13 March, 2018 Syunik Region 3885 Views

Tatev Monastery

The monastic complex (9.c.) stands on the edge of deep Vorotan gorge. Tatev is known as the bishopric seat of Syunik and played a significant role in the history of the region as an economic, political, spiritual and cultural center.
The monastery is one of Armenia’s most important monuments, and a candidate for World Heritage Status. Its history, magnificent building with fortress walls, a huge church and dozens of monk cells, halls, rooms and with secret passages, as well as the splendid nature combine to make this one of the must-see sights in Armenia.

History
The monastery was named after Eustathius, one of 70 disciples who accompanied the Apostle Thaddeus into Armenia. Thaddeus preached Christianity in the first century in Armenia. There is a small church (4.c) built on the relics of Saint Eustathius, nowadays it is preserved only in ruins. 

Monastery Complex
The main Church of Saint Paul-Peter (Poghos-Petros, 9.c.) is the largest building of the monastic complex being built on the relics Paul-Peter. In 930 the church walls were decorated with frescoes, unfortunately little of those decorations survive today.
In the courtyard you find an octagonal pillar topped by a khachkar. This monument has predicted activity by shifting. The key purpose of the column is to give early warning signals about possible earthquakes or approaching armies. 
Outside of the main gate an oil press is to be found which is an excellent illustration of olive presses built in the region during the Middle Ages. They got oil by pressing seeds, plants and flowers which was used during the church services and for the protection of the monastery. Hot oil was poured on the enemies from the defensive walls. 
The monastery hosted once around 500 monks and a large number of artisans.

Medieval University
The monastery was especially known for its university, founded at the beginning of the 10th century. It was one of the oldest universities in the world, the students of which studied humanities, sciences, music, art and illustrated manuscripts. The school was of great importance, inspiring the creation of the Gladzor University in Vayots Dzor and the opening of similar academies at monasteries throughout Syunik, such as Gndevank, Tsakhatskar and Bgheno-Noravank. The university reached its zenith in the 14th century, when Gladzor University was closed as a result of the 1338-48 Mongol internecine wars.

The earthquake of 1931 destroyed some parts of the monastery which were restored in the 1990s, some reconstruction works go on also nowadays.

Longest Cableway
With the cableway „Wings of Tatev” you get the monastery from the village Halidzor. The ropeway was opened in 2010 and was included in the Guinness World Records as world's "longest non-stop double track cable car."

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