Tatev Monsatry (Tatev) is a masterpiece of confluence of ingenious medieval architecture and fabulous nature of Armenia. There is no doubt, that Tatev is one of the most spectacular tourist attractions on the Planet. Tatev was also widely regarded as one of the most famous spiritual and educational centers of the Middle Ages.
The Monastery of Tatev (Armenian: Տաթև) is a 9th century Armenian monastery located on a large basalt plateau near the Tatev village in Syunik Province in southern Armenia. It stands on a plateau on the edge of the deep gorge of the Orotan (Vorotan) River. It became the bishopric seat of Syunik and played a significant role in the history of the region as a centre for economic, political, spiritual and cultural activity.
In its day the monastery itself had a population of 1,000 and owned 680 villages. A vast wealth. It was a huge center of learning, art and culture. The Tondrakians, a medieval Armenian hippie sect fought the church rule in widespread revolt, including those in villages belonging to Tatev, before finally being stamped out. In 990AD, King Vasak even burned down Tsuraberd village to end their revolt.
The Sts. Paul and Peter church was built between 895 and 906. An arched hall was added adjacent to the southern wall of the Sts. Paul and Peter in 1043. Soon afterwards, in 1087, the church of St. Mary was added along the northern fortifications. In 1295, the church of St. Gregory, which had been destroyed during an earthquake, was replaced with a new one through the initiative of then Metropolitan Stepanos Orbelian. In 1787, the mausoleum of St. Grigor Tatevatsi was built adjacent to the western wall of the St. Gregory Church and in the end of 19th century a vestibule and bellfry were added at the west entrance of the Sts. Paul and Peter.
The monastery was seriously damaged after an earthquake in 1931, the dome of the Sts. Paul and Peter church and the bell tower were destroyed. In the latter years the Sts. Paul and Peter church was reconstructed, but the bell tower remains destroyed up to today.
Aside from the buildings, the monastery boasts an upright pendulum, known as the Gavazan (staff). This column was built in the tenth century following the completion of the Sts. Paul and Peter church and has survived numerous invasions and earthquakes relatively unscathed.
There is a lot to see at the Tatev Monastery, from churches to tombs to khachkars (cross stones) to medieval living quarters. Undoubtedly, your trip will be full of savory moments not to be forgotten.