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STILL SPACE WITH SOPHIA’S TRAVEL TO GEORGIA+ARMENIA -- CULTURAL, CULINARY, JEWISH HERITAGE
Industry: Tours       

A Few Spaces Remain on Sophia's Travel's Cultural, Culinary, and Jewish Heritage Tour to the Caucasus Countries of Georgia and Armenia - Georgia: May 27-June 5, 2017, 10 days / 9 nights; Armenia: June 5-9, 2017, 5 days / 4 nights

(TRAVPR.COM) UNITED STATES - January 27th, 2017 - Palm Harbor, FL … September 5, 2016 --The Jewish Travel Agency and its sister company, Sophia’s Travel, winner of the 2016 Travvy Gold Award for Best Small Retail Travel Agency, announce a new Cultural and Culinary Tour to Georgia and Armenia, with a special emphasis on Jewish Heritage. The tour will visit Georgia for 10 days / 9 nights, May 27-June 5, 2017, with an optional overland extension to Armenia for 5 days / 4 nights, June 5-9, 2017.

According to the travel industry website TravelPulse, “Heritage Travel is the ‘Next Big Thing’.” For Sophia Kulich, a Jew, who emigrated from the former Soviet Union, Jewish heritage has been her passion. The tour is based upon a minimum of six persons. 

The starting is $2,650 per person double occupancy for Georgia with an additional $1,420 per person double occupancy for Armenia.

Says Sophia, “Participants will savor delicious regional food and wine, marvel at magnificent scenery and architecture, immerse themselves in local history and Jewish culture, and return with a rich appreciation for these countries that, 25 years ago, were hidden behind the Soviet Union’s iron curtain and thus a mystery to most Americans.”

The Georgia tour highlights both Jewish and Georgian sites and culinary and cultural experiences, such as:

Walking in the Old town of Tiblisi with its eclectic mix of orthodox churches, mosques and synagogue, including a visit the Georgian Synagogue and Jewish prayer house, along Rustaveli Avenue, built 1895-1903.

* Visiting the David Baazov Museum of the History of the Jews of Georgia, the National Museum of Georgia, with its permanent exhibition, The
Archaeological Treasury, and the Stalin Museum in Gori, the former Soviet Premier’s birthplace.

*Encountering Jewish cemeteries dating from the 1st to 8th centuries in Mtskheta near Samtavro Nunery.

*Exploring the remains of the once vibrant Jewish community in Kutaisi, especially the main street running through the Jewish quarter. The street used to be called Shaumyan Street, but today it’s called Boris Gaponov Street, after the man who translated Rustaveli's, The Knight in the Panther's Skin into Hebrew. There are three synagogues along this street. More than 1000 Jewish families emigrated to Israel after independence in 1991.

*Visiting numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites known for ancient rock-hewn towns, co-existing pagan and Christian architecture, and cultural history dating back to the 1st to 8th centuries. Towns include:Mtskheta, Kutaisi, Mestia, Ushguli (the whole Upper Svaneti), and Uplistsikhe. The Svaneti in particular is known for its picturesque landscape – dominated by mountains with deep gorges, a thick forest zone, and meadows above 3,000 feet – and its architectural treasures. The Svanetian watch towers, erected in the 9th -12th centuries are an exceptional example of mountain scenery with medieval-type villages and tower-houses. They were often family-built and served to protect against invaders for centuries. The Svan culture itself survives most wonderfully in its songs and dances. Svanetia boasts the most complex form of Georgian polyphonic singing, experienced, of course, on this tour.

*Beholding magnificent landscapes, such as the Kakheti region bordering the 3,000-meter-high Great Caucasus range from the north Alazani Valley, famous for its carpet-making and as the birthplace of Georgian viticulture. At least 500 varieties of wine are produced, beneath breathtaking views. 

*Dining and wine tasting at the Tsinandali Family Estate and wine cellar, which once belonged to the 19th century aristocratic poet Alexander Chavchavadze. The residence consists of summer home, garden and winery, featuring several vintages of white wine. 

*Taking a Master Cooking Class at a traditional Georgian restaurant. 

*Visiting the local farmers’ market in Telavi, with samplings of a variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses.

