Press

 

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)

Read more testimonials


 

2018 Tours

 

Cathedrals of Tao (Georgia & Turkey):

A Cultural Tour through the historic kingdom of Tao-Klarjeti
(REGISTRATION OPEN, WAIT LIST)

Monday, June 25th - Saturday, July 7th, 2018

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. Contact us to join the waiting list for this tour.

Ancient Christianity in the Caucasus (Georgia & Armenia)

A cultural tour of the most important Christian sites in East Georgia and Armenia
(REGISTRATION OPEN, WAIT LIST)

Monday, July 9th - Saturday, July 21st, 2018

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... Contact us to join the waiting list for this tour!

Viticulture and Highlands (East Georgia): 

A Cultural Tour through Kakheti and the Tusheti National Park

(Private group tours by special request, August 2018)

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). 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. Then we travel East... Contact us!

Colchis & Svaneti: A Discover Georgia Tour

(Private group tours by special request, August 2018)

Interested in this itinerary? Write to us!

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... Contact us!

Arts and Artisans of Georgia Cultural Tour

 
(Private group tours by special request, August 2018)

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

Past Tours

 

Arts and Artisans of Georgia Cultural Tour

 

Oct. 2nd - 13th, 2017

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!

 

September in Svaneti: Mountains and Towers of the Caucasus

Sept. 23rd - Oct. 1st, 2017

Travel Program… This 8 night, 9 day tour is focused on a visit to the beguiling mountain region of Svaneti, to the far Northwest of Georgia. 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 will original frescoes dating to the 10th-12th century period... read more

Colchis & Svaneti: A Discover Georgia Tour

June 12th - 25th, 2017

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

Ancient Christianity in the Caucasus (Georgia & Armenia)

May 30th - June 10th, 2017

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

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