Garni temple is one of architectural and cultural sights of Armenia. This ancient pagan temple dedicated to Mithras — the pagan sun God, and heavenly light and justice. It is located 28 km from the Armenian capital, near the village of Garni, on a triangular Cape which dominates the gorge of the Azat river.
Estimated date of construction of the temple is considered the second half of the first century — the reign of the Armenian king Tiridates I. After Armenia adopted Christianity almost all the pagan shrines were destroyed, the temple of Mithra – the only survivor.
Garni temple is made in the classic style of Greek architecture, and in appearance resembles the famous temple of Athena. The temple’s facade is decorated with 24 slender ionic columns, which are crowned by a roof with a triangular pediment. The Foundation of the temple — high basalt podium to get on with a wide staircase, located in front of the façade. One of the features of the temple is its luxurious finishes, indicating the high level of development of sculpture in ancient Armenia.In the inner room of the convent near the altar stood a statue of Mithras, so that all who come to worship God, could see her.
In 1679 in Armenia happened strong earthquake which destroyed many buildings, including the temple of Garni. The wreckage of the temple can be found throughout the gorge of the river Azat. In the early 1930s, a famous Armenian architect N. G. Buniatyan examined Garni and made the project of reconstruction of the temple. Thanks to the work of experienced restorers and the locals, which was broadcast collected pieces of the buildings of the temple on the neighboring slopes, in 1966-1976, the Shrine was restored.
Garni pagan temple is the only monument of the Hellenistic period in Armenia. Near the temple you can see the remains of an ancient fortress construction, the Royal Palace and the baths building, erected in article III.