The astounding Geghard monastery is situated 6 km from the temple at Garni and is revered throughout Armenia as one of the country’s greatest spiritual and cultural centers. First called Ayrivank, or the Monastery of the Caves, the history of Geghard dates back to pre-Christian times. The present buildings here date back the 10th- 13th centuries, when the monastery was renamed Geghard, meaning ‘spear’ or ‘lance’ in Armenian. The association itself harkens back to the times of Jesus, when a spear was used by a Roman soldier to pierce the body of Christ during the Crucifixion. The spear was long housed at Geghard, but is now in the museum of Echmiadzin Cathedral. Geghard is an architectural wonder – a complex of churches hewn from within a mountain of solid rock. Particularly, the main church with its vestibule is striking, alongside three other churches which comprise the site. The main church, Saint Katoghike, dates back to 1215. Together with other domes and columned belfries, the Geghard complex is deservedly one of the most popular destinations for the locals and tourists alike. Boasting intricate stone-carvings, a natural spring, and numerous stone crosses (khach-kars), Geghard has endured all manner of assaults throughout the past 700 years. Geghard Monastery included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.