Geghard (Geghardavank-“the monastery of spear”) is a monastery complex in Kotayk region, Armenia, situated 40km far from Yerevan in the gorge of Goght river.
The name of this unique architectural attraction is associated with the Holy Lance of Longinus that pierced the side of Jesus as he hung on the cross. It is alleged that the spear was brought to Armenia along with many other relics by Jude the Apostle. At present, the spear is exhibited in Echmiadzin museum. During many centuries, this circumstance made the monastery a popular place of pilgrimage for Armenians. The relics of Andrew and John the Apostles were gifted in XII century.
During the following centuries, the devout visitors presented the monastery land, money, manuscripts and so on. In the XIII century, the famous Armenian historian Mekhitar of Ayrivank lived in one of the cave cells. Except the legendary spear no any other works of applied art escaped distruction. The uniqueness of this structure is in its halls and monastery floors being hewn into a whole piece of basaltic rock. The monastery was founded in IV century in the place of the sacred spring. According to legend, it was founded by St. Gregory the Illuminator. The monastery was destroyed several times by numerous Arab incursions and earthquakes, however it has been restored every time. All existing churches of the monastery are the object of pilgrimage, one of the main sacred places and attractions in Armenia.
Geghard Monastery is listed in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Excursions and tours to Geghard are one of the most demanded during the trips in Armenia.