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Ruins at Tatev Monastery in Armenia

Ruins at Tatev Monastery in Armenia


Ruins at Tatev Monastery in Armenia - History

The most iconic churches and monasteries of Armenia

The most iconic churches and monasteries of Armenia

Armenia gratifies for being the first country to adopt Christianity back in 301AD. The religion was initiated in the missions of Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus in the first century. Hence the splendid number of churches and monasteries in Armenia: more than 4000 churches! Of course, nobody will have the time to visit them all, although each one of them is worthy to be explored, so here’s a list of the most frequented churches in Armenia.

Khor Virap Monastery

Khor Virap is an iconic pilgrimage site that Armenians are very proud of. It is located near the Turkish border in the Ararat plain. The chapel is so sacred because that’s where the Saint Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned in Khor Virap, known as the Pit of Oblivion, for fourteen years without food or water. He has then become the religious mentor of the king Tiridates the Third. When you visit Khor Virap, you will have the chance to go down the pit and imagine what St. Gregory went through. You will also get the chance to take a glance of the symbolic Mount Ararat from there.

Echmiadzin Cathedral

Located in Vagharshapad, Armavir province, Echmiadzin is the mother church of Armenia. The original chapel was built in the early fourth century which makes it the oldest cathedral of the world. As the main monument of Armenian Christians worldwide, Echmiadzin has been an important religious, political and cultural location visited by every tourist, even by those from a different religion. The Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin hosts also the chair of the Catholicos, the supreme head of the Armenian Church.

Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral

Situated in the heart of Yerevan, the Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral is the largest one in the country. The doors of the church are always open, so people during the day pass by, say a small prayer, and move on with their lives, which is something incredible. The huge cathedral is a complex construction constituted of three churches. The whole monument is very delicately and beautifully designed, even the long stairs leading to the church are noticeable. You should visit this church twice, once during the day and once at night, for it becomes particularly beautiful after being illuminated by the floodlights.

Tatev Monastery

Tatev Monastery is located in Tatev village in Syunik province, Southeastern of Armenia. The word Tatev means monastery in Armenian. The temple was active since the pre-Christian period as a pagan temple, then it was changed into a modest church in the fourth century. This historical monument was an enlightenment and spiritual focus and played a vital role in the country’s history. The longest reversible cable car is also situated in that village, so while flying over the canyon, you will have the chance to get a look at the picturesque view of the monastery and its surrounding greenery.

Sevanavank Monastery

Sevanavank is one of the most visited churches by tourists because of its incredible location on the shore of Lake Sevan. Princess Mariam founded the monastery in 874 AC. The monastery was at first built to host monks from Echmiadzin who have sinned since the place is far from life’s temptations. Sevanavank is built on a hill, so the view of the lake from up there is panoramic and a must-see.

Noravank Monastery

Noravank literally translates to New Monastery. It is located 122km away from Yerevan in a narrow canyon in Amaghu Valley, Vayots Dzor province. The monastery is famous for its two-floor Holy Mother of God church, and if you want to access the second floor, you’ll have to go up narrow stone-made stairs extending out from the front of the building. While you’re there, you should also pass by Surb Karapet and Surb Krikor chapels.

Geghard Monastery

The most interesting chapel in Armenia might be Geghard monastery since it is carved out of a cave. Sited in the Kotayk province, approximately a one-hour drive from Yerevan, this church is a must-see. Saint Gregory the Illuminator, the early religious leader, lived in this complex and in the caves surrounding the chapel. The site is even more beautiful during wintertime when a white layer of snow covers the caps of the church and the majestic forest surrounding it.

Odzun Church

This church stands out among the rest because of the pink stone used in building it. All the others use black or grey stones, so Odzun is a lot more refreshing. The chapel is situated in Lori province, North of Armenia, so it is a bit far to reach but worth the drive. This medieval church dates back to the first half of the seventh century.

Zvartnots Cathedral Ruins

The Temple of Ruins is found in Vagharshapat, Armavir province. It was essentially built in the seventh century in a circular form. The cathedral was standing still up until the end of the tenth century, when an earthquake occurred, leaving the place in ruins. Armenians realized that they will have to build churches in rectangular forms to avoid such devastations.

Armenia is called Land of Churches for a reason! But remember, when you visit the chapels always dress appropriately. So, book your ticket now and visit Armenia and its spiritual places!


Tatev Monastery

Tatev Monastery is one of the major spiritual, political and cultural centers of Medieval Armenia. During its history it has been a fortress, a metropolitan residence and a university. For 1100 years it has been high atop the triangular plateau not far from the village of Tatev which is situated in the historical part of Armenia.

