Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley

Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley

The monastery of Geghard (Armenian: Գեղարդ, meaning spear) is a unique architectural construction in the Kotayk province of Armenia, being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

While the main chapel was built in 1215, the monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. The monastery had thus been originally named Ayrivank, meaning “the Monastery of the Cave”. The name commonly used for the monastery today, Geghard, or more fully Geghardavank (Գեղարդավանք), meaning “the Monastery of the Spear”, originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, called here Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Echmiadzin treasury.

The spectacular towering cliffs surrounding the monastery are part of the Azat river gorge, and are included together with the monastery in the World Heritage Site listing. Some of the churches within the monastery complex are entirely dug out of the cliff rocks, others are little more than caves, while others are elaborate structures, with both architecturally complex walled sections and rooms deep inside the cliff. The combination, together with numerous engraved and free-standing khachkars is a unique sight, being one of the most frequented tourist destinations in Armenia.

Most visitors to Geghard also choose to visit the nearby Garni temple, a Parthenon-like structure located further down the Azat river. Visiting both sites in one trip is so common that they are often referred to in unison as Garni-Geghard.

Outline
The monastery of Geghard (Armenian: Գեղարդ, meaning spear) is a unique architectural construction in the Kotayk province of Armenia, being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs.

Recommended world heritage video

  1. Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona

    Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona

  2. Old City of Zamość

    Old City of Zamość

  3. Levoča, Spišský Hrad and the Associated Cultural Monuments

    Levoča, Spišský Hrad and the Associated Cultural Monuments

  1. Limes

    Limes

  2. Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces

    Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces

  3. Works of Antoni Gaudí

    Works of Antoni Gaudí

  1. Wieliczka Salt Mine

    Wieliczka Salt Mine

  2. Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin

    Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin

  3. Aranjuez Cultural Landscape

    Aranjuez Cultural Landscape

  1. Palmeral of Elche

    Palmeral of Elche

  2. Engelsberg Ironworks

    Engelsberg Ironworks

  3. Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe

    Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe

  1. Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System

    Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System

  2. Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid

    Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid

  3. Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Remi and Palace of Tau, Reims

    Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Remi and Palace of Tau, Reims

  1. L’viv – the Ensemble of the Historic Centre

    L’viv – the Ensemble of the Historic Centre

  2. Hanseatic City of Lübeck

    Hanseatic City of Lübeck

  3. Frontiers of the Roman Empire

    Frontiers of the Roman Empire

  1. Tower of Hercules

    Tower of Hercules

  2. Ensemble of the Ferrapontov Monastery

    Ensemble of the Ferrapontov Monastery

  3. Santiago de Compostela (Old Town)

    Santiago de Compostela (Old Town)

  1. Lugo

    Lugo

  2. Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork

    Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork

  3. Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura

    Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura

  1. Pyrénées – Mont Perdu

    Pyrénées – Mont Perdu

  2. Rock Art of the Mediterranean Basin on the Iberian Peninsula

    Rock Art of the Mediterranean Basin on the Iberian Peninsula

  3. Gough and Inaccessible Islands

    Gough and Inaccessible Islands

  1. Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey, and St. Martin’s Church

    Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey, and St. Martin’s Church

  2. The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainault)

    The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainault)

  3. Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island

    Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island

  1. Historic Centre of Riga

    Historic Centre of Riga

  2. Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona

    Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona

  3. Alto Douro Wine Region

    Alto Douro Wine Region

  1. Antonine Wall

    Antonine Wall

  2. The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes

    The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes

  3. Episcopal City of Albi

    Episcopal City of Albi

  1. Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville

    Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville

  2. Semmering Railway

    Semmering Railway

  3. Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne

    Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne

facebook comments
Comment
To the Top