Garni temple: The heritage of Greco-Roman culture in Armenia
It is already no secret that Armenia is a land of ancient history that goes back to the very beginning of civilization. Garni, one of the oldest cultural heritage sightseeings in the country, is an outstanding temple that will impress you from so many aspects. Learn about the temple’s history, the fortress, the ancient baths around it, and why it is so iconic anyway?
When you first see Garni in front of you, it won’t remind you of anything very special. It may look plain and simple. However, it is an uncommon temple to see in Armenia, in fact, the only one preserved from the pagan times. Garni was built in the first century AD but collapsed in 1679 because of an earthquake, the temple was reconstructed. If you pay attention to the lack of carvings, you will be able to tell the difference between the new and old stones.
The temple was dedicated to the god of the sun – Mihr. Since Armenians adopted Christianity in 301 AD, Garni lost its initial purpose and was used as a summer residence for the kings.
THE FORTRESS AND THE BATHS
The temple is actually within the area of Garni fortress. It used to contain the temple, churches, as well as Roman Baths. It was finalized from 3rd to 1st century BC. The fortress is believed to be of great importance during the Hellenistic period and had also served as a great defense hotspot.
Though it was ruined in 59 AD, the fortress was restored again, this time with Garni temple built alongside it. Nowadays, ruins of the fortress are still present when you visit Garni. You can walk around the area and feel the history in every stone. Don’t forget to look in front of you – the view of nature in front of you is indescribable.
Besides the fortress and the temple, don’t miss out the Bath House. The way the House was constructed with its many rooms is in the model of traditional Roman baths. The rooms consisted of cold water, hot water, steaming rooms, and others. Perhaps, the most interesting part of the House is the mosaic which contains Greek inscription and tells a story of goddess Thetis and other creatures.
Read more about the temple at Caucasus Holidays.