The monastery was built on a brink of a deep gorge, in 1171, by the Kyurikid princes, a junior branch of the Bagratuni royal house of Armenia. Kobayr Monastery is located in Lori region of Armenia, on steep hillside gorge of Debed river. Kobayr monastery was an important cultural and correspondence center. As a monastery, it was formed in the first half of the 13th century. Findings dating to the Bronze and Iron Ages, and some to the Copper Age have been discovered in the territory on which the monastery can be found.
The name of the monastery has the following interpretation – Kobayr has the Georgian root “kob” and Armenian root “ayr.” The combination of the two roots made the name of the monastery, which simply means “cavern” in English. The naming is related to the dominating number of caverns all around. The Kobayr monastery belongs to a number of remarkable monastery complexes of medieval times, the history of which is closely connected with activities of famous medieval Armenian feudal houses - Kyurikid's, Bagratid's and others. It was one of the most important seats of the written language and cultural centers of Armenia. The monastery is situated in the southwestern part of Kobayr railway station road (Lori district, near the town of Tumanyan) on the high slopes of Debet ravine. There are uncommonly harmonic combinations of the complex with surrounding picturesque nature and which make the panorama of the monastery exceptionally impressive. The essential part of the complex consists of three churches, belfry-burial vaults, refectory, chapels, khachkars and remainders of walls of the fortress.