Garni Temple


icon-mapGarni 2215, Kotayk Region, Republic of Armenia

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Garni’s pagan temple was built in 77 BC, 2nd century. It is located in Kotayk region at the left bank of Azat River. The legend says that the founder of the temple was Gegham (one of the heirs of Hayk the Patriarch) who named the temple in honor of his grandson Garnik. The pagan temple was dedicated to the God Mihr (God of light) as a symbol of light. 

In the center of the temple was the columnar temple which 24 columns symbolized 24 hours. It is surrounded by impassable cliffs, and the other parts of the building are defended by a sequence of fourteen rectangular towers and solid defense walls. During the excavations, the archaeologists have discovered the ancient bathroom which has 5 rooms in it. The most interesting work is the mosaic floor which was made from natural stones of 15 different colors. The mosaic theme was taken from Greek mythology.

But in 59 BC the Roman Armies destroyed the temple, soon after in 70, Trdat 3rd rebuild the temple. Garni’s temple has the style of Greek Architecture.The structure of it is typical of the Hellenistic Architectural period and in the middle is the prayer hall surrounded by four columns. It stands on a high pedestal and the main entrance has nine-stairs consisting of a stone staircase.

Garni is considered to be the architecture pride of Armenia, it has rich decoration, different ornaments, and numerous carvings. Though it was made by Hellenistic Architectural style, the carvings and decorations have the Armenian style such as walnut leaves and grapes. Unfortunately, the temple was destroyed by 1679 earthquake, but the various parts of the temple, columns, and walls were around. Garni temple was recovered in 1930 and nowadays it is one of the main tourist attractions in Armenia.

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