MIR Corporation has added a 21-day journey to Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia. On this itinerary guests can expect to sample natural wines and local cuisine, meet craftspeople who work in clay, stained glass, metal, and wood, share stories and meals in mountain villages, plus enjoy polyphonic singing and traditional instruments as they play the old songs of love and heartbreak.
Here are a few other highlights: on days one-four of the trip, guests will visit Baku, Shemakha, Lahij, and Sheki. Here they’ll explore the narrow stone streets of the charming Old Town in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. In Shemakha, they’ll visit a copper master’s studio where they’ll learn about casting and engraving with malleable metal. In Lahij they’ll enjoy a family meal, and in Sheki they’ll visit a 14th-century architectural preserve, and one of the oldest towns in Azerbaijan. Days five and six are spent in Signai where guests will cross the Georgian border to discover its wine country, Kakheti. Here, they’ll take a walking tour of the vineyards at Pheasant’s Tears Winery, and enjoy a “Georgian Table” feast. Next it’s off to Shenako, Darito where guests will drive a 4WD vehicle into the mountains of the Tusheti region, and overnight in a guesthouse in Shenako, a tiny mountain village on the slope of the Caucasus Mountains, plus participate in a mountain village celebration in Darito. Next, guests spend two days in Tbilisi where they’ll enjoy lunch and wine-tasting in the Sololaki District, visit Georgia’s National Museum where they’ll see the 1.8-million-year-old Homo erectus skulls that were unearthed at Dmanisi. Days 11-13 are spent in Kutaisi, Mestia where they’ll take part in a workshop with a ceramicist who makes qvevri, which is used for fermenting and storing Georgian wines, and then stop at a winemaker’s to enjoy regional wine and snacks. Next they’ll take a drive into the mountains of Svaneti, a remote region of Georgia, which is marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next it’s off to Batumi, Akhaltsikhe, and Vardzia for days 14-16 where they’ll drive from the mountains to the Black Sea, and stop at Batumi. On the drive to Akhaltsikhe guests will pass through a region of pastures and meadows, and stop at a tea plantation and tobacco farm. They’ll also explore the renovated Rabati, and enjoy a meal with a local family, plus walk through the monastery of Vardzia. The final days take guests to Phoka, Gyumri, and Yerevan, where on their way to Armenia they’ll stop at the Phoka Nunnery of St. Nino where they’ll meet the nuns and enjoy a tasting of the cheeses they produce. In Gyumri, they’ll visit a workshop of a metalsmith, and enjoy lunch at a 170-year-old home where meals are served in the old wine cellar. Then in the Armenian capital, they’ll visit the Republic Square, Old Town, and the Mother Armenia statue. They’ll also enjoy an Armenian meal at a local home, and visit a master rug and carpet maker, plus much more. Finally, a farewell dinner will offer guests Armenian folk music and dance.
This itinerary is scheduled for July 29-Aug. 18, 2018; rates start at $7,995.
For more information, visit mircorp.com/trip/village-traditions-of-the-south-caucasus.