Garni

Garni Village as seen from the Shrine of Saint Sargis
Garni Temple

Garni is a village in the Kotayk Province of Central Armenia.

Understand

Garni is rich in history. The area was fist occupied in the 3rd millennium BC along easily defensible terrain at one of the bends of the Azat River. In the 8th century BC the area was conquered by the Urartian King Argishti I. The fortification at Garni was erected probably sometime in the 3rd century BC as a summer residence for the Armenian Orontid and Artaxiad royal dynasties. Later around the 1st century BC the fortress of Garni became the last refuge of King Mithridates of Armenia, where he and his family were assassinated by his son in law and nephew Rhadamistus. The fortress was eventually sacked in 1386 by Timur Lenk. In 1679 an earthquake devastated the area destroying the temple.

Much of the population today descends from people settled in the population exchange of 1829–1830, following the Treaty of Turkmenchay between Russia and Persia.

Get in

By taxi

Taxis are the quickest way to get to and from Garni. They can be picked up in Yerevan and will cost on average AMD 2500-3000 (2015, one way trip) depending on the driver.

By marshrutka or bus

Marshrutkas/village transport buses are the most affordable way to get to Garni but are definitely not the fastest or the most comfortable option. They leave from Yerevan's Gai Bus Station typically every 30 minutes or until they have reached their full capacity, cost 250 AMD. To reach Gai Bus Station (located on Gai avenue, in front of a large Mercedes-Benz showroom) take buses 22, 26, 36 or marshrutkas 9, 69, 73 from the city centre. Stops are made at the villages of Garni, Goght and Geghard. Drivers wait 15-20 minutes at Goght after dropping off all of the passengers, then head back to Yerevan making stops along the way and at Garni to pick up more passengers.

If you get stuck in Garni past the time that the minibuses stop traveling to and from Yerevan, you need not to worry. Talk to almost any villager and they will most likely be willing to help you in any way possible and will try to arrange a taxi for you to get back to Yerevan. It will probably not be an "official" taxi but will charge comparable rates.

  Garni Bus stop.

By tourbus

Various tourbuses may be arranged ahead of time in Yerevan. They typically have tight schedules leaving you little time to explore the hidden gems in and around Garni.

Get around

Unless you are in a hurry, walking is the best way to see Garni. If you need to know where to find something, almost any of the residents will be willing to point you in the right direction or even walk you there.

See

Mashtots Hayrapet Church
Surb Astvatsatsin Church

Out of the city

Geghard Monastery

Khosrov Reserve

Havuts Tar Monastery's church
Aghjots Vank
Kakavaberd

It's a national park located directly across from Garni. It is a noted area in the Caucasus region for unique European and Asian flora and fauna; and is located at an altitude of 1600-2300m above sea level. To get there you may take a taxi or walk down the road that crosses the river and goes up the ridge across the gorge from Garni and Goght. You must obtain permission to enter the reserve, it can be acquired at the Garni's Information center or at the forest guards' kiosk located on the trail leading to Havuts Tar Monastery (after passing 11th-century footbridge). Some additional info about reserve can be found at reserve's official web site.

Just before entering through the wall surrounding the Havuts Tar monastery, a trail leads to the right up a hill and through a slightly wooded area. At the end of this trail not too far away, are the ruins of a small chapel with two khachkars nearby to the left and one to the right.

Do

Buy

Because the economy of the village is based predominantly on tourism, many "tourist" stands may be seen near Garni Temple and the main roads. Some good foods may be bought from villagers trying to make a living.

Eat

Sleep

Given the proximity of Yerevan, most of the visitors stay in the capital.

Geghadir village

Goght village

Connect

All three mobile operators have a decent 3G coverage in the area.

However, there was no WiFi spotted in local restaurants (2015), although some hotels might have WiFi available.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, February 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.