*Baking Georgian bread, making Churchkhela – a natural candy produced from grape juice and nuts, and witnessing the preparation of the famous Georgian barbecue Mtsvadi.

*Joining a pottery workshop in the village of Shrosha.

Here, every single family works on pottery, and the village is the main supplier of wine making vessels, pitchers and “Qvevri” – a distinctive, local wine jar. Wine made in Qvevri is recognized as an intangible world heritage.

*Therapeutic immersion into the Georgian Sulphur Baths - high in Sulphur and other minerals, with a constant temperature of 38C to 40C (additional fee).

Armenia Tour Highlights Include:

*A home visit and lunch with local Molokans (Russian for “Milk drinkers”), a minority Christian sect, exiled by the Russians, who began settling here since the 17th Century. They are famous for their tasty, marinated pickles.

*Touring the village of Odzoun with honey tasting. See how the locals cultivate their orchards or gather harvest. Visit the house of one of the locals to taste the sweetest honey in the region accompanied by Armenian mint tea.

*An overnight in the 1200 m altitude spa and resort town of Dilijan (locally called Armenian Switzerland) in Tavoush region, blanketed by a deep and dense forest, with astonishingly rich vegetation.

*Driving along the ancient Silk Road, from Sevan to Noravank via Selim pass, one of the best preserved Caravanserais in Armenia.

*A meal in cottages resembling the archetypically traditional Armenian houses. 

*Exploring a 6100-year-old winery, recently discovered in a cave in Areni, a village famous for its viticulture in this relatively hot and dry part of Armenia. 

*Beholding biblical Mount Ararat and Khor Virap Monastery 

*Participating in a brandy degustation at the legendary Yerevan Brandy Factory, where they have been producing brandy since 1887, with some of the oldest brandies are still kept in barrels. 

*Attending a Duduk performance in Garni temple, the only pagan temple remaining in Armenia since the adoption of Christianity. The Duduk is a double-reed woodwind flute that has been played in Armenia for 3,000 years. In 2005, it was proclaimed by UNESCO as Masterpiece of Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

*Witnessing the baking of Armenian “Lavash” bread in an underground traditional oven called a Tonir.

*Exploring Matenadaran, the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, where you can find 18,000 ancient manuscripts in various fields of study -- the richest and oldest collection, not only in Armenian but also Arabic, Georgian, Persian, and other languages.

*Visiting the Genocide Memorial and Museum in the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex high on a hill in Yerevan. It is dedicated to the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who perished in the first genocide of the 20th century, at the hands of the Turkish government. 

*Learning the process of rug production and viewing rugs dating back to the middle ages at the Megeryan family’s carpet factory

*Visiting the Cross of Armenian Unity, an NGO founded after independence in 1991, providing humanitarian assistance to orphans. Here participants take part in carpet weaving or preparing traditional Armenian culinary dishes, and they can explore the owner’s winery, where he himself makes wine and keeps it in the big barrels.

Hotels Include: 

The best available in each city …
In Georgia: the 5-star Tiblisi Marriott, the 3-star Hotel Argo Inn in Kutaisi, the Hotel Seti (or similar) in Mestia, Svaneti. 

In Armenia: the 4-star Hotel Dilijan Resort 4* (or similar), the 5-Star Hotel Royal Tulip in Yerevan. All tips for guides, drivers, and restaurants are included. 

A link to the complete itinerary is here:

For more information, Contact:

Sophia Kulich, Owner of Sophia’s Travel at: Sophia@sophiastravel.com or info@jewishtravelagency.com

END 

Sophia’s Travel is an award-winning travel agency and travel consulting service specializing in Jewish Heritage Travel, Food & Wine, and Cultural Travel, especially in Western and Eastern Europe, and the republics for the former Soviet Union.

Press Contact: Marian Goldberg
Marian Goldberg Markting Communications
marian@mariangoldbergcomm.com; 1-347-559-MGMC (6462)

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Name: MARIAN GOLDBERG
Company: Marian Goldberg Marketing Communications
Phone: 1-347-559-6462
Email: 
marian@mariangoldbergcomm.com
Web: www.sophiastravel.com/
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