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The pontic Alps combined with Mount Ararat

Tour Code : TRE 14

–    Mount Kackar summit 3.937m
–    Georgian churches & original mountain (Yayla) villages
–    Kars & capital of the ancient Armenian kingdom Ani 
–    Mount Ararat summit climb 5.137m
–    Dogubeyazit & Ishak pasha palace
–    Akdamar Island & the holy cross church


Best Season   
Jan / Feb / Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Jul / Aug / Sep / Oct / Nov / Dec


Duration of the Trip
14 Days / 13 Nights


Difficulty Level/walks (treks)
= D/E (Challenging/Demanding)
Kackar Mountains & Mount Ararat summit trek (8 routes on 8 days)


Mt. Ararat Permit
It is necessary for a Mount Ararat climb to apply a Permission (Permit) given by the government.
Therefore it is necessary to confirm your Mount Ararat climb 60 days in advance before the Tour begins and to send us all necessary Personal Details of each Group Member by time to complete all requirements.

Necessary Details we need 60 days in advance:
–           Your full name & surname (as indicated in the passport)
–           Date and place of birth
–           Nationality
–           Passport number
–           Issue & expiry date of passport (please make sure that expiry date is beyond your Travel Dates)


Hotel & Pension    :    8 Nights
Camp                  :    6 Nights

Day 1 : Istanbul

Meet at the Istanbul Ataturk Int. Airport with Demavend Travels representative and drive to the Hotel, located in the historical centre of Istanbul, known as Sultanahmet.
Transfer time: 30 min.; transfer distance: 18 km; (Istanbul Ataturk Int. Airport – Hotel)
ON: in Istanbul at the Hotel
Meals: – / – / – 

Day 2 : Istanbul sightseeing Hagia Sophia, Blue mosque & Topkapi palace

Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, was the hub of the Ottoman Empire, and many of the grand buildings of this period are present today. You could easily spend a week in this city and still not have seen all the sites. Today we will explore the old Sultanahmet Area. We visit the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.  The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) was built between 1609 and 1616. The design of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the culmination of two centuries of both Ottoman mosque and Byzantine church development. It incorporates some Byzantine elements of the neighbouring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. The Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral. The building was a mosque from 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on February 1935. The Topkapi Palace was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years of their 624 year reign. As well as a royal residence, the palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is now a major tourist attraction and contains important holy relics of the Muslim world, including Muhammad’s cloak and sword. The Topkapi Palace is among the monuments contained within the “Historic Areas of Istanbul”, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
ON: in Istanbul at the Hotel
Meals: B / – / –

Day 3 : fly to Erzurum and continue to Kackar mountains Yaylalar village via Tortum waterfalls; Yusufeli & Barhal

In the morning we drive to the Istanbul Ataturk Int. airport and fly to Erzurum and continue from there to o the Kackar Mountains. On the Way, depending on time, it is possible to take a break at the Tortum Waterfalls and to taste cup of traditional Turkish Tea, known as Cay. Afterwards continue to Yusufeli where we will have our Lunch in a local Restaurant. From Yusufeli we drive via Barhal to the Yaylalar village where we spend the Night.
Transfer time: 4 h; Transfer distance: 230 km (Erzurum – Yaylalar village)
ON: in Yaylalar village at the Pension
Meals: B / L / D

Day 4 : Yaylalar village to Dilberduzu campsite via Olgunlar village

Hike along Buyuk Cay Deresi to Dilberduzu, accompanied by horses carrying the luggage. We walk approximately 30min. until we reach the Olgunlar village. From there we follow the walking path and climb on an easy ascend until we reach the Dilberduzu Camp. On the way it is sometimes possible to meet local shepherds grazing their animals during summer season. We spend the Night at the Dilberduzu Camp.
Walking time: 3/4 h; ascent: 640m; descent: 0m;  
ON: at the Dilberduzu campsite (2.840m)
Meals: B / L / D

Day 5: Mount Kackar summit ascent 3.937m & return to Dilberduzu campsite

Today we have an early morning departure (before sunrise) to the Kackar summit. We climb up approximately 2 h until we reach the Deniz Golu Lake at 3.300m. From here we continue to get to the bottom of the Kackar massive for another hour. On our left hand we have the scene of a giant glacier. From here to get on the peak takes another hour, climbing up without any certain path, on sheer rock. With a clear sky, we might see the whole Kackar range and even the Mt. Ararat from a distance. Afterwards we return to the Dilberduzu Camp where we will stay for one more Night.
Walking time: 9/10 h; ascent: 1.097m; descent: 1.097m
ON: at the Dilberduzu campsite (2.840m)
Meals: B / L / D

