- Place or Religious Monument
- Archaeological Site
- Place or Historical Monument
Situated at twenty or so kilometres to the west of Erevan, Garni is home to the only pagan temple that survived Armenia's Christian overhaul. Destroyed and then rebuilt, the temple today stands proud. You'll also find remnants of other ruined buildings including a church, baths and a fortress - vestiges to Armenia's past that date from the Roman Conquest, Christianisation and other invasions.
It was an interesting visit that left me with good memories, but I can't say that Garni was top of my list of destinations in Armenia. Even so, if you're based in Erevan and can get hold of a car, Garni makes for an enjoyable day out.
Even though the site comprises only of a temple, Garni is a must-see during a trip to Armenia. It's one of the country's rare examples of Greco-Roman architecture. What's more the temple is particularly well preserved and restored.
I was surprised to find that the visitor information was written in Armenian, English and French. It wasn't just limited to simple descriptions of the temple, but also explained the symbolism behind the architecture. It means you can enjoy the visit from another angle, leaving with an understanding of Armenian society before Christianity arrived.
Another pleasant surprise is that Garni overlooks a magnificent landscape of gorges and mountains - a nature lover's dream.
If you're in Yerevan, taking a combined trip to Garni and the Ghegard Monastery makes for a great afternoon out.