Adriaens Croy

Adriaens Croy

Published: 18 Sep 2023


The Monastery of Geghard is an awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage site located in Armenia. With a history dating back to the 4th century AD, it holds a wealth of enigmatic facts waiting to be discovered. This ancient architectural masterpiece is renowned for its unique design and intriguing features that have baffled archaeologists and historians for centuries. From its partially carved out structure within a mountain to its captivating rock-cut churches, the Monastery of Geghard exudes an air of mystery and spiritual significance. In this article, we will delve into 18 fascinating facts about the Monastery of Geghard, shedding light on its rich history, cultural significance, and the legends surrounding this remarkable landmark.

Table of Contents

A UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Monastery of Geghard holds the prestigious title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its exceptional architecture and cultural significance make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts.

Carved into the Rocks

One of the most fascinating aspects of the monastery is that a significant portion of it is carved directly into the surrounding cliffs. This unique architectural feature is a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the medieval builders.

A Symbol of Christian Spirituality

The Monastery of Geghard has deep religious significance for the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is considered a holy place of pilgrimage and a symbol of Christian spirituality.

The Name’s Meaning

Geghard, meaning “spear” in Armenian, is derived from the legend that the monastery once held the spear that pierced the body of Jesus during the crucifixion.

Hidden Treasures

Within the monastery complex, there are several hidden chambers and underground tunnels. It is believed that these secret spaces were used to safeguard valuable artifacts during times of war and invasion.

A Testament to Medieval Armenian Architecture

The architectural style of the Monastery of Geghard is a remarkable example of medieval Armenian architecture. Its intricate stone carvings and detailed khachkars (cross-stones) showcase the skilled craftsmanship of the time.

A Site of Musical Wonder

The natural acoustics of the monastery’s chambers and caves create a unique musical experience. Many concerts and performances occur here, showcasing the harmony between nature, architecture, and music.

The Cave Chapel

One of the main attractions within the complex is the cave chapel of Saint Gregory, carved deep into the rock. Its awe-inspiring beauty and spiritual ambiance make it a popular spot for prayer and reflection.

The Holy Spring

The Monastery of Geghard is home to a sacred spring that is believed to possess healing properties. Visitors often collect water from the spring, considering it a blessing for their well-being.

A Relic of Biblical Proportions

Legend has it that Geghard monastery was home to several significant relics, including a fragment of Noah’s Ark. These relics attracted countless pilgrims seeking spiritual solace.

The Melodic Echoes

Clap your hands or sing a note, and you’ll be enchanted by the melodic echoes that reverberate within the monastery’s chambers. It’s an experience that truly captivates the senses.

A Protective Location

The strategic positioning of the monastery, hidden within the cliffs of the Azat River Gorge, provided a natural defense against invaders. This ensured the safety and preservation of the monastic community in times of conflict.

Ancient Manuscripts and Scriptures

The Monastery of Geghard boasts a substantial collection of ancient manuscripts and religious scriptures. These invaluable texts shed light on historical events and religious practices of the time.

A Place of Pilgrimage

Every year, thousands of pilgrims from around the world journey to the Monastery of Geghard to pay homage to its sacred relics and seek spiritual enlightenment.

A Filming Location

The beauty and mystique of the Monastery of Geghard have attracted filmmakers from across the globe. It has been featured in numerous movies and documentaries, further cementing its place as a captivating landmark.

The Feast of the Holy Lance

Each year, on January 14th, a vibrant religious festival known as the Feast of the Holy Lance takes place at the monastery. Pilgrims gather to celebrate and honor the sacred relic with prayers, processions, and colorful ceremonies.

Natural Springs Flowing Through the Monastery

The Monastery of Geghard is blessed with natural springs that flow through its courtyards, adding to the tranquil and serene ambiance of the complex.

The Masterpiece of Medieval Architecture

The architectural splendor of the Monastery of Geghard continues to be hailed as a masterpiece of medieval art and craftsmanship. Its unparalleled beauty attracts visitors from near and far.

As we conclude our exploration of the 18 enigmatic facts about the Monastery of Geghard, we are left in awe of this remarkable monument. Its captivating history, stunning architecture, and spiritual essence make it a true wonder to behold.


The Monastery of Geghard is a truly enigmatic and awe-inspiring landmark that fascinates both locals and tourists alike. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and sacred atmosphere, it is no wonder that the monastery draws in visitors from all over the world. From the unique rock-cut design to the mysterious legends surrounding the Holy Lance, there is no shortage of intrigue within the walls of Geghard.

Exploring this UNESCO World Heritage site is like stepping back in time, immersing oneself in the spiritual and cultural heritage of Armenia. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a religious pilgrim, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of ancient architecture, the Monastery of Geghard is a must-visit destination that will leave you in awe.


1. What is the history behind the Monastery of Geghard?

The Monastery of Geghard dates back to the 4th century when it was founded by St. Gregory the Illuminator. It went through various renovations and expansions over the centuries, becoming a prominent religious and cultural center in Armenia.

2. How was the Monastery of Geghard constructed?

The monastery is unique for its rock-cut architecture. Many of its structures are carved directly into the cliffs, blending seamlessly with the natural surroundings. This technique not only provides stability but also adds to the mystical atmosphere of the site.

3. What is the significance of the Holy Lance?

The Monastery of Geghard is believed to have housed the Holy Lance, the spearhead that was used to pierce the side of Jesus during the crucifixion. The lance is considered one of Christianity’s most important relics and has drawn pilgrims to Geghard for centuries.

4. Are there any legends associated with the Monastery of Geghard?

Yes, there are several myths and legends surrounding the monastery. One popular legend claims that Geghard was named after the spear (geghard in Armenian) used to wound Jesus. Another legend tells the story of how angels brought the Holy Lance to the monastery for safekeeping.

5. Can visitors attend religious services at the Monastery of Geghard?

Yes, the monastery is still an active religious site, and visitors are welcome to attend services and witness the spiritual ceremonies that take place there. However, it is important to respect the sacredness of the place and adhere to the rules and customs of the monastic community.