The Pagan Temple of Garni and Havuts Tar Monastery
ElevationAscent: 2,006' 611 m
Descent: -2,010' -613 m
High: 5,313' 1,619 m
Low: 4,055' 1,236 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 42% (23°)
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“This run begins from the Pagan Temple of Garni and is best undertaken from early spring to late autumn.”— State Tourism Committee Republic of Armenia
This run starts from the Garni Temple which overlooks the miraculous basalt column formation known as “Symphony of the Stones”, located down in the gorge, on the east side of Garni. Another natural formation known as “Djutakasar” is also located in the gorge and is equally as impressive as the Symphony. The cost to enter Garni temple is 1,000 AMD.
The run from Garni to Havuts Tar passes through the Gorge of Garni, near the Azat river. It is necessary to register in the guardhouse located on the way to the Havuts Tar monastic complex, then enter the “Khosrov State Reserve” (Havuts Tar is located in the reserve). After registration, the winding road will lead up to the ancient monastery nestled on the peak of the mountain.
Runners will also enjoy the views along the Azat Gorge, with birds flying in the gorge and the Azat River flowing and foaming beneath (the most suitable months to enjoy the area are May and June). The plants, encountered within the Azat Gorge vary greatly, depending on the season; different herbs and colorful flowers with healing properties stretch along the entire route.
Havuts Tar is a monastic complex, an architectural monument, situated on the top of the mountain, on the left bank of the Azat River, east of Garni (province of Kotayk). It was one of the cultural and religious centers of Medieval Armenia. Grigor Magistros Pahlavouni built the Surb Amenaprkich Church (St Saviour's church) in the area around the monastery in 1,013.
Havuts Tar was destroyed by an earthquake in 1,679. Currently the monastery is under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture.
Once you are done exploring the monastery, retrace your steps along the road and loop back to your start point along the gorge.
Other plants include the broadleaf spindle, guelder-rose, sorbus and Caucasian honeysuckle. Many species of flowers such as cichorium, white chamomile, clary sage, valeriana, centaurea, nettle, plantain, white bryony, and achillea, which are said to have healing properties, can also be seen.
Fauna: The most common animals include the Armenian mouflon (wild sheep) and Bezoar goat (wild goat) and some species of amphibious reptiles that can be encountered here in great numbers in the summer months, due to the hot weather.
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