Church and Monastery Recommendations in Georgia and Armenia

We’ve compiled a list of 10 church and monastery recommendations in Georgia/Armenia. Click the pictures below the map to find out more, and please leave your comments in the forum below.

Geghard Monastery

“UNESCO-listed Geghard Monastery is one of the most popular tourist sites in , and it’s not hard to see why. In a land of many ancient churches and monasteries, this 4th-century example really stands out as a memorable and worthwhile experience. Atmospheric, well situated at the end of the Azat River Gorge, and partially carved out of the mountain, it’s hard not to find Geghard an evocative site. As well as the main temple complex with its somewhat unique wall carvings and shadowy/smoky interior, there is a cave temple to explore with excellent acoustics and numerous fine examples of khachkars dotted about.”

Gergeti Holy Trinity Church

“Built in the 14th century, Gergeti Holy Trinity Church is all about the setting. Arrive into and this church perched above the town will probably be the first thing you’ll see; indeed, Gergeti Holy Trinity Church is the main reason that both domestic and international tourists continue to be drawn to this part of . Though the church itself may not keep you occupied for too long, the views of and are truly sublime on a clear day, and it’s easy to spend a good amount of time at this site just admiring them.”

Goshavank Monastery

“Goshavank is one of two very popular monasteries just outside of – the other being . Located at the top of the picturesque and peaceful village of Gosh and surrounded by , Goshavank is an impressive historic-religious complex that has drawn many a tourist over the years, although much of its appeal lies in its location, setting and in the journey getting here. Thought to have been built in the 12th or 13th century, aside from some recent dubious restoration work the church complex remains in very good condition with one of the finest and most intricately carved khachkars currently on display here.”

Haghpat Monastery

“Most likely built around 976 (and founded by Queen Khosrovanuysh), Haghpat Monastery is a UNESCO-heritage religious complex in the town of Haghpat about 15km from more popular . Increasingly visited by tourists, and visible from equally-if-not-more famous , this is one of the most impressive historical sites in . The monastery complex consists of multiple buildings, including chapels, churches and scriptoriums, and some of the most unique and intricately carved khachkars can be found here too. This site should not be missed if you’re in the area.”

Jvari Church

“Though the UNSESCO 6th-century Jvari Church is really no less interesting than many similar churches in the area, many would admit that they visit here primarily for the impressive down to , the confluence of two rivers and the high Caucasus in the background. This church is simply adorned but beautifully positioned, and for that reason alone it draws in continual streams of tourists.”

Sanahin Monastery

“Built during the 10th century, Sanahin Monastery is a UNESCO-heritage religious-historic complex in the town of Sanahin above . Increasingly popular with tourists, and visible from equally as famous , this is a larger-than-usual historical site for and includes a cemetery at the back as well as a number of buildings, tombs and intricately carved khachkars. It should not be missed if you’re in the area.”

Sevanavank Monastery

“The Sevanavank Monastery complex, which includes not only the main monastery but also the Holy Mother of God Church, is one of the most popular touristic sights in . Come on a summer’s day and you’ll find the peninsula this complex rests upon bustling with tourists, but come at other times of year (such as in the winter) and you might find that you have this spot all to yourself. Set picturesquely and peacefully overlooking , with relatively easy access from – and with some noteworthy khachgars too, it’s no wonder that Sevanavank has become somewhat of a picture-postcard attraction.”

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral

“Second only to the in in size, the UNESCO heritage Svetitskhoveli Cathedral truly is a sight to behold. Set behind an impressive wall, with views of on the hilltop in the distance, this thousand-year-old building exudes elegance and holiness in equal parts. Inside, expect to find a wide array of floor tombs, wall paintings, sculptures and genuflecting locals. It’s hard not to be both awed and humbled, even if you yourself are currently without God.”

Tsminda Sameba Holy Trinity Cathedral

“This is one of the largest Orthodox Cathedrals on the planet, and although it was only finished being built in 2004 it is no less impressive for it. Set on large and pleasant grounds with multiple buildings and monuments, the free-to-enter ‘Sameba’, as it’s more commonly called, is quite impressive and offers great views of the surrounding city. There are some interesting artefacts inside, but otherwise it’s quite bare.”

Vardzia Cave Monastery

“Carved out of Erusheti Mountain and overlooking the Kura River, Vardzia is a 12th century cave monastery that has stood the test of time. Up to 19-storeys of caves are built into the cliff face, some of which have maintained interesting features for the casual visitor such as wine cellars and wall paintings. The centrepiece is the Church of the Dormition, which is still used as a place of worship by locals today. Most of the other caves are unfortunately now rather bare though.”