A lot of legends envelop Tatev. Why the name of the monastery ‘Ta Tev’ is translated as ‘Give me the wings’ from Old Armenian? Why does the oldest seismograph in the world, Gavazan Column, being 26.24 ft high keep swinging and does not fall?

Of the Wings

Having finished his work in Tatev Monastery the master asked the builders, who had crowded below, for two chips. After the builders had given them to him he kissed them and said, “Ogni surb ta tev”, which can be translated as “Let the Holy Spirit give me the wings”. Hardly had he finished speaking when two wings grew on his back and he flew away. And the monastery was called Tatev after the master whose appeal “Ogni surb ta tev” was heard by God.

Of the Pride

Once upon a time the builder who was constructing the monastery and the priest, who was busy making a canal so that the monastery could have a supply of water, had a bet on who would be the first to finish his work. A few days later the priest noticed that the master was about to finish his work and resorted to cunning. He draped the part of the canal which was not filled with water yet with a long white cloak so that fluttered by the wind it looked like a waterfall from afar. The trick did work: The master who was already laying the last stone turned back and saw the water falling down. He could not lose the bet and threw himself from the monastery wall. Later the stream was called the Priest Stream.

Of the Water

In Syunik the snake has always been considered the protectress of a family hearth. The Armenians believe that there will be no happiness and peace in the family if someone kills a snake. Another legend has it that once a snake was scooped into the bucked together with the river water. The raven that nested in the monastery saw it, threw himself into the pail and pecked it. However the snake managed to bite the brave bird, and the thankful monks buried the raven on the way to the monetary.

Of the Swinging Column

On the stepped pedestal near the southern wall of Church of St. Gregory there stands a 26.24 ft tall Gavazan Column (which means a staff in Armenian) crowned with a stone cross – khachkar. In old times the talented architect was able to construct this swinging stele. The stele can be put into motion by pushing. For centuries the mystery of this original seismograph that warned the monks about the cataclysm maturing in the Earth depths has remained unsolved. It is also said to have warned the people about enemy invasions. In this case it was put into motion by the warriors’ marching.

The Arabs that conquered Tatev in the 10th century wanted to pull Gavazan down. Ten pairs of buffalos pulled the chains which the stele was tied with. But the chains were torn and the buffalos fell into the abyss. The invaders thought that it was a sky-sign and left the monastery.

In the middle of the 20th century the architects made an attempt to unveil the mystery of the column. Unfortunately, after it Gavazan does not swing that fast.

You can see two 3d models of Tatev with a historic backgrounds by following these links: Short version and Long version


Tatev Monastery

Since I recently watched The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug , I would like to make a post inspired by the beautiful scenery of the movie. With only one exception namely this being a real place.

Monastery of Tatev, 8th century.

The Tatev Monastery is an 8th-century monastery located on a large basalt plateau near the Tatev village in Syunik Province in southeastern Armenia. Build on an ancient pagan warship sight, the monastic ensemble stands on the edge of a deep gorge of the Vorotan River. Tatev is known as the bishopric seat of Syunik and played a significant role in the history of the region as a center of economic, political, spiritual and cultural activity.

In the 14th and 15th centuries Tatev Monastery hosted one of the most important Armenian medieval universities, the University of Tatev, which contributed to the advancement of science, religion and philosophy, reproduction of books and development of miniature painting. Scholars of the Tatev University contributed to the preservation of Armenian culture and creed during one of its most turbulent periods in its history.

Monastery of Tatev, 8th century.

Many legends envelop Tatev. Why the name of the monastery ‘Ta Tev’ is translated as ‘Give me the wings’ from Old Armenian? Why does the oldest seismograph in the world, Gavazan Column, being 26.24 ft high keep swinging and does not fall?

Of the Wings

Having finished his work in Tatev Monastery the master asked the builders, who had crowded below, for two chips. After the builders had given them to him he kissed them and said, “Ogni surb ta tev”, which can be translated as “Let the Holy Spirit give me the wings”. Hardly had he finished speaking when two wings grew on his back and he flew away. And the monastery was called Tatev after the master whose appeal “Ogni surb ta tev” was heard by God.

