We went with a group of seven friends on John Graham’s tour “The Cathedrals of Tao.” It was one of the best vacations we have ever had. The nature is unlike anything we have ever seen, the music was a revelation, and we really got to meet the singers. By the end of the tour we were also singing, and it was such fun. John was an outstanding tour guide, always providing the right kind of information, not too much, not too little. Food was excellent. And the churches, monasteries combined with the … Read more

Anna B. (UC Davis)


New York Times Travel

Music and Ancient History in the Caucasus

Sapara Monastery"The idea was to take a trip with my 22-year-old daughter, Liza, an adventure worthy of a college graduation present.... These remnants of ancient Georgian culture were what drew us to join John Graham, an American musicologist and tour leader, on a journey that began in the Black Sea city of Batumi, circling through the Turkish cities of Kars, Yusufeli and Ardanuc, before ending in Tbilisi.

"John himself, whom I had met in Paris when he was touring with a choir of Georgian singers, provided the other lure. An academic expert in Georgian polyphonic chant, with a doctorate from Princeton, he had promised us music along the trip, and he delivered.... Read the article.


Tours (2022-2023)


Ethiopian monk-priest shows medieval manuscript to cultural tourists on a cultural tour in Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Genna Cultural Tour

January 4th-16th, 2024

January 4th-16th, 2025

Travel Program… This thrilling adventure through the ancient Christian regions of Ethiopia's northern highlands features a relaxed schedule, plenty of delicious food, top-notch guides, visits to the most important sites, and lots of interaction with local people. We will also seek out unique musicians to feed our interest in local culture through music, cuisine, and religion. Travel will involve several short domestic flights to bypass driving long distances over rough roads. Our centers of interest will be Addis, Lalibela, Gondar, and Gheralta, with forays to Lake Tana (head of the Blue Nile River), the gorgeous Simien National Park highlands with its unique herds of friendly Gelada herbivore baboons, and remote rock-hewn churches in the Gheralta region. The UNESCO heritage churches at Lalibela will feature heavily in this itinerary, as we visit this sacred city during its most important yearly festival: the feast of the Nativity (Jan. 7th on their old Christian calendar). Join us for this extraordinary adventure! Read more here!


Hikers hiking in Ethiopia highlands on cultural travel in Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Hiking Tour

November, 2023

November, 2024


Travel Program… This thrilling adventure through the ancient Christian regions of Ethiopia's northern highlands features a series of short and long hikes through the national parks, along ridges, around lakes and dry river beds. We will have professional guides, support vehicles, packed picnic lunches, and all the necessaries to make this a highly enjoyable trip. Accommodation is in best available hotels and exclusive lodges in the national parks. Travel will involve four short domestic flights to bypass driving long distances over rough roads. Our centers of interest will be Gondar, the Simien National Park, Lalibela, and Gheralta, with forays to Lake Tana (head of the Blue Nile River). The UNESCO heritage churches at Lalibela will be a cultural highlight of this itinerary, as well as the desert churches of Gheralta. We will see plenty of wildlife at Lake Tana and in the Simien mountains! Read more here!


Inside of a ancient christianity cathedral dome in Georgia with frescoes and windows letting in light

Ancient Christianity in the Caucasus

A Cultural Tour of the most important Christian sites (Georgia & Armenia)

May 5th-17th, 2023

May, 2024

Travel Program… One of our most popular tour programs, the Ancient Christianity cultural tour focuses on the most important Christian sites in Armenia and East Georgia. We learn about the history of these countries as early emerging states caught between the great Roman-Persian battles, and later the Seljuk-Byzantine battles. Christianity gave inspiration to an already thriving artistic impulse, giving rise to magnificent frescoed cathedrals and monasteries, set within the soaring peaks of the Caucasus mountains. Our tour begins and ends in Tbilisi, the thriving cultural and business capital city of Georgia. We spend six days in Armenia... Read more here!


