Geghard Monastery - Gegharda-dzor - Ayrivank

Useful Information

Location: Northeast of Garni, at the end of the gorge of the Azat river.
(40.139935, 44.818476)
Classification: SubterraneaCave Churche
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:  
Bibliography: O. Khalpakhchian (1980): Architectural Ensembles of Armenia, Moscow, Iskusstvo Publishers, in Russian.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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10-13th century first buildings erected.
1215 main church constructed.
1283 Avazan church carved into the rock.


Geghard Monastery was originally known as Ayrivank, which simply means cave monastery. The whole monastery is carved out of the rock. In the 13th century it was renamed Geghard which means lance or spear in Armenian. This name is a regard to the most importand relic of the monastery, a 2000 years old roman lance, which is said to be the one used to test if Jesus Christ was dead. Today the lance is in the museum of Echmiadzin Cathedral.

The main building of the monastery is Avazan church an ensemble of two subsequent churches, carved into the rock. Hundreds of khachkars (cross-stones) and caves are built in the rocks surrounding the Monastery.

The monastery may be visited in a day trip from Yerevan.