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9th century Monastery of Tatev in southeastern Armenia

Tatev Monastery
The Monastery of Tatev is a 9th century Armenian monastery located on a large basalt plateau near the Tatev village in Syunik Province in southeastern Armenia. 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 centre of economic, political, spiritual and cultural activity.
The fortified monastery of Tatev consists of three churches (Sts. Paul and Peter, St. Gregory the Illuminator and St. Mary), a library, dining hall, belfry, mausoleum as well as other administrative and auxiliary buildings.
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.
Aside from the buildings, the monastery boasts an upright pendulum, known as the Gavazan (staff). This column was built in the 10th century following the completion of the Sts. Paul and Peter church and has survived numerous invasions and earthquakes relatively unscathed.
In the 14th century, fortifications were built to the south, west and north of the monastery with buildings for habitation, administration and other purposes. In the 18th century, additions were made to house the bishop’s residence, cells for the monks, storage, dining hall, kitchen, bakery and winery. Sixteen rectangular classrooms, covered with arched ceilings, were built along the main fortifications.
To the northeast of the monastery, outside of the fortifications is the olive press. It has four production rooms including two domed storage rooms and pressing chambers with arched ceilings. This mill is one of the best preserved in Armenia and is an excellent illustration of olive presses built in the region during the Middle Ages.
The school buildings of the Tatev Monastery characterize the architectural style of monastic educational architecture used in the late medieval period.
There are many stories as to how the name for Tatev Monastery originated. One of which is that when the construction of the main church was completed, and it was time for placing the cross on the dome, one of the students prepared a cross, which corresponded to the church in its beauty. He then attempted to secretly place it on the dome in the middle of the night. However, he did not manage to come down unnoticed by his master. When he saw his enraged master he threw himself into the abyss asking God for wings (“tal tev”- “to give wings”). According to a second story, it was a group of endangered Christians who asked God for wings: “tev”.
There is one of nature wonders of Armenia on Vorotan River – Satani kamurj (Devil’s Bridge). It is an amazing natural bridge hung on the river, with 150m width and 170 m length. The bridge is made of travertine and and it has flat surface, on which is passing Goris-Tatev road. The bridge height above the river level is 50 m. There are travertine pillars hanging under it, huge stalactites. There are naturally carbonated mineral springs on the bridge and around it, the quantity of their water is 500-600 per day and its temperature is 25 C°.

Credit by : http://noahstravel.com/tatev-monastery/
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