The Temple of Garni
The Temple of Garni is the best-known structure and symbol of pre-Christian Armenia. The structure was built by king Tiridates I in the first century AD as a temple to the sun god Mihir.
The exterior of the temple is richly decorated. The stones in the front cornice have projecting sculptures of lion heads. A fragment of the architrave bearing a lion head was removed by Captain J Buchan Telfer in the late nineteenth century and bequeathed by him to the British Museum in 1907.
The staircase has nine unusually high steps—30 centimetres high, about twice as high as the average height of stairs. It’s said that the unusually high stairs compel a person ascending the staircase to feel humbled and make physical effort to reach the altar.
In the early fourth century, when Armenian King Tiridates III adopted Christianity as a state religion, virtually all known pagan places of worship were destroyed. The Temple of Garni is the only pagan to have survived the widespread destruction. It remains unknown why the temple was exempted from destruction, but one of the philosophers argues that its status as a "masterpiece of art" possibly saved it from destruction.
Geghard is a medieval monastery in the Kotayk province of Armenia, being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs.
The monastery was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator. The site is that of a spring arising in a cave which had been sacred in pre-Christian times.
The name commonly used for the monastery today, Geghard, or more fully Geghardavank that means "the Monastery of the Spear", originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, called here Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics.
Symphony of Stones
Garni Canyon lies across the length of the Azat (Garni) River and its confluent Goght. The canyon is attractive for the wonderful natural rocks, formed of regular hexagonal cylinders. These rocks start from the beginning up to the highest point of the canyon. The canyons formation is so unique that it almost looks artificial. Here is no human intervention. The composition is called “Symphony of Stones” or “Basalt Organ”.
|Destination||Garni, Geghard, Garni symphony of stones|
* The unused portions of the itinerary are not refundable.