Welcome to Geghard Monastery

Legend has it that Geghard Monastery was founded in the 4th century. The most ancient of the cave churches, St Gregory’s, dates back to the 7th century. Once called Ayrivank (Cave Monastery), Geghard was burned by invading Arabs in 923.

As you approach the monastery, look to the left up the hill for caves that house monastic cells built by monks. Trees here are often dotted with strips of cloth, as are trees on the other side of the monastery near the river. It is said a person can say a prayer or make a wish and tie a strip of cloth to a tree near the monastery to make it come true.

Inside the monastery walls, Geghard’s two main churches date from the 13th century. The principal structure, Surp Astvatsatsin Church (Holy Mother of God Church), was built in 1215. The adjoining vestibule, larger than the church itself, with an intricate carved ceiling and nine arches, dates from 1215 to 1225. Outside, above the south door, is a coat of arms of the family of the Zakarian prince who built it. The theme is a common Near Eastern one, with the lion symbolising royal might.

On the right-hand side of the vestibule are two entrances to chapels hewn from the rock. The left-hand one dates from the 1240s. It contains a basin with spring water believed to be lucky or holy. Splashing some of this water on your body is said to keep your skin youthful.

The right-hand chapel, constructed in 1263, includes the four-column burial chamber of Prince Papaq Proshian and his wife, Hruzakan. The family’s coat of arms, carved in the rock above, features two lions chained together and an eagle.

Outside, steps on the left lead up the hill to a 10m passage into another church that has been carved out of the raw rock. The proportions in this room are nothing short of extraordinary, considering it was carved from the rock around it. The acoustics of the chamber are also quite amazing (on weekends, choir groups sometimes perform here). In the far corner is an opening looking down on the church below.

On the right-hand side of the church are steps that lead to some interesting monastic cells and khatchkars. Outside the monastery, next to the stream, is an active matagh (sacrifice) site.

Top experiences in Geghard Monastery

Geghard Monastery activities

$59 Day Trips & Excursions

Day Trip to Garni,Gegard and Lake Sevan

The tour starts 9:30 in the morning. You will be picked up from hotel and your first stop will be the Arc of Ararat, where you can enjoy the fantastic view of mount Ararat. You will then move onto Garni pagan temple, which is the only pagan temple in Armenia. Pagan Temple referred to as the well known symbol of pre-Christian Armenia that was converted into a royal summer house. Then you will be taken to UNESCO listed Geghard monastery complex of 13th century. The tour continues to Sevan lake and Sevanavank, where you can enjoy the lunch with Sevan lake Iishkhan (trout). You will then be transferred to Yerevan.

$160 Outdoor Activities

Daily jeep tour to Garni gorge and Geghama Mountains

We will meet early in the morning in Yerevan and will head to Garni canyon. On the way we will have a stop at the Charent's Ark to look at the Byblical Mountain Ararat. After we will continue our way to the canyon with the coffee break at the bank of the river. After coffe break we will continue our way through the gorge and we will make a stop at the Stone Symphony. Admiring the beauty of the nature we will drive up to the Garni Temple, built in the second half of the 1st century A.D. and dedicated to the God Mitra, the God of the Sun. After an excursion in the temple we will have lunch at the local house. After the lunch we will take our way to Geghard Monastery founded in IV century A.D. (at that time called Ayrivank or a “Cave Monastery”) and rebuilt in 1215, when as a legend says the name Geghard was given as the legendary spear - Geghard - (that pierced Christ) was brought there. Finishing the excursion in the monastery, we will have another short off- road jeeping in the Geghama Mountains, where we will enjoy fresh air and panoramic view of the mountainous landscape and an amazing view to Geghard monastery from the up. After enjoying our time we will drive back to Yerevan.

$112 Private & Custom Tours

Best of Armenia - private 2 days trip from Tbilisi

See the best of Armenia in this 2-days trip starting from Tbilisi. On the first day you will cross the border with Armenia, drive along the curvy mountain road with sights of abandoned Soviet towns. After a couple of hours you will reach the picturesque Sevan lake, which is the second largest alpine lake in the world. The clear blue water, the old stone monastery and the giant mountain surrounding the lake create a stunning landscape. After a short break for a lunch or coffee in one of the nearby traditional cafés by the lake you will proceed to Yerevan, the famous capital city. Here you will visit the ancient impressive Cascade with gardens, monuments and galleries. Also the Old town of Yerevan and the Victory park with an amazing view over the Ararat mountain are on the schedule for the City tour. On the next day you will visit the pagan temple of Garni, which dates back to III. century B.C. Next stop is the legendary Geghard monastery, where the spear that pierced the body of Jesus Christ is believed to been kept.  From there you will visit go through Alaverdi and visit the beautiful Haghpat monastery, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Back to the border again, it´s only about an hour drive to Tbilisi, where we finish our tour.

