Welcome to Noravank

The smaller Surp Karapet Church (1227) next to Surp Astvatsatsin is the original shrine built by the miracle-working Bishop Hovhannes. Noravank once treasured a piece of the True Cross stained with the blood of Christ, acquired from a mysterious stranger. The side chapel of St Gregory includes a carved lion-human tombstone dated to 1300.

There are picnic spots and springs around Noravank, as well as an excellent restaurant by the car park. The valley really warms up in the middle of a summer’s day, so come early, or late in the afternoon. During medieval summers the monks of Noravank retired to a mountain retreat. The site is at its most spectacular around sunset when the reddish hues of the cliffs are accentuated by the setting sun.

Noravank features on many travel-agency tours from Yerevan, about 90 minutes away by road – many combine a visit with a stop at Khor Virap and a winery. Public transport from Yerevan or Yeghegnadzor takes you as far as the turn-off on the highway, 6km from Noravank. Get out at the Edem restaurant and hitch the rest of the way, a fairly easy process on weekends.

About 4km from the turn-off to Noravank is an unusual cave-cafe dug out of the side of the cliff. There is no sign, but you’ll see the metal grating between the boulders on the right side of the road.

Top experiences in Noravank

Noravank activities

$25.45 Day Trips & Excursions

Small-group Tour Khor Virap, Areni Cave, Noravank, Areni Winery, Traditional Lunch

Although there are various historical landmarks in Armenia, the oldest and most well-known is probably the Biblical Mount Ararat. This is why our tour promises a spectacular view from the closest spot possible.The Khor Virap monastery is located about an hour’s drive away from the capital Yerevan, and offers an amazing view of Armenia’s defining symbol – the majestic Ararat. “Khor Virap” translates as “deep dungeon”, and was built of the place of the former royal prison, located on the historical site of Artashat.  It was this very prison in which they kept Gregory the Illuminator, the first Armenian Catholicos, for a whole 13 years. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this place is one of the most sacred spots for Armenians around the world. Likewise, it’s also the closest point to the Mount Ararat from Armenia; very often this spot becomes the number 1 reason to visit our country!Aside from Khor Virap, another place that can’t be missed is Noravank. It is one of the gems of medieval Armenian architecture, nestled high among the stunning brick-red cliffs in the end of the Gnishik Canyon.  Here you will see the one and only depiction of God the Father in Armenia, which is just as astonishing as the face of Jesus Christ that appeared on the dome of the Church’s narthex. Built by Orbelian noblemen, it stands out among our churches as the sepulcher of this noble family, making it unique since it was absolutely prohibited to bury people inside a church since the 5th century.A 15 minutes’ drive back from the monastery of Noravank will take you to the Bird’s Cave. In 2008, archeologists discovered several of the world’s oldest artifacts, including a leather shoe and a winery. The site, overlooking Arpa River near the town of Areni, is claimed to date mostly to the Early Bronze Age (around 5,000-6,000 years ago). It also contains evidence of elaborate burial rituals and agricultural practices.What concerns the “finishing touch” to this tour, you will be given a chance to taste and even purchase Armenia’s renowned Areni wine made from the oldest grape variety in the whole world. The wine is available in several wineries in the actual town of Areni. There will be traditional lunch served in a local restaurant.

$100 Private & Custom Tours

One Day Private Trip to Khor Virap, Noravank and Tatev Monasteries

Drive through the pretty Ararat Valley to the 4th century monastery Khor Virap, where you will enjoy the view of Mt. Ararat (to be honest there are lots of places, where you can enjoy the view, but each of them is unique). Ararat is the mountain, which will let you feel where your ancestors come from. “Khor Virap” means “deep dungeon”, where was a royal prison in the 4th century, here the first Armenian Catolicos Gregory the Illuminator was detained.Continue your tour to Noravank monastery with its intricate carvings. Here you will find the only depiction of God. You can also notice the face of Jesus Christ appeared on the dome of the narthex.Also visit the 7th century monastery of Tatev, which was an educational and spiritual center. You will reach the monastery by the cable car. The ropeway is the longest in the world and if you are looking for unforgettable adventures in the air and want to fly, you don’t need planes! Wings of Tatev will take you to the sky!

