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Armenia Central and Eastern Europe Europe

Garni-Geghard

Stories and Photos from my travels to Geghard Monastery and Garni Temple.

Destination 》EuropeCentral and Eastern Europe  》Armenia

Year Visited: 2018 – July

I visited Garni-Geghard during my five plus months backpacking trip through Central and Eastern Europe. After few days of walking around the capital city of Yerevan, we arranged a Taxi to take us visit Garni-Geghard; the pagan temple of Garni and a medieval monastery of Geghard.


Geghard is a medieval monastery partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the main chapel was built in 1215, the monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. The monastery was originally named Ayrivank meaning “the Monastery of the Cave”. The name commonly used for the monastery today, Geghard, meaning “the Monastery of the Spear”, originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, locally known as Thaddeus, and stored here among many other relics.

Entrance gate of Geghard monastery complex. Avoid coming here during weekends, very busy with locals and tourists as well.
Geghard monastery is a very popular place for wedding photography.
A newly weds posing for portrait at the Geghard monastery
Interior of the main church.
The zhamatun, a roughly square chamber cut into the rock, with deeply cut reliefs in the walls. One of the relief is the coat-of-arms of the princely family Proshyan – a rather primitive relief, a ram’s head with a chain in its jaws; the chain is wound around the necks of two lions with their heads turned to the onlooker. Between the lions and below the chain there is an eagle with half-spread wings and a lamb in its claws.
Khachkars carved in for memory of the deceased.
The zhamatun
The Katoghike Chapel; Carving above the portal is of a lion attacking an ox, symbolizing the prince’s power.
This church is built against the mountain.

Next stop on the trip was Garni. The Temple of Garni is the only standing Greco-Roman colonnaded building in Armenia and the former Soviet Union. it is the best-known structure and symbol of pre-Christian Armenia. The temple is believed to have been completed in 77 AD.

The Temple of Garni.
The Temple of Garni.
A Roman bath with a partly preserved mosaic floor.
A Roman bath with a partly preserved mosaic floor with a Greek inscription.

After a wonderful day visiting beautiful monasteries, we came back to Yerevan in late afternoon.

By Window on The World

In May 2017, 23 days before I was going to complete 50 years, grabbed an opportunity and took an early retirement.. Picked up a backpack and traveling ever since.. Love to travel around the world, experience different culture, local cuisine & drinks .. and take pictures.. so far been to 108 countries and still counting...

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