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Ref ID: 1PY2023/8813 | Posted On: 22-10-2023 | Updated on: 22-10-2023
THE PAGAN TEMPLE OF GARNI AND THE SAINT SION CHURCH
Published by Arthur PIRLIAN
- The Temple of Garni is located in the village of Garni in Kotayk Province, Armenia, and it was once a pagan temple dedicated to the Armenian sun god Mihr.
- The Temple of Garni (built in the middle of the 1st century) was surprisingly the only pagan temple that survived the adoption of Christianity as the official state religion of Armenia, when many pagan monuments were converted into Christian ritual structures in the 4th century.
- Additionally, it survived until its eventual collapse as a result of an earthquake in 1679. After continuous excavations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Temple of Garni was reconstructed between 1969-1975.
- The temple of Garni is the only standing Greco-Roman style monument of pagan Armenian origin preserved in the territory of Armenia.
- Adjacent to the temple of Garni, the ruins of Saint Sion Church can be seen.
- Pieces of evidence about St. Sion church have been preserved in a manuscript from 1346, according to which the church was built in 681 by Kyurapaghat, on the land of Garni, based on the order of Ter Nerses.
- The ruins were discovered during the partial excavations carried out in 1907-1911, while during the 1949 excavations the main walls were completely uncovered.
- The monument was constructed with a tuff stone, is considered as a Zvartnots-type church, as it has the same circular appearance, three-story foundation, and cross-shaped columns. The church could be accessed from the South and the West.