Of the Pride

Once upon a time the builder who was constructing the monastery and the priest, who was busy making a canal so that the monastery could have a supply of water, had a bet on who would be the first to finish his work. A few days later the priest noticed that the master was about to finish his work and resorted to cunning. He draped the part of the canal which was not filled with water yet with a long white cloak so that fluttered by the wind it looked like a waterfall from afar. The trick did work: The master who was already laying the last stone turned back and saw the water falling down. He could not lose the bet and threw himself from the monastery wall. Later the stream was called the Priest Stream.

Of the Water

In Syunik the snake has always been considered the protectress of a family hearth. The Armenians believe that there will be no happiness and peace in the family if someone kills a snake. Another legend has it that once a snake was scooped into the bucked together with the river water. The raven that nested in the monastery saw it, threw himself into the pail and pecked it. However the snake managed to bite the brave bird, and the thankful monks buried the raven on the way to the monetary.

Of the Swinging Column

On the stepped pedestal near the southern wall of Church of St. Gregory there stands a 26.24 ft tall Gavazan Column (which means a staff in Armenian) crowned with a stone cross – khachkar. In old times the talented architect was able to construct this swinging stele. The stele can be put into motion by pushing. For centuries the mystery of this original seismograph that warned the monks about the cataclysm maturing in the Earth depths has remained unsolved. It is also said to have warned the people about enemy invasions. In this case it was put into motion by the warriors’ marching.

The Arabs that conquered Tatev in the 10th century wanted to pull Gavazan down. Ten pairs of buffalos pulled the chains which the stele was tied with. But the chains were torn and the buffalos fell into the abyss. The invaders thought that it was a sky-sign and left the monastery.

In the middle of the 20th century the architects made an attempt to unveil the mystery of the column. Unfortunately, after it Gavazan does not swing that fast.


The high season in Armenia lasts for a long time due to the pleasant climate conditions. Warm days in Armenia start in March and last until late autumn winter is usually snowless and not long. The high precipitation season is variable. The tourist season for Tatev monastery depends on the weather conditions.

According to the records of the medieval historian Stepanos Orbelian, the first church of Tatev Monastery was built during the time of Gregory the Illuminator (IV century). It was a simple and modest building. The monastery became the seat of the Syunik bishopric around the end of the 8th century. Many valuable Christian relics were kept in the monastery.

According to the legend, during the invasion of Tamerlane, the Mongol commander decided to destroy Tatev monastery. But before introducing the legend it is worth mentioning an amazing monument located here: a stone “swinging pillar” of Ghavazan – a brilliant work of engineering, which once was capable of moving (swinging) at the slightest tremor of the earth. It is believed that this amazing pillar warned the inhabitants of the monastery about an earthquake or an approach of armed enemies in ancient times. So, according to the legend, Tamerlane first tried to destroy Ghavazan. He ordered to wind chains around the pillar and to harness a pair of buffaloes to knock it down. However, the chains immediately were ripped. Then angry Tamerlane decided to burn the monastery. But the fire damaged only the bells in the bell tower. Since then, the sound of the bells is a little distorted here.

The name “Tatev” is translated from Armenian as “give wings”. There are several options which explain the origin of this name. According to the first legend, the master who built the monastery, after finishing his work, went to the very edge of the gorge and said: “Hogin Surb ta tev” - “The Holy Spirit give wings!” After what he rushed down a steep cliff. The Holy Spirit gave the great master wings, so he could fly away safely. The second version of the name “Tatev” is associated with the name Eustateus, a disciple of St. Thaddeus the Apostle, who preached and was martyred in this region. He preached the Christianity in Armenia, and accepted martyrdom in this very place for his work. A church was built at the burial place of the saint in the 4th century. It was consecrated by Gregory the Illuminator. Even now, behind the old monastery walls you can see the ruins of that very first church.


Tatev Monastery

Since I recently watched The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug , I would like to make a post inspired by the beautiful scenery of the movie. With only one exception namely this being a real place.

Monastery of Tatev, 8th century.

The Tatev Monastery is an 8th-century monastery located on a large basalt plateau near the Tatev village in Syunik Province in southeastern Armenia. Build on an ancient pagan warship sight, the monastic ensemble stands on the edge of a deep gorge of the Vorotan River. Tatev is known as the bishopric seat of Syunik and played a significant role in the history of the region as a center of economic, political, spiritual and cultural activity.

In the 14th and 15th centuries Tatev Monastery hosted one of the most important Armenian medieval universities, the University of Tatev, which contributed to the advancement of science, religion and philosophy, reproduction of books and development of miniature painting. Scholars of the Tatev University contributed to the preservation of Armenian culture and creed during one of its most turbulent periods in its history.

Monastery of Tatev, 8th century.

