Garni Temple

Churches and Monasteries

The symbol of pre-Christian Armenia – Garni is a pagan temple that sits on a cliff overlooking a ravine surrounded by mountains, making it one of the most iconic attractions in Armenia.

30.5 km

Garni Fort and Pagan Temple are dramatically situated on a rocky promontory which juts over the Azat River Gorge. This eminently defensible site was developed as a fortress as early as the 3rd century BC, and around 70 AD a Greek-style temple was constructed on this site. One of the most iconic images of Armenia, Garni temple was destroyed by an earthquake in the late seventeenth century but was extensively restored in the 1970s.

The temple is surrounded by a palace complex which comprises a number of buildings over a large area around the main square of the fortress. Palace buildings include the remains of a small temple, throne room, formal hall, residence and a bath house. The site is enclosed by the remains of a fortress wall and gateway, which still serves as the main access to the attraction. A number of buildings have been identified within the walled area, including the remains of a two level Royal Summer Palace, a bath complex, a church built in AD 897, a cemetery and the site’s most famous and best preserved monument the Greco-Roman temple built in the classical Ionic order. 

​Archeological excavations on the site have revealed no less than six successive layers of human occupation. The earliest traces of habitation date back to the Neolithic period, followed by Bronze Age and Classical layers, as well as three distinct medieval layers. The fortification circuit is built of massive basalt blocks weighing up to 6 tons and extends over 300 meters in length, punctuated by guard towers and the main entry gate.