Reserve area and adjacent communities are rich in cultural heritage monuments.
The most noteworthy of them are the temple of Garni (I century AD), “Symphony of Stones”, Geghard monastery (XIII century), Havuts Tar Monastic complex (X-XIII centuries), Kakavaberd (IX-X centuries), etc. You can also be hosted by the local community, learn about their lifestyle and habits.
Temple of Garni
The Temple of Garni is the best-known structure and symbol of pre-Christian Armenia. According to some sources, the temple was built by king Tiridates I in the first century AD, and devoted to the sun god Mihr. After Armenia’s conversion to Christianity in the early fourth century, this temple was converted into a royal summer house of Khosrovidukht, the sister of Tiridates III.
According to some scholars, Garni Temple was a tomb, and, thus, survived the universal destruction of pagan structures. This temple is part of the fortress of Garni, which is the oldest fortress in Armenia.
Garni temple is one of the most visited sites and major tourist attractions in Armenia.
Symphony of Stones
“Symphony of Stones” is a natural monument in Azat George near Garni Village. This natural monument is famous with its beautiful and extraordinary rocks (cliff walls), which consist of regular hexagon cylinder-shaped stones (here it comes the name of the monument). Those amazing rocks were formed in high-pressure conditions, from freezing and crystallization of volcanic lava.
In the UN World Tourism Organization’s Competition of the touristic posters of 2013, Armenia was announced a winner with its “Symphony of Stones” poster.
Kakavaberd fortress is located within the territory of the Khosrof Forest State Reserve at an altitude of 1516 meters. This fortress is a brilliant fort-construction model of historical Armenia. It is located 12 km to the south-east from Garni, on the right bank of Azat river. The fortress now exists and is quite well preserved. it is inaccessible from three sides, as it was surrounded by natural gulfs and huge rocks. The fourth side is fenced/enclosed as it was not protected by natural barriers.
The fortress took the name “Kakavaberd”, as there are numerous partridges/willow ptarmigans thereabout. The original name of the fortress was “Geghama Monastery” after the name of the highland.
There is no precise data on the foundation and destruction of Kakavaberd fort. It was probably destroyed in 1679 from the earthquake after which it was not reconstructed.