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An update from Evaneos

Geghard (Armenia)

Practical information on Geghard

  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Mountain
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Place or Historical Monument
  • Unesco World Heritage
5 / 5 - 4 reviews
How to get there
45 minutes from Yerevan by car, 15 minutes from Garni / 35 kilometres from Yerevan by road
When to go
All year round
Minimum stay
One day

Reviews of Geghard

Timothée D. Seasoned Traveller
285 written opinions

Lying around one hour from Yerevan, Geghard is one of the most wonderful religious monuments in the whole country.

My suggestion:
If you're planning to visit the monastery, combine it with a visit to the village of Garni and its pagan temple, a few kilometres away.
My review

A monastery constructed in the 4th century AD then burnt by Arab invaders, Geghard is a incredible religious site nestling beneath an impressively steep rocky peak, which seems to blend perfectly with the dry stone of the monastery itself. The two churches within the site, which were constructed in the 12th century AD, are also just as stunning, with incredible inscriptions carved into their stone walls.

Geghard was one of the most impressive sites I visited in the country, and it really encapsulates what a trip to Armenia is all about in my opinion: at the end of a semi-tarmacked road in an arid, inhospitable landscape, completely lost in the middle of nowhere, you encounter a pure wonder, a monastery which seems to have no business being there yet which adds that extra little magical dimension to your stay in Armenia.​

Detail on Geghard Monastery
Dmitry Z Traveller
My review
The monastery is built into the rock. There are sacred chambers on two levels in the rock. Go find a cave nearby.
Seasoned Traveller
75 written opinions

Geghard is a monastery built in typical, Armenian religious style. It stands out thanks to the magnificent sculptures that decorate its walls.

My suggestion:
Geghard is a site that's great to explore. The monastery has a first floor that few visitors visit. It also has a little troglodyte chapel near to the main entrance. You'll need to climb a bit to reach it. 
My review

Of all the monasteries that I visited during my holiday in Armenia, Geghard was the one that impressed me the most. Part of building and its halls have been carved out of the mountain, which gives the site a unique architectural style and magical atmosphere. You'll also find a sacred spring in one of the monastery's halls, where worshippers come to pray. To reach the spring, you'll pass through an elaborately decorated hall, engraved with lions and Armenian crosses, all lit by shafts of light that pour from an opening in the ceiling. As for the main hall, its filled with hundreds of votive candles that pilgrims light all year round.

What's more, the monastery complex at Geghard was built in a deep valley through which a river flows. Before or after your visit, you can relax under a walnut tree, in a lovely shady area by the river.

Geghard Monastery
Hall with lions, Geghard
Nicolas Landru Seasoned Traveller
117 written opinions

Gueghard is one of the most incredible sites in Armenia. This isolated monastery, in a cave-dwelling area, is the throne at the foot of the basaltic cliffs of the Azat Valley, in the heart of the Geghama mountains. It's a treasure of mediaeval Armenian architecture.

My suggestion:
Combine your visit to Gueghard with that of the Temple of Garni, downstream, and a walk in the upstream part of the Upper Azat Valley, which has some of the most beautiful scenery in Armenia.
My review

My arrival in Geghard literally transported me into another world. From Yerevan, I had first visited the Antique Temple in Garni, whose site is superb, but had left me rather cold. After having gone back up the Azat Valley up to this display of cliffs which form Geghard's natural arena, the discovery of this monastery, perched at the top of its lost valley, let the wind of spirituality blow over my head.

A fortress constructed by worn stones awaits you, on its own, at the foot of the cliffs, allowing you to pass the bell tower of the St Astvatsatsin chapel. When you penetrate theouter wall of the Geghard monastery, which dates back to the 13th century, the church is unveiled in all its splendour. The very oriental ornaments, sculpted on the facade and around the doors, are magnificent. The numerous caves and the khatchkars (ornate Armenian crosses) carved into the cliff honour these completely mineral aesthetics.

But it's inside the St Astvatsatsin chapel that moved me the most. Very sombre, but bathed in bundles of light, skilfully filtered from outside, it was mostly made by excavation, even the cave itself. The austerity of the décor only makes these wonderful decorative elements more valuable: khatchkars, bas-reliefs, including two remarkable lions, completed sculpted from the rock. A treasure!

Gueghard under the snow