Garni canyon Natural Monument
Garni Canyon is located around 30 km east of capital Yerevan. What make it absolutely glorious are the polygon columns and the vertical cliffs.
The canyon is believed to be formed millions of years ago. It was caused by volcanic eruptions. But the site would definitely not be this impressive if it had not gone through the cooling and solidifying processes of the boiling lava. It is basically due to it that the canyon has acquired the current forms, which make it appear perfect. The formation of these shapes can be traced upon the rock layers, which clearly show how the lava was solidified.
The Garni Canyon is not the only similar formation. There is also the remarkable Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. They are both basaltic formations and the main difference between them lies in where exactly there were formed, since the Garni Canyon can be found in the mountains, while the Giant’s Causeway has seaside location. Interestingly, the Giant’s Causeway came to the center of people’s attention only after 1730. Before that it was not known, and it’s still a mystery how it could happen.
In regard to these two most beautiful sites, it should be said they appear as two distant cousins and to get a broader idea of the entire family it’s simply a must to visit both.
The gorge can be reached by two ways. The first option is via a road that starts not far from the Temple of Garni and leads you down, and the second one is via a road that passes through the village. It’s a cobblestone road and might cause some weariness to the legs if you are not wearing proper sneakers. Avoid shoes.
Danger, hazards, threat to life – these are things that will occur to you as you look down and plan to walk down the canyon. And you will be right because it’s really hard to conquer it. You might think of going down by car, and you will make a big mistake. It’s possible to do but there are several things to consider – the road is very narrow, and you might scratch your car or even worse, break it down. This should be considered especially if it’s your favorite car or if it’s new.
Other than that, if something goes wrong, while driving down by car, you will endanger the lives of all the people inside it. So the “on foot” option is the best.
Make sure you have enough water. It won’t take too long to get down, but the sun, especially if you are carrying out your venture during summer-time, will make you feel its need and the absence doesn’t promise good mood.
One of the most interesting things to do while you are down is to have a picnic, so make sure you have at least some food and drinks. It will seem an additional load to you as you go down but as you are finally down you will appreciate them and stop cursing yourself if they caused you some inconvenience. Also note that most of those picnic-related things (if not all) will be consumed and won't "hurt" you on your way up.
For lovers of swimming – down the gorge the cold water River of Azat flows. You can swim there to your heart’s content. The river originates from Geghama Mountains and passes through Khosrov Forest State Reserve.
Lastly, it should be noted that whenever there is some talk about visiting Garni two top destinations are considered, the Temple of Garni and the Monastery of Geghard. These two sacred sites are no doubt a must-see but this spectacular natural site, which seems to be created by most talented architects, is not to be missed.