heralded as the first civilization to adopt Christianity as its official religion. Today, the Republic of Armenia is dotted with churches and monasteries jutting out on the edge of mountain peaks and cliffs, each one more spectacular than the next. For the intrepid, low-budget travelers, with a passion for all things historic, Armenia is a wonderful choice to visit.

 

A week around Armenia can usually leave our guests with a lifetime of stories to tell. And having a dinner in one of the city's popular restaurants, makes for an extremely sociable setting once the sun sets, and it's a wonderful place to make friends, taste the delicious Armenian cuisine, and explode in dancing, along traditional Armenian music.

 

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Yerevan - An Evening with Polonia Group

A Catholic Travel Group from Poland enjoys a dinner at a perennial favorite of the tourists and guests, the Caucasus Tavern in Yerevan (Yerevan, Armenia, April 2013)

 

Armenia may sound like an unconventional destination, but trust us, it is ought to be top on the Poles list of places to visit. Catholic Poles enthusiastically participate in pilgrimages to Christian churches and the monasteries of Armenia. Christianity was brought to the kingdom of Armenia by two of Jesus' Apostles, Thaddeus and Bartholomew in the 1st century A.D., which consequently became the national religion in 301 A.D. Besides the Mount Ararat, now in Turkey, but once part of the ancient Armenian kingdom, is traditionally known as the resting place of Noah's Ark according to the Bible.

 

Our 9-day Classic Armenia tour is a wonderful showcase of the cultural and natural highlights the Armenia has to offer, with a huge helping of beautiful architecture and delicious cuisine to boot.

 

The Caucasus Tavern restaurant is a favorite in that respect, and has an excellent combination of price, quality and service. The menu of the restaurant includes a number of dishes, some of which have endured for centuries as the favorites of Armenians and are still on the list of the most popular dishes. The menu also included the best samples of the Caucasian cuisine that are suitable to our guests’ taste, but are also unique and somewhat different. The interior design of the Caucasus Tavern stands out by its harmony, the comfort, and our guests always feel at home and at ease here, wrapped in the attention of the staff, while enjoying the unparalleled assortment of Armenian dishes and wines.

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Yerevan - The Pilgrim's Group at Caucasus Tavern

Our Polish guests enjoy a moving performance at Geghard Monastery. The chambers of the monastery are an acoustical treasure, which creates an intense spiritual atmosphere and tranquility (Kotayk Province, Armenia, September 2013)

 

While the main chapel was built in 1215, the Geghard Monastery Complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. Geghard literally means “Monastery of the Spear”. The name of the monastery originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, called here Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Echmiadzin’s Cathedral Museum.

 

The Female Choir of St. Geghard Monastery performs on occasion in the inner chambers of the monastery, which have the excellent acoustics. The Choir focuses on the sacred choral music of the ancient Armenia, singing in the basic style of chants from Western Europe (Gregorian, etc.), although it's performed in Grabar (classical Armenian) rather than Latin. The vocals carry beautifully, providing a full texture of sound that's to be envied by any given Christian chant group, as the chants presented are perhaps some of the most ancient Western written music.

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Armenia - Chant at Geghard Monastery II

Some of the highlights of this trip, following the order of the sequences: a duduk playing at Garni Temple, the Armenian brandy degustation at the "Ararat" Brandy Factory in Yerevan, visiting the Khor Virap Monastery at the border with the Turkey, visiting "We Are Our Mountains" monument near Stepanakert in Nagorno-Karabakh, visiting the Tatev and Noravank monasteries, a birthday party in the local Noravank restaurant, and finally, being a part of an amazing soulful performance at the ruins of Zvartnots Temple (Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, April-May, 2014)

 

The oldest surviving building on the territory of Armenia, the 1st century Garni Pagan Temple was built by the Armenian King Tiridates with the money he received after visiting Emperor Nero in Rome, and was dedicated to Sun God Mithra.

