Thursday, August 10, 2017

roman around

Our last day in Yerevan saw us visiting Geghard Monastery only a couple of hours out of Yerevan.

Set at the end of a gorge it has one of the most picturesque settings of Armenian Monasteries and blends nicely with the local stone. A UNESCO World Heritage site it is partially carved out the bedrock and dates from the 13th Century.

Geghard is short for Geghardavank and means 'Monastery of the Spear' believing to have held part of the spear that was used to pierce the side of Christ during the crucifixion.

Not far from Geghard is the temple of Garni. It was destroyed by an earthquake whose epicentre was in the town of Garni in 1679. It was reconstructed in the late 19th Century.

Dedicated to Helios, the Roman god of the sun, the Garni temple was built by the Armenian King Tiridates I in the 1st century AD and is the only Hellenistic colonnaded temple in Armenia and in fact, in the former Soviet Union.

Our final visit to Armenian Monasteries was to the wonderful Khor Virap Monastery. At around 40kms South East of Yerevan and only a handful of kms from the Turkish border it has the fabled Mount Ararat as its backdrop.

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