Garni

The settlement has an ancient history, and is best known for the Hellenistic Garni temple. The area was first occupied in the 3rd millennium BC along easily defensible terrain at one of the bends of the Azat River. In the 8th century BC the area was conquered by the Urartian King Argishti I. The site, occupying 3.5 hectares (8.6 acres), is officially known as the Garni Historical and Cultural Museum-Reservation. It includes the temple, a bath complex with rare mosaic floor, the royal summer palace remnants, the seventh-century St. Sion church and other items.

The Sun God Tiridates, uncontested king of Great Armenia built the temple and the impregnable fortress in the eleventh year of his reign when Mennieay was hazarapet [thousander, chiliarch] and Amateay was sparapet [general, commander].

The fortification at Garni was erected probably sometime in the 3rd century BC as a summer residence for the Armenian Orontid and Artaxiad royal dynasties. Later around the 1st century BC the fortress of Garni became the last refuge of King Mithridates of Armenia and where he and his family were assassinated by his son-in-law and nephew Rhadamistus. The fortress was eventually sacked in 1386 by Timur Lenk. In 1679 an earthquake devastated the area destroying the temple.

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