Route type: loop
Route: “Garni” Visitor Center – Havuts Tar Monastery – St. Stepanos Church – Vahagni’s and Astghik’s Waterfall – Geghmahovit’s early medieval church – “Garni” Visitor Center
Description: This route passes through ”Garni” and ”Kakavaberd” districts and includes cultural and natural monuments. The trip starts on foot, moving towards Havuts Tar Monastery, which is located on one of the heights of ”Goght” river valley and was established in 11th century. The elevation is 1600 m above sea level. This was a well-known center for manuscript creation, and the oldest known manuscript created here dates from 1214 AD. ”Havuts Tar” was badly damaged during the 1679’s earthquake. A part of the complex was rebuilt in 18th century by catholicus Astvatsatoor Hamadantsi. Some rebuilding works were done in 20st century as well. Currently the monastery is in ruined condition. The next stop of this trip is by the ”St. Stepanos” church – the main church of ”Aghjots” monastic complex, which is located on 1750 m above sea level, in about 6 kms South-East from Garni village. It was built in the beginning of 13th century. The church has a cross-shaped floor plan, 4 depository sections. Next to the Northern wall of ”St. Stepanos” there’s a vaulted church called ”Poghos-Petros”. There is a remarkable detail on both sides of the entrance of this church: the bas-relief sculptures of apostles Philip and Petr (Poghos and Petros). ”St. Stepanos” church was destroyed by the earthquake in 1679. Here in middle ages were created pictures and illustrated manuscripts related to religion, history and philosophy. Next on this route is from where starts the trail to “Vahagni’s” waterfall, and then to ”Astghik’s” waterfall. Visiting these waterfalls is a perfect opportunity to rest, and on hot summer days also to swim in their refreshing waters. The trail has some difficult passages but the magical impressions from surrounding nature and refreshing energy of waterfalls will help you gain back your power and continue the hike. These waterfalls are connected to each other by their mythological names: in Pagan times Astghik was the Goddess of fertility and beauty, the lover or wife of Vahagn the Dragonfighter – God of war and fire. After ‘”Astghik’s”waterfall, the trail goes to Geghmahovit’s early medieval church. It is recommended to continue from here by off-roading and/or horseback-riding till Garni Visitor Center.
Hiking: 15 km
By car: 5 km
You can find the trail route here.