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5 Unforgettable Monasteries in Armenia

Geghard Monastery Armenia

Where would you guess was the first Christian country on earth? Italy perhaps? Nope! It was Armenia.

This small country in the Caucuses was the first nation to adopt Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD. In fact, Christianity began to spread throughout Armenia soon after the death of Jesus Christ. As a result, there are thousands of religious buildings and artifacts scattered across Armenia.

Armenia has been described as an ‘open-air museum of Christianity’, and we think that’s a pretty accurate description!

One of the main reasons we travelled to Armenia was to visit the stunning monasteries dotted across the Armenian countryside. Many of these monasteries date back hundreds of years and are often located in remote gorges or atop mountains. Some are even carved into rocky cliff faces.

There are so many monasteries to choose from in Armenia, so we have listed our 5 favourites below to get you started. The best part? Entry to all of these monasteries is free.

Geghard Monastery Armenia

1. Geghard Monastery

Geghard Monastery is the most accessible monastery in Armenia, located less than one hour’s drive from Yerevan. This rock-hewn monastic complex is an incredible example of the building skills of Armenia’s medieval architects.

The main buildings were completed in the 13th century, but some sections of the monastery date back as far as 1177 AD. An entire community of monks were housed in the complex and the monks lived, studied and worked here.

The monastery included a school, scriptorium and library, but also held important religious relics. The most famous relic was the spear that wounded Christ on the Cross, but this is now missing.

Getting to Geghard Monastery

There are plenty of tour companies offering reasonably priced day trips to Geghard Monastery. You can also catch a minibus from the Gai bus station in Yerevan (near the Mercedes Benz shop) to Garni, then catch a taxi or walk to Geghard.

The first bus leaves Yerevan at 11am. We hired a car in Armenia, and managed to get two speeding tickets and hit a few potholes on the way to Geghard! Have a look at this affordable day trip from Yerevan to Geghard.

Noravank Monastery Armenia

2. Noravank Monastery

Noravank Monastery is set amongst jaw-dropping red cliffs in a remote gorge off the Yerevan-Goris highway. High-profile bishops and princes were housed in the 13th-century monastery.

The Mongols raided the monastery in 1238 AD, but the monastery has been able to retain its medieval…

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