Photographer's Note

Tatev Monastery

Maybe you will find this odd. A few years ago I saw for the first time a picture of Tatev monastery.
The setting on top of a cliff at the edge of a gorge and surrounded by a rugged landscape made a big impression. How could anyone think of building a church and a monastery on that spot?
At the same time I knew that one day I had to go there.

Well, last summer when I was in Georgia, I thought the time had come to visit Tatev.
Armenia is a very small country but seen from in Georgia Tatev is located on exactly the opposite side of the country, in the south already close to Iran.

Our time in Armenia was limited. The only possible way to include Tatev in our Caucasian journey was to go there by an organized daytrip from Yerevan (something we would rather not do).
It was a very long trip but the reward was great.

The landscape was as breathtaking as I had seen on the pictures and the monastery was so beautiful. Its walls look like a natural extension of the rock on which it is built.
Tatev Monastery is also home to some fine specimens of khatchkars. These are the typical Armenian carved stone crosses.

At previously posted pictures I mentioned that Georgians have a fondness for very special and spectacular locations to build their churches and/or monasteries. The same also applies to Armenians and this to the joy of the traveler in these countries.

You get an idea of the scale by the visitors at the entrance and by the cows at the bottom of the rock.

The monastery can be reached by road or in a faster way from the village of Halidzor by the longest non-stop double track cable car in the world. Its cables are visible on the picture.
The cableway with the name ‘Wings of Tatev’ opened in October 2010 and is 5,75 km long. Spectacular views are part of the journey.

Two more pictures in the workshop.

Information from Wikipedia:

The Tatev Monastery (Armenian: Տաթևի վանք) is a 9th-century monastery located on a large basalt plateau near 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.

The monastery 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.

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.

The monastery was seriously damaged after an earthquake in 1931. The dome of the Sts. Paul and Peter church and the bell tower were destroyed. In the latter years the Sts. Paul and Peter church was reconstructed.

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5090 W: 17 N: 12210] (49202)
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