Garni is a temple complex located in the Kotayk Province ofArmenia, situated approximately 32 km southeast from Yerevan.The first traces of human occupation date back to the 3rd millennium BC and are concentrated in an easily defensible terrain at one of the bends of the Azat river. In the 8th century BC the area was conquered by the Urartian king Argishti I. The first literary testimony to the existence of a fortress on the spur crowning the site of Garni comes from the Roman historian Tacitus and dates from the middle of the 1st century AD.
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 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.
Kecharis is a 11-13th-century monastery, located 60 km fromYerevan, in the ski resort town of Tsakhkadzor in Armenia. Nestled in the Bambak mountains, Kecharis was founded by a Pahlavuni prince in the 11th century, and construction continued until the middle of the 13th century. In the 12th and 13th centuries Kecharis was a major religious center of Armenia and a place of higher education. Today the monastery has been fully restored and is clearly visible from the ski slopes.
‘Symphony of Stones’ natural monument, located near Garni Temple, (35 km north of Yerevan) is unique for its volcanic basalt columns of various sizes, which look like an organ, that is why the monument is called ‘Symphony of Stones’. During recent years, basalt columns were broken off of the monument and sold, mainly for construction purposes.