Many legends envelop Tatev. Why the name of the monastery ‘Ta Tev’ is translated as ‘Give me the wings’ from Old Armenian? Why does the oldest seismograph in the world, Gavazan Column, being 26.24 ft high keep swinging and does not fall?

Of the Wings

Having finished his work in Tatev Monastery the master asked the builders, who had crowded below, for two chips. After the builders had given them to him he kissed them and said, “Ogni surb ta tev”, which can be translated as “Let the Holy Spirit give me the wings”. Hardly had he finished speaking when two wings grew on his back and he flew away. And the monastery was called Tatev after the master whose appeal “Ogni surb ta tev” was heard by God.

Of the Pride

Once upon a time the builder who was constructing the monastery and the priest, who was busy making a canal so that the monastery could have a supply of water, had a bet on who would be the first to finish his work. A few days later the priest noticed that the master was about to finish his work and resorted to cunning. He draped the part of the canal which was not filled with water yet with a long white cloak so that fluttered by the wind it looked like a waterfall from afar. The trick did work: The master who was already laying the last stone turned back and saw the water falling down. He could not lose the bet and threw himself from the monastery wall. Later the stream was called the Priest Stream.

Of the Water

In Syunik the snake has always been considered the protectress of a family hearth. The Armenians believe that there will be no happiness and peace in the family if someone kills a snake. Another legend has it that once a snake was scooped into the bucked together with the river water. The raven that nested in the monastery saw it, threw himself into the pail and pecked it. However the snake managed to bite the brave bird, and the thankful monks buried the raven on the way to the monetary.

Of the Swinging Column

On the stepped pedestal near the southern wall of Church of St. Gregory there stands a 26.24 ft tall Gavazan Column (which means a staff in Armenian) crowned with a stone cross – khachkar. In old times the talented architect was able to construct this swinging stele. The stele can be put into motion by pushing. For centuries the mystery of this original seismograph that warned the monks about the cataclysm maturing in the Earth depths has remained unsolved. It is also said to have warned the people about enemy invasions. In this case it was put into motion by the warriors’ marching.

The Arabs that conquered Tatev in the 10th century wanted to pull Gavazan down. Ten pairs of buffalos pulled the chains which the stele was tied with. But the chains were torn and the buffalos fell into the abyss. The invaders thought that it was a sky-sign and left the monastery.

In the middle of the 20th century the architects made an attempt to unveil the mystery of the column. Unfortunately, after it Gavazan does not swing that fast.


Ruins at Tatev Monastery in Armenia - History

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&rsquos 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 &bdquoWings of Tatev&rdquo 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."


Parz Lake to Goshavank monastery

Perhaps the classic hike in Dilijan National Park, this 7.2km trail was completely rebuilt by volunteers in 2017 as part of the Transcaucasian Trail long-distance hiking route through the region, and will take 2½–3 hours to complete.

Beginning from the Parz Lake family activity centre and café (to which taxis from Dilijan are easily procured), the route follows a dirt road up the valley for 1km to a bridge across the river. From a clearing shortly beyond the bridge, the new trail branches off to the right and passes through deep broadleaf forest as it gradually climbs to the subalpine meadows above the treeline. There is a picnic shelter and public toilet shortly before the crossroads at the high point of the trail, with good views across the park in all directions.

(Beware that the route is crossed by a multitude of old logging tracks if you have not seen a waymark for more than a few minutes, it is likely you have taken a wrong turn.)

From the crossroads, take the second track on the left as signposted, heading roughly east between the two lines of trees, then cutting south across the meadow (again as signposted) to find the entrance to the forested descent towards Gosh village. This – a much quieter route than the previously used badly-eroded jeep track – will bring you out just north of the village, where rock outcroppings afford a good overview of the monastery of Goshavank and the surrounds. Pick your way down through the rocks, following the clear trail down past the village cemetery and to the monastery complex and village square, from where refreshments and transport are available.

Goshavank itself was established in the late 12th century by the cleric Mkhitar Gosh (1130–1213) with the support of Prince Ivan Zakarian to replace the monastery of Getik, about 20km further east, where he had previously worked but which had been destroyed in an earthquake. Originally called Nor (New) Getik, it was renamed in honour of its founder immediately after his death. The earliest part of the complex, the Mother of God Church, dates from 1191 its gavit was completed in 1197 followed by the two St Gregory chapels, the free-standing one with its particularly fine carving in 1208 and the one attached to the gavit in 1237. The library and the adjacent school buildings were built in 1241 of large rough-hewn stones. In 1291 the Holy Archangels Church with belltower was added on top of the library, access to the church being via the external cantilevered steps. The belfry later collapsed and the building is now protected by a conical transparent dome.

