The temple, dedicated to the sun god Mithra, was built by the Armenian King Tiridates I in 76 AD. It is the only remaining pagan shrine not only in Armenia, but, perhaps, in the entire region.  

After Armenia adopted Christianity as a state religion, all pagan temples were destroyed and the newly built churches replaced them. Only Garni wasn’t razed to the ground. Nevertheless, the temple was almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake in 1679, and restored already in the Soviet times.

For a long time, Garni was used as a summer residence of Armenian kings. Next to the main building, located was a Roman bathhouse, the mosaic floor of which has remained almost intact.

Garni is surrounded by a deep gorge of the Azat River with unusual steep cliffs formed of hexagonal cylinders of such an ideally regular shape that they seem artificial. Due to this spectacular view, the place was named the “symphony of stones”.


The Temple of Garni is only partly accessible for visiting. The pagan temple itself is made of 6’5’’ high basalt blocks, making the steps at least 1’ high, which makes it impossible to enter the ancient building. However, in addition to the temple, the remains of the fortress can be seen on the territory of the complex, as well as the ruins of the royal palace, various fragments of bas-reliefs and the bathhouse building. In addition, you can admire the beautiful views of the canyon.