Hiking trail 1.1
Garni Visitor Center – Havuts Tar Monastery – Garni Visitor Center
Length: 5,2 km
Duration hours: 1,00-1,50 hours (not counting the times of rest , food-breaks and vehicle transfer)
Difficulty level: Easy
Minimum elevation: 1406 meters (4613 feet)
Average elevation: 1532 meters (5026 feet)
Maximum elevation: 1623 meters (5325 feet)
Maximum slope: 33-35%
Description:This trail passes through the picturesque canyon of Azat River in Garni district. It can be passed on foot or by horses.
This hiking trail brings you to Havuts Tar Monastery which was a remarkable cultural and religious center of medieval Armenia. The monastery was established in 11th century being especially active in the period between 12th and 14th centuries. There are the following explanations of the establishment and the name of the monastery. According to a legend, the name of Havuts Tar, that means ‘’bird flight’’, is connected to an Armenian priest who healed Lenk Temur that attacked Armenia. For payment, he asked the invader to release as many prisoners as could enter the church, and when the prisoners entered the church, the priest converted them into birds. The monastery has also the name of St. Rescue, as here was the remarkable holy crucifixion rescue cross-stone. In the name, according to another interpretation, the word “hav” is used in the meaning of “grandfather” or “ancestor” in the Armenian language, by which “Havuts Tar” is considered to be the seat of two great Armenians; Sahak Partev and Mesrop Mashtots. Another explanation says that the monastery got its name from a village spreading around it, which ruins remained and can be found until today. Therefore, it should not be exclude that the term “Havuts Tar” existed much earlier than the foundation of the monastery, because the picturesque hills covered with dark green, on which the monastery was built, could be called “Havuts Tar” as a place of bird flight. It was a cathedral and had its special diocese, which also included the city of Yerevan which means that the head of Havuts Tar at the same time was the head of Yerevan. Besides being an important educational center Havuts Tar was a well-known center for manuscript creation as well, and the oldest known manuscript created here dates from 1214 AD. In 1013, Grigor Magistros constructed Surb Amenaprikich (St. Rescue) church in this complex referred to the Early Middle Ages. The walls of the main church are built with diverse color scheme using fine processed red toned local tuff stone and are rich of carved texts. The cupola and the roof are destroyed. From Southern side there are two nave chapels (now ruined). It was badly damaged during the 1679’s earthquake. Portions of the complex were rebuilt in the early 18th century by the Catholicos Astvatsatur Hamadantsi, and some restoration efforts took place in the early 20th century. Currently the monastery is in ruins.
You can find the trail route here.