Day 6 : Descent back to Yaylalar village and continue to Kars

In the morning we descend down to the Yaylalar village and drive from there via Barhal village back to Yusufeli.  After having Lunch in Yusufeli we continue to Kars, the town appears in Roman historiography (Strabo) as part of ancient Armenia. For the etymological origin of the name “Kars”, some sources claim it is derived from the Georgian word “kari”, meaning “the gate” while other sources claim it is from the Armenian word “hars” which means bride. Little is known of the early history of Kars beyond the fact that it had its own dynasty of Armenian rulers and was the capital of a region known as Vanand. At some point in the 9th Century Kars became part of the territory of the Armenian Bagratunis and for a short time Kars became the capital of their kingdom. Depending on arrival time it is possible to visit Kars Castle, also known as the Citadel, sits at the top of a rocky hill overlooking the city. It is said in the Ottoman sources that the castle was rebuilt with the help of one hundred thousand soldiers and workers.
Transfer time: 4 h; transfer distance: 250 km (Yaylalar village – Kars)
Walking Time: 2 h; ascent: 0m; descend: 640m
ON: in Kars at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 7 : Kars & the capital of the ancient Armenian kingdom Ani – Dogubeyazit; sightseeing Ishak pasha palace

In the morning we visit the ancient city of Ani which was the capital of Armenian province in the 9th century. The ruins are 45km away on the eastern border of Armenia. A thousand years ago Ani was the capital of an Armenian kingdom that covered much of present day Armenia and eastern Turkey. Ani had a population of at least 100,000 and its wealth and renown was such that it was known as “the city of 1001 churches”. Built on a spectacular site – a plateau encircled by deep ravines – Ani’s many churches, palaces, and fortifications were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world at that period.  After lunch we will head to Dogubeyazit, a settlement with a long history. It lies 15 km southwest of Mount Ararat and 35 km from the Iranian border. The area has had a rich history since it was settled during the times of the first Armenian Kingdom of Urartu. The Area was subsequently conquered by Persians, Romans, Arabs and Byzantines all of whom would have used the plain to rest and recoup during their passages across the mountains. In Dogubeyazit we take time to visit Ishak Pasha Palace. The palace is built on a hill at the side of a mountain 5 km (3 mi) east of Dogubeyazit. It was the last large monumental structure in the Ottoman Empire from the “Lale Devri” period. It is one of the most distinguished and magnificent examples of the 18th century Ottoman architecture and is very valuable in terms of art history.
Transfer time: 3 h; Transfer distance: 225 km (Kars – Dogubeyazit via Ani)
ON: in Dogubeyazit at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 8 : Ascent to Mount Ararat Camp I (Base camp) 3.200m

After Breakfast we load our luggage and camping equipment on our vehicle and drive via Topcatan village to Eli Village (2.000m), Between 2.000 and 2.400m (according to road conditions) we will start walking. Our luggage will be carried by mules and horses which will be arranged in advance, we have only to carry our own daily bags. On the way it’s possible to meet some semi nomadic families, who use the fresh green Plateaus of the Mt. Ararat for their sheep flocks. We walk to our first Camp Side (Base Camp) which is established at a high of 3.200m.
Walking time: 4 h; ascent: approximately 1.200m (depending on road conditions & starting point)
ON: at Mount Ararat base camp 3.200m
Meals: B / L / D

Day 9 : Acclimatization Day; ascent to Camp II (High camp) 4.200m & return to Camp I (Base camp) 3.200m

Today we will walk up to 4.200m for acclimatisation. High altitude is defined as altitudes greater than 3.000m and AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) may appear above this level. After easy ascent we will arrive at the Kum Kamp at a high of 3.7000m where will have time to take a break. Afterwards we go on ascend to 4.200m where will have our second Camp (High Camp) on next day. At 4.200m we will take time to have a Picnic. We descent down to our Base Camp at 3.200m and prepare ourselves for the next day to move up to Second Camp.
Walking time: 5/6 h; ascent/descent: 1.000m
ON: at Mount Ararat base camp 3.200m
Meals: B / L / D

Day 10 : Ascent to Camp II (High camp) 4.200m

In the morning we ascend up to the second campsite at a height of 4.200m. After reaching the campsite, we set up our tents and we take a little rest. In the afternoon we can go higher to get acclimatized (optionally). We will have dinner today a bit earlier; we will go sleeping early in the evening, because we have to wake up very early in the Morning to begin our Mt. Ararat Summit climb.
Walking time: 3/4 h; ascent: 1.000m; descent: 0m
ON: at Mount Ararat high camp 4.200m
Meals: B / L / D

