We are kissing summer goodbye and are getting ready to have even more fun this fall. Summer holidays are all about beach parties, exotic cocktails and sunbathing, while autumn pleases us with harvesting and warm colors of nature.
The South Caucasus region (Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan) is a wonderful place to enjoy the beauty of nature and taste the sweetest fruits. Moreover, there are some national festivals and holidays that might interest you. This article presents you the best fall festivals in the South Caucasus.
Besides festivals, there are so many interesting things to do and to see in autumn in the region. The fantastic velvet mountains, colorful woods, pleasantly warm weather and the atmosphere of genuine hospitality. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
The countries are proud of their historical and cultural heritage which deserves lots of attention. For some deep cultural exploration, we recommend to use the services of professional guides. Some great guided group and private tour options can be found here https://araratour.com/armenia-and-georgia.
Fall Festivals in the South Caucasus
VENUE: Musaler, Armavir region, Armenia
Harissa is a traditional Armenian dish made of wheat and chicken or lamb. This dish has once saved the lives of Armenian defenders.
In 1915 when the country was facing Genocide by the hands of Turks, for 50 days Armenians were hiding in the mountain Musa and fighting back the Turkish soldiers. Harissa was the only thing the villagers had for that time.
Today in the village called after the name of Musa Ler still celebrates the brave confrontation of Musalerians.
During the festival, the villagers cook harissa in 40 huge pots and all the guests can taste the dish. While harissa is being cooked the guests sing patriotic songs and dance. The event takes place each year in September. Harrisa Festival is one of the best fall festivals in the South Caucasus.
VENUE: Khachik, Vayots Dzor region, Armenia
Gata is the most popular traditional dessert in Armenia; it is something like sweet bread with sugar filling. Almost every region has a unique secret of gata preparation.
Gata Festival is a wonderful opportunity to try some of the tastiest kinds brought from all the regions. It is also one of the top autumn events in the South Caucasus.
There is a nice tradition according to which the village bakers prepare the largest gata in the world during the fest. And it’s getting bigger and bigger each year. So, don’t miss the opportunity to see such a cheerful event.
It takes place every autumn in September in Vayyots Dzor region. All the fest treats are welcome to be tasted by visitors. You will also watch the process of baking and enjoy the sweetest aroma of hot gata.
By the way, Armenian largest gata in the world was registered in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Erebuni – Yerevan Festival
DATE: September 29
VENUE: Yerevan, Armenia
Erebuni-Yerevan is the biggest and the most important holiday of the capital. Every year the city celebrates its birthday and this year it is going to celebrate its 2801st anniversary.
The festival takes place in all the districts of Yerevan from early morning and in the evening a grand concert is organized in the main Republic Square. It’s one of the top autumn festivals in the South Caucasus.
Areni Wine Festival
VENUE: Areni village
Areni Wine Fest is the biggest event of its kind in Armenia that has already become an international event in the land of winemaking.
It takes place each year on the first Saturday of October in Areni village – the winemaking area of Armenia.
In the caves of Areni was found the oldest winery dating back to 6000 years. No wonder why Areni Wine Fest is so popular.
The festival is a parade of homemade wines and the best species of wine from local producers. Guests are treated with wine and sweets. The visitors can enjoy national songs, dances and the key moment of the fest is grape squishing. Areni Wine Festival is one of the top fall festivals in Armenia.
VENUE: Tbilisi, Georgia
Georgians adore noisy feasts and they tend to celebrate holidays and birthdays with great scale. Tbilisoba is the birthday of the capital, one of the main annual holidays.
Tbilisi was established on the place of hot springs which King Vakhtang Gorgasali found during his hunting. The exact date of the capital’s foundation is unknown, so traditionally it is celebrated on the first weekend of October.
The whole city is decorated for the holiday and the celebration lasts from early morning to late evening. Guests are treated with all the tasty national sweets and dishes, here and there one can hear the beats of drums and national songs.
The festival ends with fireworks and a gala concert. It’s definitely one of the top events in Georgia and one of the unmissable fall festivals in the South Caucasus.
DATE: October 14
VENUE: Mtskheta, Georgia
Svetitskhovloba is one of the most important Christian holidays in Georgia. It is celebrated in Mtskheta, the religious center of the country. The holiday takes place in Svetitshoveli Cathedral.
For Orthodox Christians, October 14th is the day dedicated to the Life-giving Pillar and the Tunic of the Lord. According to the legend, the Tunic of the Lord was brought to Mtskheta.
A tree grew on the place where the Tunic was buried and is now a sacred place that has healing properties. St. Nino, who brought the Gospel to Mtskheta, asked the king to cut down the tree and make four wooden crosses.
On the place of the pillar, miraculous Myrrh began exuding and from that day on it is known as the Life-giving Pillar (Svetitskhoveli).
DATE: September – October
VENUE: Kakheti, Kakheti
The territory of two neighbors, Armenia and Georgia are considered the cradle of winemaking. The oldest wine cellars found on the territory of Georgia are as old as the ones in Armenia. To celebrate the harvesting and the tradition of winemaking Georgians have Rtveli, the holiday of the grape harvest.
This is a family holiday when traditionally men gather the harvest in the vineyards while women cook traditional dishes and sweets. When the harvest is gathered in one large pot women start grape squishing.
The festival takes place in Kakheti, the land of winemaking. The exact date depends on the weather, it may be either the second half of September or the first week of October. Rtveli is one of the best fall events in the South Caucasus.
Baku International Jazz Festival
DATE: October 18 – 27
VENUE: Baku, Azerbaijan
This is the first international festival that takes place in Baku since 2005. For about 10 days this exotic Eastern capital becomes a cultural center, and from every corner, you can hear the pleasant notes of jazz.
Baku Jazz Festival is a great opportunity for the country to broaden cultural life not only within the country but also outside its borders and to draw international attention.
The grand opening of the jazz fest takes place in Old Baku and the rest of the days the festival is held in the most popular jazz clubs and music halls of the capital. Baku International Jazz Festival is one of the best events in Azerbaijan and one of the best fall events in the Sout Caucasus.
Goychay Pomegranate Festival
VENUE: Goychay, Azerbaijan
Another great autumn event in Azerbaijan is Goychai Pomegranate Festival. This colorful and sweet festival is organized by the support of the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan. It is a celebration of national cuisine and fruits, particularly pomegranate from Goychay.
The festival starts with a traditional parade of national clothes and dances. The most interesting and interactive part of the fest is the competition of pomegranate eating.
The tastiest part of the holiday is treatments made of a pomegranate; juices, pomegranate syrup “narsharab”, cookies with the fruit, jam and much more. Gala concert and dances are the finishing part of the holiday.
DATE: October 18
VENUE: Baku, Azerbaijan
This year Azerbaijan will be hosting the second International Animation Festival and the theme of this year’s event will be the Czech animation. The festival will continue for three days and during the festive days, dozens of national and international animated films will be shown.
The organizers of the festival are planning to create an annual Animafilm festival and develop this sphere of cultural life in Azerbaijan. This kind of event is a perfect promotion for Azerbaijan and its culture.