 

The Armenian wind instrument duduk is considered the most “Armenian” of all folk instruments, because of its origins and its ability to express the soul of the Armenian people.

 

"Ararat" Brandy Factory is the leading enterprise for the production of the world renowned Armenian brandy.

 

The Khor Virap Monastery is located a few hundred meters from the border with Turkey, on the banks of the river Araks, right at the foot of the majestic Mt. Ararat. Khor Virap is one of the most popular destinations in Armenia, primarily because it is where the St. Gregory the Illuminator, the future head of the Armenian Apostolic Church was imprisoned here for 13 years.

 

"We Are Our Mountains" monument is widely regarded as a symbol of Karabakh’s identity. Made of volcanic tufa, it depicts an old man and woman hewn from rock, representing the mountain people of Karabakh.

 

Built on a fairy tale natural fortress of rock on the edge of the Vorotan Canyon, the 9th century Tatev Monastery is one of the most spectacular and impressive places in Armenia.

 

The 14th century Noravank Monastery is the masterpiece of medieval Armenian architecture, and it was a major religious and cultural center of medieval Armenia, closely connected with many of the local seats of learning.

 

The 7th century Zvartnots Temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site), was destroyed by an earthquake in 930 AD, and was lost to history until its discovery in the early 20th century. The Armenian and Arab historians alike marveled at the beauty of Zvartnots, calling it one of the most beautiful buildings ever built.

 

 

 

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A Polish Group visiting Armenia (Spring 2014)

By the special arrangement of the Phoenix Tour, our Polish Pilgrim priests were able to conduct their own Catholic Mass on the premises of St. Grigor Narekatsi Armenian Catholic Parish in Kanaker (Yerevan, Armenia, April 2013)

 

The Armenian Constitution, as amended in 2005, provides for freedom of religion and the rights to practice, choose, or change religious belief.

 

Within the framework of their trip to Armenia, the Polish Pilgrim priests, have celebrated the Holy Mass on Sunday at the St. Grigor Narekatsi Armenian Catholic Parish, outside Yerevan, in Kanaker. The Catholic Church sees the Mass or Eucharist as "the source and summit of the Christian life", to which the other sacraments are oriented. The Catholic Church believes that the Mass is exactly the same sacrifice that Jesus Christ offered on the Cross at Calvary.

 

The Catholic Church in Armenia is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. The 2011 census counted 13,843 Catholics in Armenia, representing about 0.46% of the total population. Catholics in Armenia belong to two particular churches, the Latin Rite or Western Rite (which includes the vast majority of Catholics worldwide) and the Armenian Catholic Church.

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Mass at St. Grigor Narekatsi Armenian Catholic Parish

The Poles touch and feel the roots of human history at Zorats Karer (The Warrior Stones). Armenia's Stonehenge goes by the name of Zorats Karer or Karahunj, which is 3,500 years older than England’s Stonehenge and 3,000 years older than the Egyptian pyramids (Syunik Province, Armenia, June 2013)

 

The Zorats Karer is one of the best known and most interesting archaeological landmarks in Armenia. Zorats Karer is a prehistoric monument consisting of hundreds of vertically set large stones with holes in the top. In total registered 222 standing stones which are up to 2,8 meters tall and approximately 10 tons heavy. About 84 of the stones feature a circular hole. The phrase Zorats Karer is translated from Armenian as “Worrier Stones” or “Stone Army”. The name Karahunj is interpreted as deriving from two Armenian words: “Kar”, meaning stone, and “Hunj”, meaning sound. Thus the name Karahunj means "Speaking Stones". This interpretation is related to the fact that the stones make whistling sounds on a windy day, presumably because of multiple reach-through holes bored under different angles into the stones in prehistoric times.

 

In 2010, the University of Oxford and the Royal Geographical Society of Great Britain explored Zorats Karer and concluded that this megalithic complex is probably one of the oldest observatories in the world, placing Karahunj in one row with Stonehenge in England and Carnac in France.  The Russian and Armenian archaeoastronomists have suggested that the standing stones could have been used for astronomical observation. Now, whether is an observatory, or just a mythical necropolis, while wandering around the standing stones, you will feel powerful vibes and some strong energy all around the site.

