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Mashtots Hayrapet Church

Garni, Armenia

Cultural Treasure

A simple, yet architecturally beautiful 12th century church standing amidst groves of walnuts trees. Originally the site of a pagan shrine, some motifs and carvings around the Mashtots Hayrapet Church reference pagan symbols, perhaps indicating a connection from Armenia’s past to their present.

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The church is located in the center of the simple village of Garni, home to 6,000 people and around 1 hour east of the capitol.


The current church was constructed in the 12th century A.D. The church was constructed in the similar time as the famous Geghard Monastery a few miles to the east, perhaps using a similar architecture for this smaller chapel.


It was, and is still, used as a place of worship. This location was formerly a pagan shrine, but after the Christendom of Armenia, it was converted to a church.


Often overlooked compared to Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery, it is now seldom visited save for locals of Garni. No entrance fee collected.

Our Visit

While walking through the quaint village of Garni, passing endless fruit trees and dilapidated vehicles, a spur north from the road led us to the church. The midday sun shone through the trees, casting shadows over the stone walls and giving it a peaceful appearance. As we walked among the grounds, Armenian children ran around, probably off from school for the day. Numerous kakhars lay on the ground as well as tombstones of unknown Armenians. It was a small church, but we felt like it was stepping back in time to a medieval period of Armenia.


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