Garni is an easy destination from Yerevan, often combined with a trip to Geghard monastery. In winter, day tours usually just include these 2 places, but in high season, these are combined with other sights nearby Yerevan.
This is Garni Temple on a good day.
This is the Garni temple that I saw. It has a different feel in winter, and the snow made a different effect on the site.
Anyway according to our guide, Garni was a pagan temple initially, dedicated to the goddess of the sun. The steps of the stairs were built “inconveniently” to make the worshipper slow down and bow down on his way up the temple.
When Armenia adopted Christianity, all pagan temples were ordered destroyed, except for this, as the king then gifted this temple to his sister to be her summer house.
A church was built beside the temple in which the Christians would worship. Our guide said that its location was purposely placed beside the temple as the people then were used to going to the same location, and so it would not confuse them.
There was a palace for then king and a Roman-style bath house.
Outside the temple grounds are locals selling home-made delicacies such as natural honey, jams, sujuk and dried fruits. The most popular tip was to buy the authentic gata, something that I didn’t know then.