Geghard is another incredible ancient Armenian monastery, partly carved out of a mountain. Though the monastery has been around since before the 4th century, the main cathedral was built in 1215. The monastery is located literally at the end of the road. From here you walk up a path which has a few vendors of souvenirs and snacks. (try the sweet “sujukh”, sweet lavash and gata if you have never tasted them before). You then reach the entrance to the compound which is surrounded by high walls on three sides and the mountain on the fourth. Inside, you can enter the churches which are interconnected.

There is some water in a small pond/stream in one chamber carved into the mountain, and the acoustics are great throughout. If you climb up stone stairs located on the left side of the church, you will pass some very finely carved khatchkars. From here you enter yet another chamber. This chamber, though not much to look at, had the greatest acoustics I ever saw demonstrated to me when the monk who was guiding us began to sing. His voice was beautiful to begin with, but when he began to sing in this chamber it was hard to believe a large choir was not singing praise at the top of their lungs… that it was only one man. Also in the corner of this chamber, if you look down you will see a hole that goes through which allows the lower churches interior to be seen. Outside of the monastery complex, before you enter the gates, you will notice some caves perhaps and ruins to the left of the entrance. If you are in shape, you should climb up in this area which has a bunch of little cave-rooms and is quite interesting.

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