Tatev Monastery is one of the four most wonderful places of Armenia together with the monasteries of Sanahin, Noravank and Haghpat. Located 1600 high in the mountains, in Zangezur, Tatev Monastery forms an incredible harmony with the picturesque landscape creating an impression as if it were an inseparable part of that landscape.
The monastery was founded in the fourth century at the site of a pagan temple. There was a church and a few monks. According to Stepanos Orbelyan, an Armenian historian, the founders of the church were Prince Ashot, his wife Shushan, Grigor Supan, the ruler of Gegharkunik, and Prince Dzagik.
At the end of the eleventh century and were built three churches, a hall for pilgrims and other buildings. From the thirteenth century was the seat of the Bishops of Syunik Sometimes the monastery suffered attacks by invaders and earthquakes. Tatev monastery was seriously damaged after an earthquake in 1931, the dome of the St. Paul and St. Peter church and the bell tower were destroyed.
In 1387 during the invasion of Tamerlane, the monastery was burned and looted. After the invasions of nomadic Turkmen tribes in 1435, the monastery and college were devastated, and the bishop with the fraternity moved to the monastery of Sanahin. At the beginning of the 10th century, a school was founded in Tatev, the students of which studied humanitarian sciences and illustrated manuscripts. It played an especially active role in the development of science and art in the 14th-15th centuries, under Ovnan Vorotnitsi (1315-1388) and Grigor Tatevatsi (1346-1411).
The monument “Gavazan”, one of the unique works of Armenian architectural and engineering art, was erected in 904. This is an eight meters tall octahedral pillar, built of small stones. In the years of 1974-1998, was partly restored. The pillar, hinge-coupled to a stylobate, tilts and then returns to the initial position. The golden setting framework of Tatev Gospel merits special mention. It shows scenes from the Gospel and portraits of Tatev scientists – Hovnan Vorotnetsi and Grigor Tatevatsi (now in the museum of Ejmiadzin Cathedral).
The University of Tatev operated in the monastery between 14-15th c. and housed 600 monks, philosophers, painters, musicians and others.
It can be said for sure, that you will never forget you visit to Tatev. The road to Tatev is a little bit long (taking almost 3,5 hours), but the way is so beautiful, that yo never get bored.
The last part of the trip to Tatev monasteryis the most breathetaking. The longest ropeway “Wings of Tatev” is a Guiness Book of Records entry. The ropeay goes from the village Halidzor to the village Tatev. During the ride you will enjoy fantastic scenery. The whole way takes about 12 minutes, whereas the trip up the steep switchback road of the Vorotan Gorge takes around 40 minutes.The price of the ticket varies depending on the season. The maximal price to two-ways ticket is 5000 drams (about $10). Take into consideration, that ropeway doesn’t operate on Mondays.
All income from cable car “Tatever” goes to the “Tatev Revival” fund, which has the purpose to restore the monastery and to develop the local community.
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