The Wonders of Armenia: Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery
One of the best places to see here are Garni Pagan Temple and Geghard Monastery Complex. People usually go to see the monastery of Geghard after visiting Garni, so the tour is known as Garni-Geghard.
I decided to show this well-known beautiful place to my family who recently came from Georgia. We started tours to Armenia’s most visited places early in the morning, though it takes only about 40 minutes to reach Garni from Yerevan. While it was very hot in Yerevan, the weather was pretty nice both in Garni and Geghard.
Garni is for those who like Hellenistic ancient monuments. The place is notable for its fortress complex with the 1st century AD Garni Temple. Garni was conquered many times and was sacked by a Mongolic-Turkic leader – Timur Lenk. The 1679 earthquake did no smaller damage to the place as well.
Garni has a beautiful area, if you go downstairs the temple, you’ll discover a spectacular view of mountains and river Ghots. When in Garni, continue your way and discover the very ancient historical place – Geghard – which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This incredible ancient monastery is partly carved out of mountain and is surrounded by cliffs.
The main chapel was built in 1215, however the monastery was founded in the 4th century by the Gregory Illuminator (Grigor Lusavorich in Armenian) inside a cave. For this reason it was originally named as “Ayrivank” –the Monastery of Cave.
Today the complex is called Geghard or fully Geghardavank which means Monastery of the Spear “ originated from the spear which wounded Jesus at Crucifixon and was brought to Armenia by apostle Thaddeus. The relic is now displayed in Armenia’s Echmiadzin treasury.
When in Geghard, visit the zhamatun, chapel of St. Gregory, the vestry, the Katoghike Chapel, etc.
The arched top of the arcature of the cupola’s drum has detailed reliefs showing birds, human masks, animal heads, various rosettes and jars, floral ornaments and other objects.
Should you decide to travel to Armenia, I would strongly recommend you visit both Garni and Geghard
Garni Pagan Temple
Geghard Monastery Complex