TATEV MONASTERY

The 9th-century Armenian Apostolic monastery located on a large basalt plateau near the Tatev village in Syunik Province in southeastern Armenia. The term “Tatev“ usually refers to the monastery. 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.

Picturesque and majestic Tatev monastery, once an ancient cloistral institution and spiritual and cultural center, is in Tatev village, Region of Syunik in Armenia. It still remains unsurpassed for the miraculous flight of imagination and for its upward soaring stance. Founded in the 4th century, it was superior educational center, and at the end of the 8th century, it became the episcopal seat of Syunik.

Tatev bishopric becoming economically strong attempted to gain independence in 940-950-ies, but in response to Bishop Hakob’s separatist activities, Catholicos Anania I Mokatsi banned against him. In 1044 the troops from neighboring kingdoms destroyed not only the Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator, but also working places and adjacent structures. However, they were soon recovered. In 1087 the two-story sepulcher and Church of Holy Mother was built in the vicinity of the complex. Unfortunately, the devastating invasions of Seljuk Turks and the earthquake razed Tatev monastery to the ground in 1136.

In 1170 Seljuk Turks, by conquering Baghaberd, looted the treasures of Tatev bishopric and set fire to almost ten thousand manuscripts. At the end of the 12th century by the efforts of Bishop Stephan and later thanks to Orbelyans’ sturdiness and hard work who took over the leadership of the bishopric in 1286, ancient monastery and its previous economic strength were restored. In 1295 the Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator was completely renovated, and the complex once again became the cultural center. There were the times when school of miniatures, library and the University of Tatev used to operate. The bad luck, however, seemed to follow the Tatev Monastery creators’ spiritual and the secular lifestyle for centuries. A significant portion of the Monastery property was lost, robbed and burned during the numerous intrusions to Syunik by Tamerlane and Shahrukh of Temuryans. In centuries to come, the bright moments in the biography of Tatev were interchangeable. The monastery was destroyed and reconstructed many times and nonetheless, it has been preserved to our days.

And in May 2008, on the basis of state-private partnership extensive charitable Revival project was carried out, with the help of which the medieval monastery was rebuilt and the rebirth of academic and spiritual traditions was established. The project was launched in October 16, 2010 with the length of 5.7 km and it was registered in the Guinness Book of World Records on Tatev monastery-Halidzor Aerial Tramway opening day.