Garni Pagan Temple - Geghard Rock Carved Church
This trip is contrast between pagan and christian eras in Armenia.
See 2000 years old pagan temple and 13th c. amazing monastery. Part of it is carved from one piece of rock. Admire the nature and mountains around, see traditional bread baking masterclass.
per adult from
4 to 5 hours
Hotel pickup available
What's included :
- Hotel pickup Live Guide transportation with AC Bottle of water Min 2 jokes from your tour guide =)
What's excluded :
- Entry/Admission - Garni Temple
- This is a typical itinerary for this product
Stop At: Garni Temple, Geghard Monastery Road H3, Garni Armenia
When you are in Armenia and skip Garni Temple it’s unforgivable.
One of the most visited and must see sight in Armenia is Garni Temple and surroundings as well as Garni gorge.
Deep and rich history of this site can be felt with every step made closer and closer to the temple.
It attracts guests with its 76 AD the only survived Pagan temple. Here one can find also the ruins of the two-story royal palace and the bath built in Roman style built in the end of 3rd c. One will find interesting especially the mosaic on the floor of the bath made from 15 varieties of local colorful stones..
The walls that surround the area from 3rd millennium BC are also impressive. Excavations in this area and surroundings showed that this region had a power in metallurgy and trading in Mesopotamia and Asia Minor.
The temple of Garni is one of the ancient architectural sights in Armenia. It was built in honor to the goddess of sun Mythra. The statue of goddess was on the altar inside the temple.
Garni temple design was influenced from classical Hellenistic style , but its architectural solution undoubtedly is very similar to an Armenian old Temple Musasir dedicated to God Haldi from 9 c. B.C.
24 colons decorate the facade of Garni Temple. Some say this number is dedicated to 24 hours of day. Triangular roof with the heads of lions on edges crowns the colons. All the ornaments , human figures, grape and pomegranate shapes carved from hard basalt stone , show how developed was the culture and architecture in ancient Armenia.
On the rooftop there is a square window that is right above another hall on the bottom of the room in the middle of the temple. At certain period during daytime through the top window sunshine could get the hall on the floor full of water (some say oil). The sunlight was reflecting from the water on the walls of the temple covered with golden tiles. One can imagine how magical was the interior of the temple and the statue of Mitra embellished with golden sunlight.
Garni Temple also was not an exception to go through earthquakes that happened periodically in Armenia. In 1679 it was among the numerous buildings that were destroyed from earthquake.
For several years the skilled specialists and locals had been collecting the pieces of destroyed temple from surroundings. It took 11 years to understand how it was constructed before and reconstruct the temple with the same technique, keeping all the details to give the same perfect look.
The area of the temple is protected by the deep gorge from 3 sides. The balcony around the temple watches Azat River in Garni gorge full of beautiful rock colons cut in diamond shape. This rock formations are known as Symphony of Stones. Here one will find granite, basalt, slag and andesite. In the gorge there is a bridge remained from 16th c. It leads to Khosrov National Preserve.
After adoption of Christianity in Armenia, Garni temple and the palace were used as summer residence for royal families.
Duration: 1 hour
Stop At: Geghard, Geghard, Kotayk Province
About one hour drive from Yerevan, you reach a spectacular deadlock surrounded with caves, preserve and river in the bottom of the gorge. And the jewel of this site is Geghard Monastery.
Geghard monastery was one of the secret pilgrimage sites during Pre-Christian times. It is believed that the first Catholicos of all Armenians Gregory the Illuminator founded a monastery at this site that has spring in the cave and named “Cave Monastery” in 4th c. After this little monastery was destroyed by Arabs in 10th c. You can also find many caves around monastery. It believed Gregory lived in one of these caves.
From inscriptions we learn that current monastery is from 13th c. The Orbelian king and the generals Zakarians defended many lands of Armenian kingdom from Seljuk Turks and Geghard monastery was included.
From 13th to 18th cc the Holy Lance, the spear that pierced the crucified Jesus by Roman soldier, was kept in Geghard monastery. The monastery was named Geghardavank “the Spear Monastery” after this reliquary. Currently the spear is in Echmiatsin treasury.
The main church in the complex was built in 1215. Looking carefully you will notice how hard people worked to make it as beautiful as possible. The Ornamented label along the roof edge, pomegranate tree and grapes, doves, lions, eagles and many other figure decorate the walls, dome and tympanum of the church.
The narthex was built in 1215-1225. The details in narthex bring you another example of rock carving incredible technic. These halls were used for meetings, teaching as well as gathering pilgrims and visitor.
Holly spring rock-cut church was carved in 1240s. It was hewn in an ancient cave with water source. All the believers come here to drink a water from the holly spring to be healed and blessed. It has equal-armed cross-shape plan decorated with ornaments and pomegranates.
The second rock-cut church was carved in 1283. It is also has cross-shape plan. And here again you find an amazing carving of animals, flora, ornamented crosses, geometrical figures as well as tree of life and pomegranates on the cupola.
Duration: 1 hour
Departure Point :Free Walking Tour in Yerevan, 4 Republic Square, Երևան 0001, Armenia
Traveler pickup is offered
We will welcome you with a sign of Travel Company Airports
- Zvartnots International Airport, Yerevan, Armenia
Departure Time :9:30 AM
Return Detail :Returns to original departure point
Hotel Pickup :
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- A current valid passport is required on the day of travel
- Not wheelchair accessible
- Service animals allowed
- Infants must sit on laps
- Infant seats available
- Most travelers can participate
- This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
- You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.
- For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.