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Tatev Monastery

Churches and Monasteries

Tatev Monastery was an Armenian intellectual center where philosophers, musicians, painters, calligraphers, and monks lived. It is sited spectacularly above a sheer canyon wall with stunning views, and today most visitors arrive by way of the longest cable car in the world.

251 km
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​Tatev monastery was built during the 9-13th centuries as an Armenian intellectual center where philosophers, musicians, painters, calligraphers, and monks lived. It is sited spectacularly above a sheer canyon wall with stunning views near the Tatev village in Syunik Province in southeastern Armenia. Today, most visitors arrive by way of the longest cable car in the world, "Wings of Tatev," which opened in October 2010. It was included in the Guinness World Records as the world's "longest non-stop double track cable car."

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the 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.​ The monastery is the "best-known site" in Syunik. 

St. Gregory the Illuminator, who spread Christianity throughout Armenia, is buried here in a small church built in 1295. A tall pendulous column know as "Gavazan" was engineered and erected in 904, with a khachkar on top. This column is said to have been used to predict seismic activity in ancient times by its motions, but it was badly damaged in 1931 by an earthquake. The periphery of this rocky terrain is covered with a variety of structures: homes, utility and subsidiary buildings, among them a vaulted font and fortification walls, dating back to the 17th century.

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