A SHORT BUT INTENSIVE TRIP FOCUSSED ON SOVIET ARCHITECTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DECAY
Yerevan – Gyumri – Alaverdi – Dilijan – Sevan
Regular monthly departures: this tour is offered regularly once a month. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the ask-us button below and we will match your preferences with the relevant scheduled group departure. If you are unsure about the month you wish to travel in, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will give you a wide range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with friends and there are 5 or more of you, you can set your own dates and we will organise a tour just for you without charging any additional fee. If you are travelling solo or with less than 4 companions we will organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
Beware: this is a tour with an extremely strong focus on Soviet Architecture. If you are more into classic attractions (i.e. monasteries, ruins, churches, temples and museums) and/or natural wonders (gorges, lakes and gentle slopes alike), we can easily design a bespoke itinerary according to your own specific preferences. Get in touch for more details on our tailored routes in Armenia.
DAY 1 - Yerevan
In the morning you will meet your tour guide in the lobby of the designated hotel (exact hotel address and meeting time will be communicated well in advance per email; private airport pickup and shuttle service available for a small additional fee).
Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling in Armenia.
In the company of local architecture photographers and students we will enjoy a comprehensive Soviet Architecture of the city, that will include both early examples of Soviet constructivism and neoclassicism and later modernist and internationalist buildings, as well as a selected compendium of pre-Soviet architectural wonders.
We'll also go truly off the beaten path and visit the hinterland district of Malatia Sebastia, aka Bangladesh, a real-life compendium of Soviet urbanist theories and practices.
We strongly advise to order your own copy of Architectural Guide Yerevan edited by DOM Publishers, as a perfect introduction to the tuff and concrete shapes of the city.
Lunch, dinner and overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 2 - Gyumri
Making an half-loop along the barren and desolate western side of the Aragats Massif and crossing remote hamlets and surreal wastelands, we'll reach the northern city of Gyumri, which was almost completed destroyed by the apocalyptic 1988 earthquake and later rebuilt in a mixture of Soviet, pre-Soviet and post-Soviet architectonic styles.
As in Yerevan, we'll meet in Gyumri with local architecture geeks and enjoy with them a comprehensive tour of both the most representative buildings and the lesser known hidden gems, such as the mesmerising Iron Fountain in the outskirts of town.
Dinner and overnight in Gyumri.
DAY 3 - Alaverdi
Today we'll move to the green and fresh northeast of the country and head to the quintessentially Soviet mining town of Alaverdi, close to the border with neighbouring Georgia.
Besides the routine pauses for photography, food and toilet, we'll break the journey in two architectonically interesting little cities along the way: Spitak, completely razed to the ground by the grand earthquake and consequentially rebuilt from scratch in a functional and yet traditional style, and Vanadzor, a city of industrial decay and provincial sleepiness.
After a scenic drive along the Debed Canyon, we'll eventually arrive in Alaverdi, where we'll enjoy a tour around both the steampunk and slightly unsettling downtown and to the pretty hilltop churches of Haghpat and Sanahin.
We'll also pay a visit to the Soviet Air Force museum dedicated to Artyom Mikoyan, a local aerospace engineer and one of the main designers of the legendary MiG.
Dinner and overnight in Alaverdi.
DAY 4 - Dilijan
From Alaverdi we'll move south to Dilijan, a famous golden-era retreat for the Soviet intelligentsia.
We'll spend a full day in the area visiting both ancient Armenian monasteries and modern Soviet constructs.
We'll also visit the traditional villages of Fioletovo and Lermontovo, home to one of the largest Molokan communities of the Southern Caucasus: the Molokans are a pacific Christian Orthodox sect that reject the comfort of modernity and live a simple, hard and happy life in almost complete isolation: a post-Soviet version of the Pennsylvania's Amish.
Dinner and overnight in Dilijan.
DAY 5 - Sevan
From Dilijan we'll head to the USSR-wide famous Sevan Lake, the Armenian Ocean.
As always, we will focus our tour on Soviet architecture and socialist heritage, but of course we won't forget to pay a visit to the pretty twin monasteries of Surp Arakelots and Surp Astvatsatsin on the Sevanavank Peninsula: a classic postcard image from Armenia's most renowned corner.
On the Soviet side we'll instead visit both true architectonical gems such as the Writers House (a unique modernist masterpiece) and decaying socialist urban experiments such as the Plattenbau-towns of Sevan and Gagarin.
In the evening we'll eventually drive back to the capital for a conclusive Soviet dinner in the outskirts of the city.
Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 6 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
After enjoying a last Armenian-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
For those flying out: we will arrange transfer to Yerevan International Airport.
For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations: we will arrange transport to the local train/bus station.
End of the tour.
4 to 9 participants: 990 €
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 18 euro/night), private transport in the region (car or minivan), entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, transport to and from the airport of arrival/departure (35 euros/ride), visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.
The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility.
Please note: It’s advisable to arrive in Yerevan one day before the actual tour begins. You should notice, however, that you’ll have to take care of your accommodation for any day and night preceding the actual start date of the tour. Without any additional charge we will readily and gladly reserve a room for you at our hotel of choice and you’ll be able to pay for it by cash or credit card once you check-in. If your flight lands on the same day as the tour begins and you prefer to rest a bit before going out sightseeing, you will then meet your tour guide and the rest of the group at the designated hotel in the late afternoon.
Airport pickup in Yerevan is available for just 35 euros per ride.
WHERE THE HECK AM I TRAVELLING TO?
BELOW YOU CAN SEE THE DIFFERENT TOUR STAGES MARKED ON A MAP OF THE REGION YOU ARE GOING TO EXPLORE WITH US
POSSIBLE TOUR COMBINATIONS FOR THIS ITINERARY INCLUDE
Iraqi Kurdistan and/or Soviet Georgia