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Geghard is a medieval monastery in the Kotayk province of Armenia, being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While the main chapel was built in 1215, the monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. The monastery had thus been originally named Ayrivank, meaning "the Monastery of the Cave". The name commonly used for the monastery today, Geghard, or more fully Geghardavank, meaning "the Monastery of the Spear", originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, called here Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Echmiadzin treasury.
The spectacular towering cliffs surrounding the monastery are part of the Azat River gorge, and are included together with the monastery in the World Heritage Site listing. Some of the churches within the monastery complex are entirely dug out of the cliff rocks, others are little more than caves, while others are elaborate structures, with both architecturally complex walled sections and rooms deep inside the cliff. The combination, together with numerous engraved and free-standing khachkars is a unique sight, being one of the most frequented tourist destinations in Armenia.
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    Nelly Khachatryan

    If you are lucky enough to visit this gorgeous historical place in autumn you will be stunned by the harmony of the man-made wonder with the surrounding beauty of the nature. Even if you are not an artist take your time to cross the bridge behind the complex and find a cosy place under a tree and just look around- you’ll find your first inspiration to draw the picture of the stunning colors of the nature. Don’t forget your treat of national sweets on the way down.

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