Not far from the town of Goris, located in the south of the country, covered in lush folds of a velvet green mountains that dizzying streams flow down the stone teeth deep gorges, clear air, which gives the paintings an amazing clarity and sharpness on a high rock is Tatev monastery. Gray vaulted building, built up of gray rubble, wonderfully written into the surrounding landscape, and the like grow from the rocky spurs. The monastery was built in the ninth century, and for centuries has been a mainstay of education, development of culture and education in the region. As part of a tour of Armenia , this place should be given at least one day.
In recent decades, the monastery fell into disrepair, the amazing beauty of the mountainous region, with its narrow roads and dizzying descents, difficult but beautiful path, which pilgrims had to go, alas, turned out to be an insurmountable obstacle for the modern traveler. Area due to poorly developed infrastructure of tourists attracted little attention (for example, there was not a hotel Armenia ), and the communities themselves because of the difficult roads were scattered. Then it was decided to launch a project of « Tatev Revival », which included the construction of the cable car, the construction of hotels and other tourist facilities. Completion is scheduled for 2017, but now the number of tourists coming to the area has increased tenfold. Such projects have a positive impact on increasing the flow of travelers to Armenia.
The main attraction here, as a century ago, is considered to Tatev Monastery, which is a wonderful example of a harmonious combination of architecture and nature, where none of the members of this duo does not overwhelm the other. Now it is surprisingly quiet place, breathing peace and wisdom. And once Tatev was full of life, where I studied, we learned the science, argued and educated. And this despite the fact that to get to the monastery was by no means easy. The path then and now runs along the edge of the steep and deep gorges, then a dizzying slope breaks down, straight to the white breakers foaming mountain river Vorotan, which then comes to the surface, the new snake bites deep into the blue-gray rocks. The trail crosses the river to climb back up the sharp and almost vertical spurs. In principle, you can drive along the highway and the car, but the road to the cable car will not only be easier and faster, but also more picturesque. Especially that of a cozy cabin offers stunning views not only on the green slopes, rugged streams of gray rocks, but the majestic cone Aramazd, covered with white icy helmet.
Monastery walls soar above the emerald slopes of the gorge. The territory is full of mysteries and his amazing discoveries. It is said in the deep cellars beneath the temple buildings dug a labyrinth of underground passages, some of which lead to the very bottom of the gorge, and others, and even further. Here in general a lot of amazing corridors that confuse the naive traveler, and instead of the spacious hall displays it on the very edge of the cliff. Full of mysteries and secrets and the history of the monastery name. According to legend, daring student planned to make its own item in the decoration of the temple. I realized it is late at night, and at dawn, going down to the living chambers, was caught in a blazing righteous indignation masters. Fearing a severe punishment, he rushed down the cliff, with a plea to God to give him wings (TEB – in Armenian is the wings and give the verb, sounds like tal). And it gave wings. And the disciple departed. There are other versions, but they all end up the same request to the creator of the wings. And the monastery did give these wings many of his disciples, teaching them various sciences and helping to soar higher and higher.
Tatev monastery was first built in the 9th century, however, a few times or subjected to devastating attacks of the Turks, or suffered from terrible earthquakes, but every time with courage restored, rebuilt temples and dwellings. The main place in the monastery complex is the temple of Poghos-Petros (Paul and Peter), in whose walls the relics of the apostles. Around the church vestry rebuilt with semicircular niches, as well as the picturesque church dedicated to St. Gregory the Illuminator. Another unique attraction, showing bright examples of Armenian architecture – it is the church Astvatsatsin. Together they form a unique cultural and historical ensemble.
But the really amazing building is a swinging pillar monastery. This is a real example of engineering genius and he was dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The octagonal recess mounted monolith, six meters high, which is composed of three parts. Finger made of a mixture of limestone and concrete exterior is lined with stone. However amazing it looks and that pillar, or as it is more styled staff can wobble. They say that in the movement of his cause even the slightest shaking of the earth, prelude to the more powerful seismic tremors, or the movement of a mighty army. In any case – the pillar of advance warning about the dangers of the inhabitants of the monastery, and they had time to prepare to meet it head-on. Another possible purpose is a challenge for novices that their singing had to make a finger sway. The stronger vibrations were the better was the performance of, and in accordance with the purpose and conducted further novices. His voice they had to stir the soul of the heart of the future members.
In addition to church buildings in the territory of the monastery can be found maslodavilnyu where from the hot mass, which turns the corn, pressed vegetable oil. Powerful stone millstone can be seen so far. And the product is used not only in economic needs, but also to protect the monastery from enemy troops.
In the 13th century the monastery appeared and one of the largest universities in the South Caucasus. To teach here is not only theology, and paying due attention to the native language, architecture, philosophy, physics, astronomy, mathematics and much more. For example, a school was opened here, where he taught painting the walls, creating the famous miniatures, as well as the difficult art of book illustration. The course lasted for about eight years. In the monastery, except the servants of God, yet lived writers, artists, musicians and scientists engaged in various disciplines. School existed, alas, not very long. About a century later he destroyed along with the rest of the monastery host Shahrukh. And once again the university has not recovered.
You can get here or in an organized tour of Armenia , or independently. However it is necessary to lay on this trip at least a couple of days, as the shrine is located far enough away from the capital, about 280 kilometers away. Tour Operators of Armenia recommend monastery and for a family visit – children will love the cable car ride.