$990 Cultural & Theme Tours

10-Day Exploration of Armenia and Nagorno Kharabagh

Day 1: Arrival at Zvartnots International airport, pick up to your hotel . Day 2: After breakfast you will be taken to Garni pagan temple which is the only pagan temple remaining in Armenia, then afterwards is a visit to Gegard monastery, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Return back to Yerevan which 45 min drive. 4-5 hours the tour duration . Day 3: After breakfast we'll have a city tour ,the next stop will be Ararat -Noy konyak factory with degustation of wine and Konyak. Excurison in the factory, with old tunnels and walls of historical Yerevan. Afterwards you'll  be transfered to hotel ( 4-6 hours ) Day 4:The tour program continues to Khor Virap monastery, the closest place to enjoy the view to mount Ararat . we continue the drive  to Areni winery , where you can enjoy the wine made from endemic type of grape Areni. The next stop is Noravank monastery which before moving to  Shaqi waterfal  in 1.5 hours , 10 minute walk is needed to be at the waterfall, Then we move to Halidzor Village. Taking the cable car we visit Tatev monastery . The overnight for this day will be in Goris. Day 5: We move to Artsakh republic or Mountinous Kharabagh . To the border 2 hourrs drive through the mountious road , After crossing the border we drive to Hunot Canyon, or like the locals are calling "The Umbrellas" . 30-40 min walk is needed through the forest to reach the goal , a wild beauty  is waiting for us there . Walking back to the car driving to  Shoushi ,  Ghazacheconts Cathedral, overnight in Shoushi.Day 6:Breakfast in the hotel , then we move to the symbol of Artsakh , the statue of Mamik And Babik, after some photos we move to Gandzasar monasterry and a rock created lion. Moving to Stepanakert . Overnight here .Day 7:The first stop for today will be the Dadivank monastery , which in  a perfecvt harmony with nature. Then driving to Armenia. The next stop will be Qarvansaray , famous as Selim pass or the silk road. Then we'll move to Lake SEvan before returning to Yerevan . Day 8:Free day in Yerevan to peruse the city at your leisure.Day 9. Visiting the Hripsime CHurch , Echmiatsin Cathedral which is the most ancient christian cathedral in world, the visiting the Zvartnots ruins, before returning to Yerevan.Day 10: The tour program is over, and you'll be transported from the hotel to the airport.

$155 Private & Custom Tours

Private Tour to Khor Virap, Areni Cave, Winery (wine degustation), Noravank

Take trip to Khor Virap Monastery (IV-XVIII th cc.). This monastery is very prominent because of its history: Gregory the Illuminator, who introduced Christianity to Armenia, has been imprisoned here about 13 years as at that time there was a prison in the place of the monastery. Here we can enjoy the spectacular view of the sacred Ararat Mountain - an immortal symbol of Armenia.After this we will continue our tour to Areni village where located T'rchunneri (Birds) Cave and Areni Winery. The excavation is located above the Arpa River, inside a Karst Cavern made from tens of thousands of years of mineral water dripping into limestone crevices; it consists of three rooms or halls, the first two of which are connected by passageways. There are also niches and “basement” and “attic” floors opening upward and downward from the first room. The total area of the cave is about 500 square meters. 2007-2008 excavations of the first room and surrounding area uncovered layers of material culture dating to different periods of the Copper (chalcolithic) and Stone Ages. Based on the results of radiocarbon examination, samples taken from these layers (bone fragments, coal, fabric pieces, seeds and other organic residues) are traced back to late 5th- early 4th millennium BCE.At the Areni winery you will try different sorts of wine and will have chance to buy souvenirs and wine.Heading to Noravank, a monastery of XIII century, situated among amazing sheer rocks on the bench of a twisty gorge. The monastic complex includes the church of S. Karapet, S. Grigor chapel with a vaulted hall, and the church of S. Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God). Ruins of various civil buildings and khachkars are found both inside and outside of the compound walls. Noravank was the residence of the Orbelian princes. The architect Siranes and the miniature painter and sculptor Momik worked here in the latter part of the thirteenth and early fourteenth century. This is the only monastery where we may find a unique sculpture of Father God. The monastery is best known for its two-storey Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) church, which grants access to the second floor by way of a narrow stone-made staircase jutting out from the face of building.

