The unsurpassable masterpiece of Armenian architecture – Geghard Monastery is revered throughout Armenia as one of the country’s greatest spiritual and cultural centers located in Kotayk province of Armenia, at a distance of 36km from Yerevan. Monastery is partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. According to the legend, the monastery was founded during the first years of adoption of Christianity as state religion by Gregory the Illuminator (the beginning of the 4th century). In the remote past the monastery was called “Ayrivank” (“Monastery in Rock”) because of the constructions, dug into the rock. From the 13th century it was also called Geghard or Geghardavank (“The Monastery of Spear”) in honor of the spear, kept in the monastery (spear with which Jesus Christ was pierced during Crucifixion). The territory of Geghard monastery complex is known also for a holy water spring, which continues to flow from pagan times till now through one of the rock hewn chapels of the complex. The monastic complex is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with enhanced protection.
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