Day 11 : Mount Ararat summit ascent 5.137m & return to Camp I (Base camp) 3.200m

Between 2:00 and 2:30 in the morning we will have breakfast and start walking between 3:00 or 3:30 to get a good view at the sunrise on the top. After a very hard ascent, because of the steep slopes, we will reach the Glacier at 4.750m. After we fixed our Crampons we continue our ascent till we reach the Summit of the Mt. Ararat. If the weather is clear we can see the Mt. Damavand in Iran, the Elbrus in the Caucasus and the Kackar Mountains near the Black Sea. We enjoy the great panoramic view from the Summit and afterwards start descending to our Base Camp at 3.200m.
Walking time: 9/10 h; ascent: 937m; descent: 1.937m
ON: at Mount Ararat base camp 3.200m
Meals: B / L / D

Day 12 : Camp I (Base camp) 3.200m descent back to Dogubeyazit & drive to Van

In the morning we descend to the village of Eli; near the village our vehicle awaits us and we drive down to Dogubeyazit. After having Lunch in Dogubeyazit we drive to the city of Van. Archaeological excavations and surveys carried out in the Van province and environs prove that the history of the city itself goes back as far as 5000 B.C. Under the ancient name of Tushpa, Van was the capital of the Urartian kingdom in the 9th century BC. Today Van is more known as “The Pearl of the East” because of the beauty of its surrounding landscapes.
Transfer time: 2/3 h; transfer distance: 180 km (Dogubeyazit – Van)
Walking time: 3 h; ascent: 0m; descent: between 800 and 1.200m
ON:  in Van at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 13 : Van sightseeing; Van castle (citadel) and Akdamar Island & church

After breakfast  we take time to visit Van Castle (Citadel) and Akdamar Island.  Van Castle (Citadel); was constructed by Urartian king Sardur. It is a massive stone fortification built during the 9th to 7th centuries BC and is the largest example of its kind. It overlooks the ruins of Tushpa, the ancient Urartian capital during the 9th C., which was centred upon the steep sided bluff where the fortress now sits. One of the most remarkable structures around is the rock tomb of Argisti the first, outside which is a long inscription relating the events of his reign.  Akdamar Island & church; we drive to Gevas town and take a Ferryboat to visit Akdamar Island, a small island in Lake Van which is home to a 10th Century Armenian Church, known as the Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross and were the seat of an Armenian Catholics from 1116 to 1895. The unique importance of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross comes from the extensive array of bas-relief carving of mostly biblical scenes that adorn its external walls. We spend the Night in Van at the Hotel.
Transfer time: 2/3 h; transfer distance: 180 km (Dogubeyazit – Van)
Ferryboat transfer: 20/25 min. to Akdamar Island / one way
ON: in Van at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 14 : Van – Home

Transfer to Van airport where the Trip concludes.
Transfer time: 15 min.; Transfer distance: 10 km (Hotel – Van airport)
Meals: B / – / –

ON = Overnight accommodation / B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner

Price Includes
–    All transfers and transportations with private vehicles to the places mentioned in the Itinerary
      Days 1& 3: One (one way) arrival/departure transfer from/to Istanbul Ataturk Int. airport/Hotel in Sultanahmet
      Transfers in Istanbul valid for Istanbul Ataturk Int. airport only/Extra transfer cost will be charged for each transfer
      Day 14: One (one way) departure transfer from/to Hotel in Van /Van airport
–    Demavend Travel English speaking Tour Leader/Mountain Guide
–    Hotel & Pension accommodations, rooms on double/twin share base;
      Bed & Breakfast (BB) and Half Board (HB) service; Important: HB Dinner Service available until 20:30/21:00 h
–    13 x Breakfast, 11 x Lunch (Lunch Packages & Restaurants where available), 11 x Dinner
–    All necessary Camping Equipment’s (Tents, Mattresses, necessary Kitchen Gears & Dinnerware)
–    Ararat Permit Fees


Price Excludes
–    All International and Domestic Flights
–    Travel insurance
–    Extra Transports and transfers other than stated in the Itinerary
–    All kind of Soft and Alcoholic drinks, Bottled Water, Tea & Coffee
–    Meals other than stated in the Itinerary
–    All kind of personal expenses
–    All kind of Entrance fees for historical and natural sites
–    Day 13: Ferryboat from Gevas to Akdamar Island & church
–    All kind of optional activities
–    Extra Nights
–    Single supplements
–    Single Tents
–    Personal Equipment
–    Tips