Kotayk Province

Kotayk is located at the central part of the country. Its capital is Hrazdan and the largest city is Abovyan. It is named after the Kotayk canton of the historic Ayrarat province of Ancient Armenia.
Kotayk is bordered by Lori Province from the north, Tavush Province from the northeast, Gegharkunik Province from the east, Aragatsotn Province from the west, and Ararat Province and the capital Yerevan from the south. Kotayk is the only province in Armenia that has no borders with foreign countries.
The province is home to many ancient landmarks and tourist attractions in Armenia including the 1st-century Temple of Garni, the medieval Bjni Fortress, 11th-century Kecharis Monastery and the 13th-century monastery of Geghard, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kotayk is also home to the popular winter sports resort and the spa-town of Tsaghkadzor and the mountain resort of Agveran.
Tsaghkadzor spa town is a popular mountain resort with its several hotels and sanatoriums. It is a major destination for the lovers of winter sports. Many luxury hotels and resorts serve the town during the summer and winter seasons.
The villages of Hankavan, Pyunik, Agveran, Bjni and Arzni are popular summer resorts and major destinations for medical tourism.

Garni Temple

The Temple of Garni is a reconstructed classical Hellenistic temple near Garni village. It is the only Greco-Roman colonnaded building or temple in Armenia and the former Soviet Union. The precise date of construction of the temple is unknown and is subject to debate. The dominant view is that it was built in 77 AD, during the eleventh year of reign of king Trdate I. In 1945 the prominent Armenian painter Martiros Saryan discovered a Greek inscription, which named Trdate the Sun (Helios) the founder of the temple. The inscription reads "The Sun God Trdates, uncontested king of Great Armenia built the temple and the impregnable fortress in the eleventh year of his reign when Mennieay was hazarapet and Amateay was sparapet (general, commander)". The temple is dedicated to Mihr, to the god of the sun and the light. Near the temple there are also the ruins of the bathhouse and the christian church, that was built after Armenia adopted Christianity.

Geghard

Geghard is a medieval monastery in the Kotayk province of Armenia, being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs.This unique architectural construction is included in the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage. The full name – is Gegardavank, literally - "The spear monastery". The name of the monastery complex comes from the spear of Longinus that pierced the body of Jesus Christ on the Cross, and, allegedly, brought to Armenia by Apostle Judas Thaddaeus. Now the spear is exhibited in the Museum of Etchmiadzin. This made it a popular place of pilgrimage for Armenian Christians over many centuries.
The monastery was founded in the 4th century, according to tradition by Gregory the Illuminator. The site is that of a spring arising in a cave which had been sacred in pre-Christian times, hence one of the names by which it was known, Ayrivank (the Monastery of the Cave). In one of the cave cells there lived, in the 13th century, Mkhitar Ayrivanetsi, the well-known Armenian historian. The first monastery was destroyed by Arabs in the 9th century.
Today the monastery complex is located at the end of the paved road, and the walk up from the parking lot is lined with women selling sweet bread, sheets of dried fruit (fruit lavash), sweet sujukh (grape molasses covered strings of walnuts) and various souvenirs.

Kecharis

Kecharis, is a medieval Armenian monastic complex dating back to the 11th to 13th centuries, located 60 km from Yerevan, in the ski resort town of Tsakhkadzor in Armenia. Nestled in the Bambak mountains, Kecharis was founded by a Pahlavuni prince in the 11th century, and construction continued until the middle of the 13th century. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Kecharis was a major religious center of Armenia and a place of higher education.
The main group of the complex consists of three churches, two chapels and a gavit, to the west of which, a few dozen meters away, there is another church with its own vestry at the side of a road leading to the forest. There still are many tombstones around these monuments.
The monastery was heavily damaged in an earthquake of 1927 and the reconstruction of Kecharis was finally resumed in 1998 and finished in 2000. Today the moastery Kecharis is clearly visible from the ski slopes.

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