Geghard Monastery

The monastery of Geghard (meaning spear) is a medieval monastery in the Kotayk province, partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. The main chapel was built in 1215, but the monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. The full name of the monastery Geghardavank, meaning "the Monastery of the Spear", originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, called here Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Etchmiadzin treasury. The spectacular towering cliffs surrounding the monastery are part of the AzatRiver gorge, and are included together with the monastery in the UNESCO World Heritage Site listing.