$18.08 Day Trips & Excursions

Day Trip to Garni Temple Geghard Monastery Lavash baking and tasting

If you are planning on travelling to Armenia, don’t forget to include this unforgettable destination in your plans. Our fantastic tour will introduce you to the exotic Pagan history of Armenia, and show the later development and spread of Christianity in the country. Garni Temple (77 A.D.) – our first stop – is the only standing heathen temple in the whole post-Soviet area. The temple gracefully stands on a high plateau overlooking the Azat river gorge. The plateau itself is incredibly beautiful and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the surrounding area. It is also home to the roman bath house with the mysterious mosaic, made out of 30,000 pieces of natural stones, as well as the ruins of the royal palace, dating back to 3rd century A.D. The monastic complex of Geghard is another historical site included in this daily tour. Approximately translated into English as “Monastery of the Holy Lance”, it refers to the lance with which Longinus pierced Jesus still hanging on the cross, later brought to Armenia and kept in the Geghard monastery for 5 centuries. The complex is a representation of 13thCentury Armenia, which is considered to be the Golden Age of the country’s architecture. However, the most astonishing part is the virtue of the architect, who cut the church right into the solid rock whilst considering all the rules of Armenian architecture. Not far from the temple of Garni, there is a cozy local restaurant, where you can relax and taste some freshly baked lavash – traditional Armenian flatbread. You will be presented a master class of lavash baking prior to tasting it, of course. Also, on the way to the temple, there will be another short stop at the Charents Arch, where you will be given the chance to enjoy one of the best moments of your trip to Armenia – a picturesque view of the Biblical Mount Ararat.

$890 Multi-day & Extended Tours

8-Day Tour of Armenia and Georgia

1st day: Arrival at Tbilisi international airport with included transfer to the hotel in Tbilisi. In the evening you'll be taken to Tbilisi Funicular to enjoy the fantastic view of the city while eating dinner. Afterwards, enjoy a walk on the Bridge of Peace and then back to the hotel.2nd day: After breakfast you'll be taken to Samebo cathedral, the biggest religious building in Georgia and southern Caucasus. After visiting, you'll head to Armenia with your overnight stay in Ijevan.3d day: After breakfast you'll be taken to Goshavank monastery complex and moving to Sevan lake. Lunch at the lake, and then the group will travel to Yerevan for the overnight stay (3* hotel).4th day: Breakfast at the hotel; afterwards you'll visit Yerevan's famous Konyak factory. Enjoy the shops (with possibility to buy), and then you'll visit the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Museum. Lunch will be in the city, with free time after.5th day: After breakfast it'll be time for a day trip to Garni pagan temple, which is more then 2000 years old. After, you'll be taken to Geghard monastery complex. Enjoy the lunch at Geghard Gorge with a fantastic view, and then you'll head back to Yerevan. In the evening, dinner will be local Armenian cuisine, with Armenian national music.6th day: Enjoy the last breakfast in Yerevan and travel to the Northern part of Armenia. Visit to Haghpat and Odzun monasteries, and overnight in Alavaerdi (close to the Georgian border).7th day: After breakfast, the group will travel to Georgia. You'll get to visit the Narikala Fortress by a cable car. OIvernight stay will be in Tbilisi. 8th day: Transfer to Tbilisi International Airport.

$150 Private & Custom Tours

Private 7 hour Trip to Garni - Geghard - Lake Sevan - Sevanavank from Yerevan

The starting point and time of the tour can tailored to your preferences.  You will first of all visit the Eastern part of Armenia and have a short stop at Charent's Arch, from where the wonderful view to Biblical mount Ararat is seen. The next stop is Garni pagan temple which towers over a triangular cape, is the unique survived example of heathen culture in Armenia. It is a blend of Greco-Roman and Armenian styles. King Trdat the First ordered building the temple in the first century A.D. and dedicated it to the God of Sun. After adopting Christianity in 301 the pagan temple lost its significance and the fortress of Garni became the summer residence of the kings. Nowadays the ruins of the royal palace and the bathroom with a stunning mosaic work can be found near the temple. You will then visit Geghard monastery, the unsurpassed masterpiece of the 13th century Armenian architecture. Some of the churches of the complex are masterfully hewed in a huge rock. From the outset the complex was called Ayrivank (cave monastery), later it was renamed Geghard (lance), as the lance used by the roman soldier to sting Jesus Christ's side, was kept in this monastery for many centuries. Due to its construction Geghar-davank serves the best place for singing spiritual songs. The complex is rich in subtle sculptural embellishments and many striking khachkars (cross-stones). After stopping for lunch (own expense) at a lake-shore restaurant, continue to the Sevan Lake, a freshwater lakes located at around 1900m above sea level. The final stop is Sevanavank monastery, which was built on the Sevan peninsula in 874 by the order of King Ashot Bagratuni's daughter, Princess Mariam.  Your tour ends back in Yerevan.

Geghard Monastery in detail