 

On December 2010, Karahunj was featured in an Episode 14 of the History Channel show “Ancient Aliens”, titled “Unexplained Structures”.

 

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Armenia - Visit to Zorats Karer

Our Polish friends enjoy an exciting farewell dinner at a popular local restaurant Afrikyanneri Pandok (Yerevan, Armenia, October 2013)

 

Just nine days ago our Polish guests have arrived in Armenia and the last night's farewell dinner at the Afrikyanneri Pandok restaurant was the climax of their Armenia trip. Watching such a thrilling and emotional farewell party had us wondering how those Poles were feeling as their last night went by. Is this really the last time they visit Armenia, or some will return back and brings some friends along? They’ll still have their memories though, they’ll still be able to replay the mind’s eye video of countless great sights and awe-inspiring tourist attractions in Armenia:

 

The majestic Biblical Mount Ararat and some of the oldest churches and Christian monasteries in the world, the prehistoric Hellenistic Garni Temple and Khndzoresk cave settlement with Stone pyramids of Old Goris, the azure blue waters of Lake Sevan and the ethereal nature of Dilijan, the Matenadaran Institute of Ancient Manuscripts and the Cafesjian Center for the Arts in Yerevan... And of course, the warm hospitality of Armenian people and the delicious Armenian cuisine. We hope you enjoyed Armenia! And we really hope our selection of images and videos on our website www.phoenixtour.org and our Facebook page www.facebook.com/phoenixtour.org will bring back all your wonderful memories.

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Yerevan - Departure Waltz at Afrikyanneri Pandok

By the courtesy of Phoenix Tour our Dutch visitors attend a specially arranged for them live performance of the Armenian traditional music at the House Museum of Aram Khachaturian (Yerevan, Armenia, October 2013)

 

The exquisitely lovely traditional Armenian folk songs were featured at the House Museum of Aram Khachaturian, and the arrangement left our Dutch guests feeling more intimate and personal with Armenian music. The deeply touching renditions of Armenian lullabies in their purest form not only impressed our guests, but to our delight, they went and sang along.

 

The decision of the Armenian Government to convert Aram Khachaturian's private residence into a museum was made still during his lifetime on June 21st, 1976. The residence, which is located on the intersection of Marshal Bagramian Avenue and Zarobian Street, became the worldwide-acknowledged meeting point of Khachaturian's admirers, the connoisseurs of music, the young, the musicians and those simply interested in Khachaturian and his music.

 

The multi-storied building houses an attractive concert hall (with a concert-grand Bechstein piano), where a regular music series takes place. It also houses an extensive library of CDs and a workshop for the restoration and repair of violins. The museum maintains strong links to Armenian musicians and composers and is committed to promoting Armenian music.

 

 

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Performance at the House Museum of Aram Khachaturian

Our friends from South Korea enjoy eating watermelons to cool off at the popular fruit market “Shouka” in Yerevan (Yerevan, Armenia, September, 2013)

 

Yerevan fruit market "Shouka" is a good place to chill after a day of touring, and of course, there's nothing better than eating a watermelon on a hot day! (and our South Korean friends enjoyed every minute of it! )

 

Shoukas in Armenia are fresh food markets, and you owe it to yourself to visit a shouka while here, if for nothing else than sampling the myriad smells of fresh produce. Just visit to the fruit market "Shouka" in Yerevan and enjoy an incredible contrast between colors and activity, ideal to discover why the Armenian cuisine is internationally known due to its ingredients.

