Another Armenian monastic medieval architecture located in the Kotayk Province and near to the Garni Temple is the ever incredible Geghard Monastery which remained to be our top choice.
How sweet it was to be welcomed by a bunch of local vendors selling homemade sweets and delicacies! We didn’t get the chance to buy some as we urgently plunged into the captivating beauty of the monastery, from the huge stoned inscriptions up to the interiors of the monastery itself.
1. Arc-like entrance
This previously called “Monastery in the Cave” because of its rock-cut construction is well preserved with its natural setting. The arc-like entrance gave us a stunning view of the monastery which is partially carved out of the adjacent mountain.
2. Geghard Monastery
The Geghard Monastery, which was listed by UNESCO as world heritage site, is the most frequented tourist destination in Armenia. Fully known as Geghardavank that means “Monastery of the Spear” which originates from the spear that wounded Jesus Christ at the crucifixion, the monastery was built by St. Gregory the Illuminator following the declaration of Christianity as state religion in 4th century AD.
3. Towering cliffs
School, library, and dwelling cells for clergy men are evident inside the stone monastery. At the entrance to the upper Azat Valley are towering cliffs. These beautiful relics displayed a charm of antiquity that we believed had added more value to its visitors. We do love classics and vintage so there is no reason why we will not like this place too much!
4. Rays of light
We were fascinated by the shaft of light entering the sanctum through the small windows found in the the ceiling. Few of the visitors didn’t noticed these rays as they are only visible if you are coming out from one of the gavits where the springs are found.
5. Sacred spring
Accordingy, the monastery started out as a small cave until it became a massive one. It was built in a place which once believed to be a sacred site where people would worship the sacred springs of water arising in a cave, a practice before Christianity became a religion to Armenia. One of these springs were preserved in the main gavit of the monastery.
6. Bridge over a stream
Going up the hill, we found an old small bridge. Below is a bed of rocks with a flowing crystal-clear water. At the other side of the bridge were trash like plastics wrapped around tiny branches of small trees. We didn’t really know why they would do such for prayer requests made.
7. Secret caves
Going up a little farther after getting into the other side of the bridge, we found ourselves in a monk’s cave where stones are found to be placed on top of the other, the biggest being the bottom base and the smallest being the topmost crown.
8. Stoned steps
Stepping back in time, we climbed up until we reached a remarkable full view of the monastery surrounded by beautiful mountains and rock formations with ancient inscriptions. It was breathtaking. We must say that a visit to the monastery is truly a must for everyone.