Tatev Monastery

Tatev Monastery established in the 9th century, stands as one of Armenia’s oldest and most celebrated monastic complexes. In the medieval era, it served as a crucial center for scholarship, and spiritual enlightenment, and played a unique role in Armenia’s historical narrative.

The Tatev Revival Program aims to restore the monastery, reinvigorate its educational traditions, and rejuvenate monastic life within its walls. A key component of this initiative is the Wings of Tatev aerial tramway.

Perched on the edge of the Vorotan Gorge, Tatev has been a spiritual and educational center since the 9th century, attracting scholars, pilgrims, and tourists alike with its breathtaking views and historical significance.

What Does the Name Tatev Mean?

The name “Tatev” in Armenian translates to “Give wings,” and various legends explain its origin. The most well-known story involves the architect of the monastery, who is said to have prayed for wings so that he could view the magnificent structure from above.

History of Tatev Monastery

The foundation of Tatev Monastery dates back to the 9th century when it was established as a monastic complex. Over the centuries, Tatev became one of the most important educational and religious centers in Armenia, housing a prominent university by the 14th century. The complex has witnessed numerous historical events, enduring invasions, and natural disasters, each leaving a mark on its stone and spirit.

The Tatev Monastery Complex

Tatev’s architectural splendor is highlighted by its key structures. The St. Paul and Peter Church, the central building, is renowned for its intricate carvings and significant religious artifacts. The Gavazan Column, a unique medieval engineering feat, stands as a testament to the ingenuity of Armenian architects. The bell tower, overlooking the gorge, not only served religious functions but also as a watchtower against potential invaders.

Related: Avenue of the Giants

How to Get to Tatev Monastery?

How to Get to Tatev Monastery

Several travel options are available to reach Tatev Monastery from Yerevan, including organized daily tours through various travel agencies, public transport, taxis, or renting a car.

Public minibusses depart from Sasuntsi Davit Metro Station and will transport you to the nearest access point to the cable car. The cost of a minibus ticket is approximately $5. From where the minibus drops you off, you’ll need to catch a taxi to the cable car, which will cost about $10. Alternatively, renting a car from Enterprise is a practical option, with rates starting at $30 per day.

Renting a car gives you the flexibility to make stops along the way and explore nearby areas at your leisure. For group travel, renting a van from Enterprise can enhance the experience, making the journey more enjoyable.

The Wings of Tatev

Enhancing access to this remote treasure, the “Wings of Tatev” aerial tramway, completed in 2010, spans 5.7 kilometers making it one of the world’s longest non-stop double-track cable cars. The tramway has not only made the monastery more accessible but also boosted local tourism significantly, offering stunning views of the deep gorge below.

Cultural and Educational Importance

In medieval times, Tatev hosted one of Armenia’s most important universities, contributing extensively to the development of science, religion, and culture. The monastery was a major manuscript repository and a center for scholars who played a crucial role in preserving Armenian culture and identity during turbulent times.

Related: What are the Must-Visit Destinations in Thailand?

Surrounding Geography and Natural Attractions

The area around Tatev is as striking as the monastery itself. The Vorotan Gorge offers dramatic vistas and numerous hiking trails that attract nature lovers and adventure seekers. The natural beauty of this region complements the historical allure of Tatev, making it a perfect destination for a holistic travel experience.

Current Role and Tourism

Today, Tatev continues to be a symbol of Armenian heritage and pride. It is an essential stop for any visitor to Armenia, offering insights into the nation’s soul and past. For those planning to visit, the best times are spring and autumn, when the weather is ideal for exploring the extensive grounds and surrounding nature.

Where to Stay Tatev?

If you’re planning to spend the night near Tatev to further explore the region the next day, there are various lodging options both close to the monastery and in nearby towns. For those looking to stay near the monastic complex, the Harsnadzor Eco Resort offers a unique experience. Instead of traditional accommodations, you’ll sleep in fully furnished barrels with stunning views of the Halidzor Gorge.

Alternatively, if you prefer a hotel, the town of Goris is just about 30 minutes from the monastery and offers several options including hotels like Mirhav, Mina, and Goris. Additionally, many local homes in the area offer comfortable and budget-friendly accommodations, providing an opportunity to engage more closely with local residents.

Read More: Best Honeymoon Destinations in September

Is Tatev Monastery Worth It?

Tatev Monastery is undoubtedly worth a visit for anyone traveling to Armenia. This architectural marvel is not just a religious site but a beacon of Armenian culture and history perched dramatically on the edge of the Vorotan Gorge. The journey to Tatev is an adventure in itself, featuring the thrilling “Wings of Tatev” cable car ride, which offers spectacular views of the rugged landscape. 

The monastery complex captivates visitors with its medieval architecture, historic frescoes, and the serene ambiance of its surroundings. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a lover of nature, or simply seeking a unique travel experience, Tatev Monastery provides a profound glimpse into the spiritual and architectural grandeur of Armenia.


Tatev Monastery is more than just a destination; it is a journey through Armenia’s storied past, offering a window into the spiritual and scholarly pursuits that have shaped the nation. As visitors wander through its ancient halls and gaze out over the gorge, they are walking in the footsteps of monks, scholars, and centuries of pilgrims, all drawn by the enduring call of Tatev.

Read Also: Best Bachelor Party Destinations to Visit

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about

What is Tatev Monastery?

Tatev Monastery is a 9th-century Armenian Apostolic monastery located in southeastern Armenia. It is famed for its rich history, stunning architecture, and the breathtaking natural scenery of the Vorotan Gorge.

How do I get to Tatev Monastery?

Tatev can be accessed by car, public transportation, or via the “Wings of Tatev” cable car, which provides a scenic route over the Vorotan Gorge. Driving from Yerevan takes about 4-5 hours.

What are the operating hours of the Tatev Monastery?

Tatev Monastery is generally open to visitors from sunrise to sunset. However, it’s advisable to check current timings as they can vary with the seasons and local holidays.

Is there an entrance fee to visit Tatev Monastery?

There is no entrance fee to visit the monastery itself, but there are fees for the cable car and possibly for parking and guided tours.

What should I wear when visiting Tatev Monastery?

Visitors should dress modestly out of respect for the religious nature of the site. It is recommended to wear clothing that covers the shoulders and knees.

Are there facilities available at Tatev Monastery?

Basic facilities like restrooms and a small café are available. Near the monastery, you can find a few dining options and gift shops selling local crafts and souvenirs.

What else can I do near Tatev Monastery?

Apart from exploring the monastery, visitors can enjoy hiking in the surrounding areas, visit nearby attractions such as the Devil’s Bridge and the ancient village of Old Halidzor, and participate in local cultural experiences.