The next day we had most of the day open, until two others from our crew arrived. So I organized an excursion to the Garni Temple and the Geghard Monestary. History lessons coming up!
The monastery of Geghard contains a number of churches and tombs, most of them cut into the rock, which illustrate the very peak of Armenian medieval architecture.
The monastery is at the end of the Azat Valley, surrounded by huge cliffs. It was founded in the 4th century, according by St Gregory the Illuminator (more on this guy later). The site is at a spring in a cave which had been sacred in pre-Christian times.
The monastery was more famous because of the relics that it kept. The most famous was the spear which wounded Christ on the Cross, brought there by the Apostle Thaddeus, from which comes the name, Geghardavank (the Monastery of the Spear), first recorded in a document of 1250.
The temple was built in the second half of the first century B.C. and dedicated to a heathen god, Mihr. After Christianity had been proclaimed the state religion in Armenia in 301 (more on that later, too), the temple was probably used as a summer residence of the kings.
As far as things to look at, it isn’t really that spectacular. Just an old temple. But its location is amazing. Literally on the cliff of the valley commanding an impressive view.
Glad we went to those two sites. Very Impressive.
Then back to Yerevan to meet our friends!
*** When I finally get around to posting pictures of this, they will be epic!***
“I’m writing you to
catch you up on places I’ve been
Today skies are painted colors of a cowboy’s cliche’
And strange how clouds that look like mountains in the sky
are next to mountains anyway
Didn’t have a camera by my side this time
Hoping I would see the world with both my eyes
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I’m
in the mood to lose my way
but let me say
You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
it brought me back to life
You’ll be with me next time I go outside”
3×5, John Mayer