Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley

The monastery of Geghard contains a number of churches and tombs, most of them cut into the rock, which illustrate the very peak of Armenian medieval architecture. The complex of medieval buildings is set into a landscape of great natural beauty, surrounded by towering cliffs at the entrance to the Azat Valley.

The Geghard complex is an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a medieval Armenian monastic foundation in a remote area of great natural beauty at the head of the Azat valley, surrounded by towering cliffs. It was founded in the 4th century, according to tradition by St Gregory the Illuminator. The first monastery was destroyed by Arabs in the 9th century, but it was flourishing again by the 13th century. The monastery was famous because of the relics that it housed, the most celebrated the spear that wounded Christ on the Cross. Relics of the Apostles Andrew and John were donated in the 12th century and pious visitors made numerous grants of land, money, manuscripts and so on over the succeeding centuries.

Since 2000 it is a Unesco site.

Thanks to my grandma for the postcard.

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