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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. We settled on a 10-day journey through the small Caucasus country of Georgia, with a swing through neighboring Turkey, in search of the long-lost kingdom of Tao....

"These remnants of ancient Georgian culture were what drew us to join John Graham, an American musicologist and tour leader who lives in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, and seven other travelers 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 — including in a Georgian restaurant and a Turkish tearoom, isolated mountain churches and a rousing summer jazz concert in a Tbilisi park. Read the article.

 

Testimonials

Well, for starters, it was a fabulous tour that surpassed my expectations. You are a wonderful leader, John, and perhaps even without realizing it, you set the tone for a relaxed, informative, and fun experience... If anyone had any issue or problem, you tried to correct it immediately. So, we were all in exceptionally good hands. I can't thank Shergil and Soso enough for all of their amiability and -- best of all -- their beautiful voices!!
~ Tamara J. (Michigan, USA)

The music and the sacred spaces: surely the most memorable and moving of all our Georgian experiences. Yours, Soso’s, and Shergil’s beautifully blended voices raised in chant in the churches and cathedrals transformed those visits into worship. Deeply moving also was the response of people who had the good fortune to be in church at the moment of your chanting.
~ Marian B. (New Jersey, USA)

We really can't think of any improvements to the June tour. What we particularly appreciated were the personal touches, from your meeting us at the airport to all the encounters along the way with you, Soso and Shergil and the relaxed way you all introduced us to friends and relations, food and history, so that the country grew on us and we came to appreciate so many of its aspects.
~ Henry B. (New York, USA)

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2017 Tours

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Ancient Christianity in the Caucasus (Georgia & Armenia)

May 30th - June 10th

Travel Program… This newly developed tour program focuses on the most important Christian sites in Armenia and East Georgia. Our tour begins and ends in Tbilisi, the thriving cultural and business capital city of Georgia. On day 3, we travel south to Yerevan, the bustling capital city of Armenia... read more

Colchis & Svaneti: A Discover Georgia Tour

June 12th - 25th

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 the ancient, medieval, and modern architectural and cultural monuments to the West... read more

Arts and Artisans of Georgia Cultural Tour

Sept 30th - Oct 9th

Travel Program… Beginning in Tbilisi, we visit the studios of local fresco painters, cloisonne jewelers, stone carvers, felters, and specialty sword-smiths to discover the rebirth of Georgian traditional arts. The travel program takes us out of the city to find the original locations for these arts and to discover rural artisans living and working outside of the city. Accompanied by singers, and featuring the best in local regional cuisines and wines, this tour is a feast for the senses. Contact us for more information!

 

Sounds of the Tour -- folk songs at the banquet table

Sounds of the Tour -- liturgical chant in churches

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