Tatev Monastery

Written by T.A.K.. Posted in Travel

Near the small Tatev village in the Syunik Province of Southeastern Armenia sits the breathtaking Tatev Monastery. Built in the 9th century the monastery sits right on the edge of a deep gorge along the Vorotan river.

History

The Tatev plateau has historically been considered as a holy place as it was in use since pre-Christian times, hosting a pagan temple. The temple was replaced with a modest church following the Christianizing of Armenia in the 4th century and eventually with the monastery being constructed in the year 848 when it became the seat of the Bishop of Syunik.

In the 14th and 15th centuries Tatev was one of the most important Universities in Armenia becoming an important centre for Science and Education. It played an important role in the preservation or Armenian culture and creed through many invasions thanks to its strategic location and reliable fortifications.

The monastery was seriously damaged after an earthquake in 1931, destroying the domes of the St. Paul and St. Peter church as well as its bell tower. Recently the churches were reconstructed, but the bell tower remains in ruin.

Local Legend

They say that during construction of the main church an apprentice secretly climbed to the top of the steeple intending to place a cross he made himself. But was spotted by his master who shouted at him causing the apprentice to loose his footing and fall into the abyss. The apprentice cried out to let God grant him wings as he fell which, in Armenian is: “Ta Tev”

Getting There

Getting to the Monastery can be a pretty awesome experience in itself, as you can hitch a ride on the aptly named "Wings of Tatev" the worlds longest aerial cableway. Which runs all year round from the village of Halidzor. Prices are around 3000 AMD (~ €5.7/$8/£4.5)

If you are not feeling that adventerous you can always take a bus or car. Here it is on the map.

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