Azat-Gorge / Basalt- Pillars                                               Location: 40,111° N, 44,728° E                         Elevation: 1.235 m   The columnar basalt cliffs fencing the canyon of the Azat River. The  spectacular gorge is 20 km east from Yerevan. On the foothills of  the Gehghama Range the basalt lava created famous columns.  Frozen in time and space, they couldn’t help affecting the  perception of the gorge dwellers. In ancient Armenia the cliffs were known as Satan’s Apiary, an obvious reminiscence of pre-historic  faiths. The origin of 200-meter cliffs remained a mystery for the  scientists. The specialists believed the standing stones to be  enormous basalt crystals. However, recently it has been discovered  that the irregular hardening of rocks gave rise to these peculiarly-shaped sculptures. The fortress Of Garni  Temple has a fairly convenient location. It occupies a triangular cape that is washed by Azat River on two  sides and the steep slopes, overhanging the river, completely create a natural unapproachable boundary.  One side of the castle goes to the gorge, which has a wonderful texture of the slopes as hexagonal prisms.  The Garni Temple is the only monument in Armenia for the period of paganism and Hellenism, which was  able to survive to the present days. It is assumed that this temple was dedicated to the sun god Mithras. The temple is built out of blocks, made of basalt. Photo: Rolf Cosar View of the Azat River Gorge and the Symphony of Stone Basalt Formation from Garni Temple Complex - Garni, Armenia Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar HOME Garni, June 15, 2011