Another feature of the monastery is the particularly fine khachkar, by the door of the 1237 St Gregory chapel, which dates from 1291. Poghos, its sculptor, carved two identical khachkars for his parents’ graves and the other is in the History Museum of Armenia in Yerevan. The delicate filigree of his carving led to his sobriquet ‘Poghos the Embroiderer’. The two small rooms to the south of the gavit were used as studies by religious students. There is a walnut tree at the north of the site, of a similar age to the monastery.


Discover Armenia

Armenia, a land near and far at the same time but absolutely to be discovered.

Far away because it is not very easy to reach, its borders towards Turkey and Azerbajan are closed, and the easiest way is to reach the capital, Yerevan, by air.

Conversely, close to us for its important history which has also had many contacts with the ancient classical world, and because the Armenian state is often included among the European states, due to historical-cultural considerations.

We divided our photographic story into different parts to show the main interesting places as Yerevan the Armenia’s capital, amenian nature and landscapes as well as armenian people and traditions.

You can discover the most significant places of the past, with particular reference to the religion represented by its historical places of worship, as well as more recent aspects indicative of the transformation and modernization of the nation.
Moreover we shows some of the most typical elements of the local population and its traditions.

In these contexts we wanted to dedicate a small final part to two artists of Armenian origin, Charles Aznavour, one of the most loved and important chansoniers in recent years, and Ara Malikian, histrionic violinist, who with great modernity blends sounds of different and varied origins and cultures.

Yerevan

Yerevan the sound fountains

Surrounded by an incredible mountain range and situated on the edge of a deep gorge which drops down into the Vorotan River, the Tatev Monastery is one of the most iconic spots to visit in Armenia.

Located 280 kilometers southeast of Yerevan, Armenia , Tatev Monastery is in the small town of Tatev (population: 1,000) and quite close to the Iranian border.

Here in Tatev, you can find a few restaurants and some small shops selling souvenirs and herbs.

This delicious lamb stew was 2000 AMD ($5.50 cad) at a local restaurant.

In 2010, the worlds largest reversible cableway (5752 metres) was built, allowing visitors to cross over the gorge into Tatev. The tram-ride takes about 20-30 minutes and a return ticket costs 3500 AMD (about $10 cad).

Once on the other side, you can enter the grounds of the iconic 9th-century monastery, seeing just how close it is located to the edge of the cliff.

History of Tatev:

At the start of the 11th-century, the Tatev Monastery hosted over 1000 monks and artisans. In the late 1000s, some of the churches and buildings in the area were looted and destroyed – before being re-built and destroyed again over the next few centuries.

Between 1390 and 1435, the University of Tatev opened in the same area as the monastery. Here, major discoveries were made and traditional Armenian documents were preserved and re-written. The legacy and importance of this University is well-recognized today.

After a major earthquake left the monastery in ruins in 1931, there has been an effort to revive both the monastery and community. Most of the buildings have been reconstructed and the majority of work is supposed to be completed by the end of 2017.

How to get to Tatev from Yerevan:

Getting to Tatev can be rather tricky as there isn’t a whole lot of information on the subject. Most tour agencies will offer day trips to Tatev but these usually include stops at other sites along the way and you’ll have to plan for a 12-14 hour day. The tours will generally cost between 40,000 – 60,000 AMD ($105-160 cad) and include transportation, and meals.

The second and most cost efficient method would be to take a shared taxi from Yerevan to Tatev. Costing 5000 AMD ($13 cad) each way, this 3-hour shared taxi can be a little crammed, but it is a lot cheaper and allows for more freedom in your day.

A fairly common method, most hostels or hotels will be able to provide you with the name of a person willing to drive you to Tatev. However, the return to Yerevan is a little more precarious, as you’ll need to find a driver with open space. But hey, $25 cad for 6 hours in a taxi is worth a bit of uncertainty in my opinion!

It’s also a great way to check out the landscape of Armenia, as you’re basically travelling the entire length of the country in one day!

Due to its incredible location, the Tatev Monastery is one of the most majestic religious structures I’ve ever seen. While a day trip from Yerevan, Armenia can be a long and tiring day, I absolutely recommend that you take the time to head down to Tatev.

Hey, it’s not everyday you have the opportunity to visit a 1000-year-old monastery!

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Watch the video: THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN ARMENIA. Tatev Monastery (January 2022).