Tatev Monastery is an amazing example of Armenian temple architecture and treasure of medieval history of the country. It’s located near the village of the same name in Syunik Province. It’s hard to get to because the monastery stands on a large plateau on the edge of a gorge of river Vorotan. Apart from climbing, travelers have to go down to the canyon, reach a bridge that was formed by two riverbanks, and find a mountain road. Despite such remote location, the monastery is one of the most frequently visited destinations in the country.
One of the finest examples of Armenian temple architecture was built in 9th century. Its name is translated as “give wings” and is connected to a legend. The legend says that the master who constructed the monastery, when the building was finished, he took two wood chips and prayed: “May the Holy Spirit send down the wings”. He jumped down the plateau and wings grew behind his back. He flew away and the complex was named after this wonder.
Since the beginning of its existence, Tatev had been a large and influential monastery with lands and hundreds of villages paying taxes to it. In 1171, it was destroyed by the Seljuks who burned down more than 10,000 precious manuscripts. In 13th-14th centuries, the monastery was the prosperous center of cultural, academic, spiritual, and economic life of the country. In 1390-1435, the most important medieval university in Armenia located in Tatev Monastery. The University of Tatev made significant contributions to development of philosophy, religion, and science in Armenia. The university, also, developed production of books and miniature painting.
Tatev Monastery creates unforgettable impressions; it seems like it floats over the mountains. This spectacular example of temple architecture won’t disappoint you.