Everything You Need To Know About The “Holy Lance” Excursion Program
18 May, 2022

● Route Length: 23KM - one way
● Duration: 4-4.5 hours
● Seasonality: all year round
● Type: private
● Price: varying
● Language: multiple

With the ease of traveling in the 21st century and the technological advances in the
health sector around the world, it is a no-brainer for someone who’s looking for
high-quality affordable medical services to look outside their hometown. In fact, recently
there has been a growing trend of what we call “medical tourism.”

To give it a formal definition, the term refers to travel outside one’s home country for the
purpose of receiving high standards of healthcare whilst benefiting from the touristic
aspect of the destination.

Which brings us to the question - why not learn about a new culture and create
memorable experiences like no other all while you receive the special care you need?

Why Armenia?

Located at the intersection of the East and West and known for its rich history,
cosmopolitan culture, delicious food, and breathtaking nature, Armenia has been a
favorite destination for medical tourism for quite some time now. This is evident as the
number of visitors is gradually increasing each and every year.

Keep in mind that your surrounding will also leave a significant impact on your overall
health but rest assured visitors to Armenia can feel comfortable knowing they are in a
healthy environment surrounded by magnificent nature, clean air and freshwater, and a
variety of organic fruits and vegetables at their disposal. 

General Info:

  • The national currency is the Armenian Dram (AMD).
  • The official language is Armenian, although English and Russian are both widely spoken, especially among the younger generations.
  • Armenia has the world’s longest cable car according to the Guinness World Records.
  • It is home to the oldest winery in the world
  • Pomegranate is Armenia’s symbolic fruit

This article will focus on one of Medway’s various excursion packages perfect for all those seeking to discover the country’s holiest sites.

About “Holy Lance”

A four-and-a-half-hour program, which kicks off in Yerevan, covers a one-way
23-kilometer journey and then back finally finishing where it started.

The program is available all year round, regardless of the weather. It’s worth noting that
Armenia is fortunate to enjoy a moderate climate with each season having its own
special atmosphere; from a vibrant sunny summer to a winter wonderland. 

Take a look at the full route:
Yerevan → Vagharshapat city → St. Hripsime church → Etchmiadzin Cathedral - Museum of the Cathedral → St. Gayane church → Zvartnots temple → Yerevan

Now, a deeper dive into some of the exact sites:

● Etchmiadzin (Vagharshapat city) - the center of the Armenian Apostolic Church
● Museum of the Etchmiadzin Cathedral (1869)
● Sites featured on the UNESCO World Heritage list:

    ○ St. Hripsime Church (VII century)
    ○ Etchmiadzin Cathedral (303 - 484)
    ○ Gayane Church (VII century)
    ○ Runes of the Zvartnots temple (VII century)

Needless to say, you will be accompanied by a multilingual professional guide throughout the entirety of the trip. Available languages include, but are not limited to, Armenian, Russian, and English.

 Vagharshapat city
Vagharshapat city 

The sites you’ll be visiting lie in the heart of Vagharshapat city a.k.a the “spiritual capital” of Armenia. Fun fact - it is the 4th largest city in Armenia located around 18 kilometers west of the capital Yerevan. 

Based on a 2016 consensus, the population of Vagharshapat is estimated to be about 37,000. The city is also home to a number of museums including Ruben Sevak museum, Alex and Marie Manoogian Treasury House, and Khrimian museum.

Note that the Zvartnots International Airport is located only 10 kilometers east of Vagharshapat. 

Zvartnots Temple
Zvartnots Temple

If this doesn’t excite you enough, it’s worth mentioning that most of the above-mentioned landmarks are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, because of their architectural and historical significance. 

For instance, the Saint Hripsime church - a true gem and one of the most complex compositions in Armenian architecture, also happens to be one of the oldest surviving churches in the country. 

ST. Hripsime Church
St. Hripsime Church

Similarly, the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, which is the center of today’s Armenian Apostolic Church, has been around since the 4th century, with many renovations happening over the course of the years that followed, the latest of which was only a decade ago in 2012. 

Etchmiadzin Cathedral
Etchmiadzin Cathedral
Museum Of The Etchmiadzin Cathedral
Museum Of The Etchmiadzin Cathedral
ST. Gayane Church
ST. Gayane Church 

In 1869, Etchmiadzin also acquired a museum of its own called the “Museum of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin,” which currently houses over a whopping 5000 astounding exhibits, displaying various manuscripts, carpets, paintings, sculptures, and the like. These highly valuable artifacts are the works of Armenian but also many foreign artists. Additionally, the museum includes a large number of archeological pieces holding high historic significance, to say the least. It’s also worth noting the division of these exhibitions according to specific themes. Ultimately, this aims to demonstrate the important shrines, metal creations and the like of the Armenian church.

Among the sacred treasures housed in the museum are the following:

● Saint Geghard - the spear by which Jesus Christ was wounded, now kept in a
silver monstrance.
● A piece of Noah’s Ark placed in a 1968 monstrance.
● The relics of Saint Nshan, stored in special monstrance along with a particle from
the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ (914-929 A.D).
● The cross with the monstrance of Ashot Yerkat, in which a relic from the cross of
Jesus Christ is kept.
● The monstrance containing a rock crystal cross of King Hovhannes-Smbat of Ani.
● Relics from Andreas and Saint George.
● Paintings by renowned artists Stepanos Lekhatsi’s and Vardges Surenyants.
● Artefacts related to archimandrite Komitas.

So, what are you waiting for? Be sure to contact us to check the details about this one-of-a-kind trip.