Architecture, History, Travel Tips

Geghard Monastery, Armenia


Geghard Monastery was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator. In the 9th century, Arab invaders destroyed the original complex. The main chapel standing today is 800-years-old and is a protected UNESCO world heritage site.

It is believed that the spear used to kill Jesus was stored here. In fact, the name Geghard means “spear” in Armenian.

Getting to the monastery: Small buses leave from the Gai bus station next to the Mercedes Benz showroom in northern Yerevan roughly every half hour starting at 10am for 300 dram (less than $1). I cannot stress this enough: before leaving, make sure to verify which buses/trams reach Gai because bus routes in Yerevan change constantly and even travel blogs from 2017 and 2018 suggest bus numbers that no longer exist or no longer reach Gai. I used an app called A2B Transport to pick a bus, which has an updated public transport itinerary. I used bus #5 from the city center for 100 dram.

The mini bus will take you to a town called Ghoght, from which you can take a taxi to the monastery. I decided to go to the Monastery before visiting the pagan temple in Garni, but most people visit Garni first.