Ruin of cathedral in ancient kingdom of Tao. This is located in Turkey, neighboring Georgia. A place where cultural tourists go to visit.

Cathedrals of Tao

A Cultural Tour through the historic kingdom of Tao-Klarjeti (Georgia & Turkey)

May 19th - 31st, 2023

May, 2024


Travel Program… This unique tour program, featured in the New York Times (June 20th, 2017 issue), focuses on the most important Christian sites in the historic 9th-10th century kingdom of Tao-Klarjeti, the location of a great renaissance of medieval manuscript writing, chant composition, and architectural innovation. Our tour itinerary is organized around visiting these "lost" cathedrals, which had fallen into ruin after 400 years of neglect under the Ottoman Empire. But our experience will be infused with traditional music of both Turkey and Georgia, the delicious fusion cuisine and wine of the border regions, and of course a healthy conversation about historical and modern political realities. This tour is perfect for adept travelers interested in a deeper cultural immersion experience. Read more...


Walking in the mountains of the Caucasus in the Svaneti region on a cultural and hiking tour organized by John Graham Tours

Walking in the Caucasus - West Georgia

A Hiking Tour through the mountains of West Georgia (Svaneti, Racha, Imereti)

Aug. 26th - Sept. 8th, 2022

Aug. 25th - Sept. 7th, 2023

Travel Program… We begin and end the tour in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia (airport designation TBS) and a beautiful city that featured prominently on trade routes from Asia to Europe. The focus of this unique itinerary will be walking trails in the High Caucasus mountains. We will not be roughing it, however, as jeeps will carry our luggage to the end point, and we will stay in cozy 3-star hotels where a cool beer, a hot shower, and comfortable bed awaits. JohnGrahamTours specializes in the culture of Georgia: therefore, in addition to our walking schedule, there will be an emphasis on visiting medieval churches to see original frescoes, meeting local families to learn about their lives and customs, and experiences with the music and dance of the local people. Read more!


Traveling through Samegrelo, Adjara, Svaneti, and Racha regions of West Georgia on this cultural extravaganza tour organized by John Graham Tours.

Viticulture and Highlands - West Georgia

A Cultural Tour through ancient Colchis, also exploring the highlands of Racha and Svaneti

October 10th - 22nd, 2022

Sept 24th - Oct 5th, 2023

Travel Program… The focus of this unique cultural program will be to visit and understand the impact of the bronze-era kingdom of Colchis, and its dependency on the mountain tribes for mineral resources. After traveling to the Black sea coastal region of Georgia (ancient Colchis), we will pay particular focus to travel through the unique cultural and geographical highland region of Svaneti. The region features a unique language, its own folklore, folk music, and cuisine. The villages are punctuated with thousand-year-old defensive towers, and each town has several Christian chapels with original frescoes dating to the 10th-12th century period.... Read more!


Traveling through the Kakheti, Tusheti, and Kazbegi regions of East Georgia on a cultural tour of sights and sounds and tastes. Organized by John Graham Tours.

Viticulture and Highlands - East Georgia

A Cultural Tour through Kakheti and the Tusheti National Park

TBA - By group request

Travel Program… This unique tour program features the best of the Kakhetian viticulture region in East Georgia, with an adventurous foray into the exquisitely preserved highland meadows and valleys of Tusheti (Now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Area, and National Park). Starting in the bustling capital of Tbilisi, we explore the multi-ethnic heritage of this city through the museums, architecture, cuisine, and music. Venturing up the Mtkvari River, we visit the ancient capital of Georgia, Mtskheta, where rivers converge and Christianity was first adopted in 326 AD as a state religion. After returning East, we take a steep dirt track into the high mountains, going where few tourists brave... Tusheti, land of shepherds, awaits only the most intrepid travelers. Read more!


Unique Experiences - Special access events on JohnGrahamTours


Sounds of the Tour — Folk songs in various settings

Intriguing Destinations | Blog

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