 

Pick the best produce from Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh in one place: you will be greeted by vendors of all types asking you to sample their goods – from delicious homemade dried fruits stuffed with nuts, paper thin fruit lavash and grape sujukh (local walnuts threaded on string and dipped in grape molasses) - right through to fresh lavash bread, an organic fruit, vegetables, spices, herbs, honey, wine, cheese, yogurt, freshly butchered meat, fish... just about everything you need! Sellers offer anyone they think might buy, a free sample and you should feel free to taste before buying. There are no fixed prices at a shouka, so bargaining is required and often considered an essential part of the shopping experience.

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Yerevan - Watermelon feast at fruit market 'Shouka'

The mesmerizing chant of our Polish guest at Geghard Monastery. The place is an acoustical treasure and it has such a spiritual atmosphere, that makes you feel an absolute relaxation and tranquility (Kotayk Province, Armenia, August 2013)

 

The Geghard Monastery Complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. Geghard literally means “Monastery of the Spear”. The name of the monastery originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, called here Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Echmiadzin’s Cathedral Museum.

 

The chamber's acoustics of the Geghard Monastery are remarkable, and perfect for religious chant, which sonorous notes drift across the room and seep into the adjoining areas of the monastery. Geghard was renowned as a musical school and was unique in having among its famous composers a woman, Sahakadukht, who composed and taught at the monastery in the 8th century. In those days women were forbidden to be seen by the monks, but Sahakadukht was so famous for her compositions that the Church allowed her to teach students at the monastery, hidden behind a curtain.

 

Visitors and tour groups often bring sacred chanters to Geghard Monastery, so feel free to listen to the exquisite sounds generated from the rooms incredible acoustics. At the back of the gavit, in a lower corner there is a small opening that looks down into the Proshian Sepulcher. It is thought the hole was opened in medieval times so that chanters above could make their music permeate the lower floor.

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Armenia - Chant at Geghard Monastery

A Polish accordion sing-along dinner party at Caucasus Tavern in Yerevan. A relaxed evening scene, but the energy is contagious, showcasing the sweet accordion playing talent of our Polka guest. Thanks for the fond memories! (August 2013)

 

There’s nothing better than settling down, after a day of touring, in a beautiful cozy restaurant in Yerevan, a drink in hand, soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of the evening. It’s no surprise that our Polka guest was an exceptionally talented and sensitive accordion player, as people loved to hear her play. She elevated the atmosphere and provided the perfect evening soundtrack as diners at the Caucasus Tavern sip their wine and sample house specialties, like Khorovats, Kebab and Dolma.

 

The Caucasus Tavern restaurant effortlessly combines aspects of Caucasian cuisine and Georgian cuisine with delicious, traditional Armenian dishes and the results are spectacular! The restaurant is a favorite in that respect, and has an excellent combination of price, quality and service. The interior design of the Caucasus Tavern stands out by its harmony, the comfort, and our guests always feel at home and at ease here, wrapped in the attention of the staff, while enjoying the unparalleled assortment of traditional dishes and wines.

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Yerevan - Accordion party at Caucasus Tavern

Paragliding in Armenia

FLY, EXPLORE AND DISCOVER ARMENIA!

 

Hey! If you're not afraid of heights and are looking for a fun and different experience, try paragliding in Armenia!

 

The combination of weather and geography make Armenia a paragliding paradise with a wide range of possibilities for paragliding. From the exciting Tsovagyugh near the Lake Sevan, to the "birthplace" of Armenian paraglider and hang glider pilots, Mount Hatis - you can find places with all types of winds and weather conditions.

 

You do not need prior knowledge or special skills for these flights. Tandem flights are the easiest and safest way to experience a free flight. It involves a pilot flying with a passenger as a shared adventure. You and the pilot have separate harnesses that are attached by spreader bars to the paraglider wing. The purpose of the tandem flight is to enjoy paragliding as a passenger without being the pilot in command.

 

At Phoenix Tour Armenia we strive to provide our clients with an excellent vacation, flying fantastic sites while having fun and encountering our Armenian culture: the food, the music, the people. You can have a more organized tour, with sightseeing, outdoor activities or only flying. Just email us and we will plan it together. We hope to make it an unforgettable adventure! Come join the fun!