Travel DestinationsHeritage SitesThe Offbeat Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat...

The Offbeat Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley


We were looking closely at covering some remote isolated UNESCO world heritage sites for our website. And of late we were covering some wonderful places from Armenia such as Explore The Archeological Sites Of Echmiatsin And Zvartnots and Reinvent the Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin This Vacation And here we are again with one of the gems of Armenia that has been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage for some good and  reasons. The Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley is a place in Armenia that comes under the Kotayk province. What makes the place stand out from the rest? Well, it is directly carved out of the mountains.

So, what is the place stored in for the tourist looking for something unique and different? A definite adventure, an impeccable nature, mountains and architecture craved out of it? What more a tourist would probably ask for?

Let’s check out more here at India Imagine

About the monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat

Geghard View
Geghard View: Image Credit/

To be precise, the monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat incorporates tombs and churches carved out of single living stone. The architect of the monastery is mostly the Armenian medieval style. This was due to its formation out of carved stones and rocks. The Geghard is famous for its unusual architecture. The walls of the monastery are inscriptions from the past and carved designs that illuminated the religious facet of the place. This place amazes tourists as well as historians to the deep core making it one of the most sought heritage places among others.
The monastery was formed in the 4th century but the main church was built in the year 1215. The entire place came into the UNESCO World Heritage Site list as soon as the place needed protection from getting ruined.

History of the Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley

Geghard Entrance
Geghard Entrance: Image Credit/

We already learned that the monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley are churches and tombs carved out of living stone. The term rock-cut construction is used to explain Armenian Medieval architecture. The entire place and the property were dated back to the 4th century. And since then it has evolved through centuries before entering the list of World Heritage List.

The monastery of Geghard was built in the 4th century. The main architectural construction started after the 13th century.  A cathedral, a rock-cut church and a tomb of princes stood in the heart of the monastery. Then the main church was carved out at the end of the century.

The first rock-cut church of the monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley was built in the year 1250. The second one came into existence in the year 1280. Later on, the Holy Mother of God or the St Astvatsatsin is also one of the most ancient monuments present inside the monastery complex. Tourists love to visit the place and explore the hidden treasures.

 Also Read: Discover The Most Interesting Things About Armenia

Protection of the UNESCO Site of Geghard

Hidden Places in Geghard
Hidden Places in Geghard: Image Credit/

The protection and preservation of the monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley are mostly under the ownership Apostolic Holy Church of the Armenian city. There are laws and orders to protect the heritage site. Also, the Ministry of Culture of Armenia looks into the issues reflecting conservation and rehabilitation of the place and the heritage site for the long term.
And to add on the Government of the place implements the law and reinforce them to ensure a consistent study on the condition of the place, nature as well as technical. The donation to support the cause mostly comes from the state budget personal donation and other entrepreneurial actives.

Best time to explore the place

Geghard_Monastery: Image Credit/

Most of the tourist visits the place in between May and June. The reason being comfortable weather and better traveling prospects. After June, the heat likely crept in making the tour a bit discomfort. However, with a bit of precaution and pre-plan, you can visit the place and time around the year. Also, make it a point to stay for someday than to hurry the tour to reduce the hustle of the travel and enjoy every bit of it.

Mode of transportation

Walk through the Site
Walkthrough the Site: Image Credit/

You need to be in Yerevan to reach Geghard monasteries. And there are mostly three options to connect the place. Either you travel by bus, or hire a cab or rent your cab. If you are a new bee to the place it would be a better option to hire a cab for an easy comfortable tour of the place. Hiring a taxi is also a preferable option. And when you are in the monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley, tour the site on foot to explore the region and learn more about it.

Also Read: Jesuit Block And Estancias of Cordoba-A Remote Heritage Site

Visiting heritage places with archeological eminence gives you an avid knowledge about the history, culture and tradition of the place. Tourists love to visit such places and there has been a tremendous surge in people opting to know more about such places. We should always travel to the heritage sites to promote tourism. And ensure imparting the same sense of responsibility towards sustainable tourism in others. Till you ponder over it…
Bon Voyage!

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