Geghard and Garni Private Tour
On the tour, you will visit the UNESCO-listed sites of Armenia, including the Arch of Charents, Geghard monastery, the Temple of Garni, as well as the Garni Gorge and the Symphony of the Stones. Having an experienced guide by your side, you will be able to appreciate the rich history and the cultural importance of the region of ancient monasteries and marvelous landscapes. To begin the tour, you will head to the Arch of Charents that is located near Yerevan on the way to Garni village. Built in 1957, it was dedicated to one of the famous Armenian poets Eghishe Charents. It is believed that he adored this location and visited it frequently. From the arch opens an incredible view to Biblical Mount Ararat and Ararat valley, and it seems as if the mountain doesn't touch the ground, simply hanging down from the sky.
Your next destination will be Geghard, a medieval monastery that was partially carved out of the adjacent mountain and placed among cliffs. It dates back to the 4th century and was founded by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. That is how the structure got its first name, Ayrivank, meaning the Monastery of the Cave. Later, it was renamed to Geghard or Geghardavank that translates as the Monastery of the Spear. Allegedly, Apostle Jude brought to the monastery a holy relic, the spear that had wounded Jesus Christ at the crucifixion and was stored at Geghard for many years. Not far from the monastery, you will find the Temple of Garni, Greco-Roman colonnaded building and the symbol of ancient pre-Christian Armenia. It was built in the 1st century AD as a temple to the sun god Mihr and was converted into a royal summer house after the adoption of Christianity. Today, the structure functions as the central shrine of Armenian neopaganism followers that hold annual ceremonies at the temple.
Heading just below the Temple of Garni, you will reach the Garni Gorge. There, you will visit the Symphony of Stones or Basalt Organ, a natural monument located in the basin of the Azat River. It consists of symmetrically arranged hexagon and pentagon basalt columns that are nearly 50 meters high and extend from the bottom of the gorge to the top of the rocks. The stones seem to be handmade due to their amazing symmetry and hang against gravity, resembling an organ. Still, the Symphony of Stones is a natural phenomenon, and it was formed under high pressure conditions due to the cooling and crystallization of volcanic lava.
Highlights: the Arch of Charents, Geghard monastery, the Temple of Garni, the Garni Gorge, the Symphony of Stones, Ararat valley.
Departure: daily. Includes: a private guide, pick-up and drop-off, car. Price is indicated for a group of 1-4 people.