Goght, Kotayk Region, Republic of Armenia
Geghard is a medieval monastery complex in the Kotayk province of Armenia. The monastery was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator. When St. Gregory was proselytising in Armenia, he came across a miraculous spring in a cave and founded Ayrivanq, the monastery of the Cave.
The spring still flows in the chapel and people come here to drink its water․ Because of its sacred springs, this place was worshipped as a sanctuary in pre-Christian times as well.
Later, when Jude the Apostle arrived in Armenia with the lance that pierced Jesus on the cross and left it here, the monastery was renamed Geghardavank, the Monastery of the Lance. The lance (“Geghard”) had been kept in the monastery for about 500 years and now is kept in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Museum.
Geghard is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Katoghike, the main church of the complex was built in 1215. The Monastery is over 50% within the cliff itself, with rooms and passages intersecting at different levels. Some of the churches within the monastery complex are entirely carved out of rocks, others are little more than caves. The architecture of the complex is very complicated and interesting.
Geghard Monastery was not only a spiritual, but also an educational and cultural centre. Many manuscripts now kept in Matenadaran of Yerevan, as well as in the National Library of Paris and the Royal Library of Berlin were compiled, illustrated, written and copied in Geghard.
The Monastery is situated in an exceptionally picturesque area with rocky mountains, thick forests, mountain meadows and springs. Landscape, air, sounds․․․ everything here is unique and in harmony with the magnificent rock monastery.