Garni

Rising amidst a stunning natural landscape, the Temple of Garni can be spotted. It is the only monument of Hellenistic culture in the territory of Armenia. The whole area extends on the right bank of the river Azat. The area has been inhabited since the 5th century BC. Due to the simple elegance, this Ionic colonnaded temple is considered an eloquent testimony of the Hellenistic architecture in Armenia.

The temple, city walls and other monuments, located in this area were built by King Tridates I (77AD). The temple is believed to have been dedicated to the sun god Mithra – an Iranian goddess, worshiped also in pre-Christian Armenia under the name of Mihr. That is why Garni is also referred as the Solar Temple. In Armenia all pagan temples were called Mehyan- a derivative of Mihr.

The whole area of Garni is characterized by natural volcanic rocks, typical of large areas of Armenia. Powerful basalt pillars, located in the gorge of Azat constitute the foundation of the Sun Temple, like hanging gardens.

In front of the gate, leading up to the temple complex, farmers sell different delicacies: traditional sujukh (threaded walnuts dipped in sweet spiced grape-syrup coating), compote and jam, healing juices and dried fruits, as well as fox and badger fur.