$715 Multi-day & Extended Tours

New Year in Armenia - 7 days

Day 1 – City Tour (Dec. 31) Arrival to the capital of Armenia – Yerevan city. Transfer from Zvartnots Airport to Hotel. City Tour: Driving to the Victory Park, Statue of Mother Armenia, Cascade, Opera House and Republic Square. Visiting also Tsitsernakaberd Memorial complex devoted to the victims of Armenian Genocide. Lunch. Visiting New Year Market on the Northern Avenue. Free time. New Year Celebration in club or restaurant with beautiful show. Day 2 – New Year in Yerevan (Jan. 1) Free Day Day 3 – Mountains (Jan. 2) Driving to Kotayk province and visitind a Cave Monastery of Holy lance Geghard, which was built in the 13th century. From 2000 monastery is included in Unesco Heritage list. Tour to pagan temple Garni – the only one that remain on the territory of Armenia after declaration the Christianity as a main religion in 301. The temple was constructed in 77 AD and is devoted to the God of the Sun Mitra. Lunch near Garni village in a villager’s house. Ceremony of baking lavash in tonir. Day 4 - Ararat Valley (Jan. 3) Heading to Khor Virap Monastery with a spectacular view to Bible mountain – Ararat 5135 m. On the territory of monastery are located two prisons. In this prison was tortured and kept Gregory the Illuminator who spend here more than 13 years. After heading to the South of country and visiting Noravank monastery complex constructed in 13-14th. Nearby is located a Bird’s cave where in 2008 the oldest shoe in the world was discovered. Wine degustation in Areni wine village. Lunch in Ljak restaurant. Day 5 - Nature (Jan. 4) Driving to Gegharqunik region, where is located lake Sevan, the pearl of our country. Lake Sevan is the biggest water covered area in Armenia and the highest lake in Caucasus. On the peninsula of the lake, you will be able to see two churches constructed in 9th century, which are symbolizing the victory of Armenians during Arab invasion. Heading to ski resort Tsaghadzor, located on the 1750 m. above the sea level. You can rent skies, motor bikes, explore mountains. The city is located in gorge and the name of the city is translated like a gorge of flowers. Lunch. Day 6 - Pilgrimage (Jan. 5) Visiting one of 12 old capitals of Armenia Vagharshapat city, now renamed as Echmiadzin. Echmiadzin is the center of Christianity in Armenia and the residence of the Head of the church. Cathedral of Holy Mother of God(4th century) is the main sightseeing place here. Driving to St. Hripsime and St. Gayane churches. After going to ruins of Zvartnots temple, which constructed in 7th century as a new residence for the Head of the church. Also included in Unesco's Heritage list. Evening Christmas celebration according to Armenian tradition. Day 7 - Departure to Airport (Jan. 6)

$72.29 Private & Custom Tours

Private tour to Khor Virap and Noravank monasteries and Areni winery

During this tour you can visit the monastery of Khor-Virap, which is a very famous place in Armenia. Here in Khor-Virap monastery was imprisoned Gregory Illuminator who was spreading Christianity in Armenia and because of whom Armenia became the first country which accepted Christianity as an official religion in 301 AD. Afterwards, visit another region of Armenia that is very famous for its wine producing traditions, and according to recent discoveries in this region in a little cave were found the oldest wine pots in the world. It is already a fact that Armenia is the first country in the world known for its wine producing. After, have lunch in a local restaurant. After having lunch you will visit “Birds cave” - a natural cave in which archeologists found the oldest winery in the world and it is already 6100 years old. After, visit Noravank monastery, which is one of the masterpieces of medieval Armenian architecture. After this long but beautiful trip, return to Yerevan.

Noravank in detail