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.
View of the Azat River Gorge and the Symphony of Stone Basalt Formation
from Garni Temple Complex - Garni, Armenia
Garni, June 15, 2011