The Pagan Temple of Garni, Havuts Tar

MODERATE 1 reviews

The Pagan Temple of Garni, Havuts Tar is a 10.0 kilometer moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Garni, Kotayk', Armenia that features a river. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips.

10 km
508 m
Point to Point


nature trips




wild flowers


historic site

no dogs

Overview This hike begins from the Pagan Temple of Garni, and is best undertaken from early spring to late autumn. The Garni temple overlooks the miraculous basalt column formation known as “Symphony of the Stones”, located down in the gorge, on the east side of Garni. Another natural formation known as “Djutakasar” is also located in the gorge, and seems like an inseparable part of the “Symphony”. Equally admirable is the Azat Gorge, with birds flying in the gorge and the Azat river flowing and foaming beneath (the most suitable months to enjoy the area are May and June). The plants, encountered within the Azat Gorge vary greatly, depending on the season: different herbs, and colorful flowers with healing properties stretch along the entire hike. The hike from Garni to Havuts Tar passes through the Gorge of Garni, near the Azat river. It is necessary to register in the guardhouse located on the way to the Havuts Tar monastic complex, then enter the “Khosrov State Reserve” (Havuts Tar is located in the reserve). After registration, the winding road will lead up to the ancient monastery nestled on the peak of the mountain. Flora The flora within the Khosrov Reserve is plentiful – it includes around 1,800 species of plants, which constitute more than 50% of Armenia's flora, 146 of these are registered in the Red Data Book of the Republic of Armenia. In the areas between the Garni and Havuts Tar monastery there are a variety of interesting plants, trees and flowers, which vary depending on each microclimate. Semi-desert landscape dominates the lower slopes of the mountains, and forest vegetation covers the mid-altitude slopes, where juniper and oak trees grow. Other plants include the broadleaf spindle (Euonymus europaeus), guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus), sorbus and Caucasian honeysuckle. Many species of flowers such as cichorium, white chamomile, clary sage (Salvia), valeriana (Valerians), centaurea, nettle, plantain (Plantago), white bryony, and achillea, which are said to have healing properties, can also be seen. Plants like thyme (Thymus) and mint grow here, and are often used as herbs in teas and cooking. Fauna It is quite possible to hike this entire route without seeing any animals. However, the opposite is also true. A primary task of the Khosrov Reserve is the protection and breeding of species, which is strictly monitored and controlled. Usurian spotted deer, for example, was introduced to the reserve in 1,954. The most common animals include the Armenian mouflon (wild sheep) and Bezoar goat (wild goat) and some species of amphibious reptiles that can be encountered here in great numbers in the summer months, due to the hot weather. Other, rarer sightings include leopards, brown bears, wild boars, foxes, hares, lynxes, martens, wolves and badgers. The birdlife is especially abundant, and sightings of black kite, bearded vulture, griffon vulture, eagle, wild pigeon and jay are common. There are also many reptiles, and hikers are recommended to take extra care to avoid unwanted encounters with toxic vipers (Gyurza, in Armenian). Route Characteristics Best time: April to November Distance from Yerevan to the village of Garni: 26 km Duration from Yerevan to the village of Garni: 37 m Cost to get there (by taxi): 2,500-2,700 AMD Cost to get there (by bus): 250 AMD Cost of the ticket to enter Garni temple: 1000 AMD Route Distance: 11 km Route Duration (climbing): 3 hours Altitude (from Sea Level): 160-1,400 m Visible Trail Surface: 100% Safety and Connectivity Mobile telephone coverage (via Ucom) is available between Garni and Havuts Tar, except during some parts of the winding road. 911 emergency services operate throughout Armenia in case of any accidents. Be sure to bring bottled water!