The Roman era temple at Garni, Kotayk Province, is believed to date from the first century CE and is the most notable Classical monument in the countries of the former Soviet Union. However, the temple today is the result of a reconstruction that took place in 1969-1975 as the original structure was destroyed in an earthquake in 1679. The site is included here not only because its significance for Classical architecture in the Caucasus in general, but also because the remains of a seventh-century centrally-planned church abut the temple on its western side. There is also a Roman-era bath house complex north west of both the church and the temple. It seems Garni remained significant throughout its history as there is ninth and tenth century Arabic graffiti still visible on the monument and a number of European travellers recorded their impressions of Garni even after its destruction. Today the temple is one of the chief tourist attractions in Armenia as well as being the main cult centre for Armenian Neopaganism also called Hetanism. On the day of the site visit a ritual was being enacted in the cella of the temple and some images of this event are included in this entry.
Images of exterior of Cathedral of Kars/Apostles Church/Kumbet Mosque, it is currently closed to the public as it is undergoing restoration.
A small but well preserved church on the western edge of the plateau the city occupied. Believed to be late tenth century and to have been commissioned by Prince Grigor Pahlavuni. Interior used to be frescoed but was later whitewashed.
The Aghtamar monastery and cathedral that sit on Aghtamar island were built by Armenians in the 10th century AD. It existed as a monastic site and community until 1915 when the community was destroyed. By 1951 the whole site was abandoned, extensively vandalised and was set for demolition, fortunately it was saved. It has undergone extensive and somewhat damaging restoration in recent years often not sympathetic to the sites original construction. The carvings that adorn its outer walls are among the most fascinating aspects of the Cathedral.
The Church of St. George in the village of Nakipari in the Ipari community in Svaneti is C10th and is known for its animal sculptures on the eastern façade of the building as well as for the interior frescoes painted by Tevdoré.
The monastery of Lamaria (Dormition of the Virgin) lies to the north of Zhibiani village in Ushguli community in Svaneti. Ushguli is the highest inhabited collection of villages in Europe and lies more than 2,200 metres above sea level. The monastery is being restored and a new community of monks has settled there post-communism. The church has not been damaged by too much intervention and, as with many other Svan churches, has an additional apses aisle to the south. This connects to the main chapel only by the narthex and has a cauldron in front of the altar for ritual animal sacrifice. In the main chapel there are interesting stone niches built into the iconostasis that do not correspond exactly to ambons and are of unclear liturgical function. The church is C10th.
The Church of the Saviour in Lagami, in the Mestia community in Svaneti is extremely unusual in being a two storied church. The lower church was built in the C10th and possesses an C11th-C12th fresco cycle. Above it is the C14th upper church which has both interior and exterior frescoes.
The church at Zarzma was built between the C10th and C16th at a site that is associated with St. Basil, an C8th holy man. There is believed to have been a church on this site since the C8th and a miraculous C9th icon is also linked with the site. Fragments of this icon are still extant in the Art Museum in Tbilisi and in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
Ninotsminda means St. Nino and is one of several locations in Georgia named after the evangeliser of Georgia. The church is one of the first four-lobed centrally-planned buildings in Georgia and is seen as part of the evolution of this type of architecture. The church dates from the C6th with alterations continuing up until C10th. The site is now the home to a new religious community who live in a range of buildings around the central church.