On a rocky triangular promontory 300m high of Azat river are the ruins of the impregnable fortress of Garni, one of the most ancient monuments of Armenian architecture.
In the first century A.D. King Terdat I built a magnificent pagan temple in the fortress dedicated to the god of sun Mithras. For 17 centuries the temple fascinated people by its beauty and perfection of its forms. In 1679 a terrible earthquake left it in ruins. Only 300 years after the excavations this masterpiece of world architecture, remnants of the royal palace, the barracks, a Roman bath and a Christian church were discovered.
The restoration of the temple began in 1966 thoroughly observing all that had remained of the monument and ended in 1975.
Garni temple is the only remaining intact model of Hellenistic architecture in Armenia. The Armenians believed, that everything had to be built according to the laws of nature. They considered geometry contact with gods. Armenians considered three, six and nine sacred numbers, and throughout the temple you will find these measures, or their combinations, illustrating this system of design.
Not far from the temple are the foundations of St. Sion church, built in 659 and commissioned by Catholicos Nerses III the Builder, and foundations for the Summer Palace. In Armenian chronicles the palace is called “a house of coolness”, as far as it used natural “air conditioning”, consisting of hanging wet drapes in the open porticoes and using a Roman form of air conditioning, consisting of hauling large blocks of ice from mountain tops and forcing air over them to cool rooms.
Once you visit Garni, don’t forget to see Roman Baths.
The floor mosaics are the most impressive part of the bath house. One of the sruvived inscriptions on the floor mosaic is in Greek and reads: We recieve no dead fish form the sea neither from the ocean which means “We worked without pay”.
In summer seasons the monument is open from 10 AM to 9 PM, in winter season – from 10 AM to 5 PM. The tickets costs 1000 drams (about $2) and the guide services cost 1500 drams (about $3).
Garni is 28 km away from Yerevan, it takes 40 minutes to reach there.
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