Garni is on the road to Geghard and both can be comfortably seen on the same day. Halfway to Garni however, take a few minutes to look at the Charents Arts . The arch itself is not what you stop for, but for the great view of Ararat which it frames on a clear day. Truly a Kodak moment. When you get to Garni, it will remind you of a somewhat plain Parthenon. It was built in the first century A.D. by the Armenian King Tiridates with the money he received after visiting Emperor Nero in Rome. The temple was destroyed in 1679 in an earthquake, but was reconstructed in Soviet times. It is an excellent reconstruction and a very worthwhile place to visit. You can even see carved graffiti in Arabic... There are also ruins of mosaic ancient baths and residences in Garni.
The fortress of Garni is situated in the village of the same name in the Abovian District. That was a mighty fortress well known from chronicles (Cornelius Tacitus, Movses Khorenatsi, etc.). The structures of Garni combine elements of Hellenistic and national culture, which is an evidence of antique influences and the distinctive building traditions of the Armenian people. The artistic merit and uniqueness of its monuments place Garni among outstanding creations of architecture of world importance.
Garni temple stands on a high podium with a two-step base and is surrounded with 24 Ionic columns. A broad nine-step stairway leads up to the podium. The sides of the stairway are decorated with bas-relief, placed symmetrically relative to the main axis of the building, showing kneeling Atlantes with uplifted hands who seemed to support the torches which used to stand higher.
Garni two-storey palace situated to the west of the temple was another edifice distinguished for its artistic merits and size (about 15 by 40 m). Its southern part, a presence chamber 9.65 by 19.92 m, was an oblong premise, its ground floor roofing resting on eight square pillars arranged along the longitudinal axis. The walls were punctuated with pilasters, aligned with the pillars. There were niches between them.
Garni rectangular premise at the north-eastern fortress wall, dated the 3rd‑4th centuries, had a similar composition. Just as in the columned hall of Bagineti fortified town near Mtskheta, Georgia, its wooden roofing rested on the inner wooden pillars with stone basis and, possibly, with carved wooden capitals. It seems that the longitudinal side of this architecturally richly decorated premise had wide openings affording a view of the beautiful panorama of the green valley of the Azat river and the picturesque slopes of the far-off mountains.
Garni bath-house is situated in the northern part of the square. at an angle to the residential block. Built in the third century, Garni comprised no less than five premises serving various purposes, four of which had apses at their end walls. The first apsidal room from the east was a dressing room, the second one, a cold water bathroom, the third and fourth ones, warm and hot water bathrooms respectively. Garni bathhouse had a water reservoir, with a heating room in the basement. The floors were faced with baked bricks covered with a layer of polished stucco. They rested on round pillars and were heated from below with hot air and smoke which came to the underfloor space from the heater.
Also well preserved is a great number of superbly executed fragments of column bases, plasters, window and door plathands, cornice stones, etc., which undoubtedly belonged to various monumental buildings. Judging by the remnants, one of these buildings was a four-apse Christian temple of the 7th century built in place of the ruins of the palace’s presence-chamber. Numerous structures on the territory of the settlement adjacent to the fortress as well as handicraft articles indicate a high level of Christian art which flourished there in the 4th to the 17th centuries.