The 9th century Tatev Monastery is located in the southeastern Armenia, in the area of ancient Armenian Syunik, not far from the city of Goris and 280 km away from Yerevan in the Syunik Province. The Tatev plateau has been in use since pre-Christian times, hosting a pagan temple. The temple was replaced with a modest church following the Christianization of Armenia in the 4th century.
According to tradition, the monastery is named after Eustateus, a disciple of St. Thaddeus the Apostle, who preached and was martyred in this region. His name has evolved to Tatev. The fortified Tatev monastery consists of three churches (The 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.
At the beginning of the 11th century, Tatev hosted around 1,000 monks and a large number of artisans. In 1044, the armed forces of neighboring emirates destroyed the St. Gregory Church and its surrounding buildings, which were reconstructed soon after that. The monastery suffered significant damage during Seljuk invasions in the 12th century and the earthquake in 1136. In 1170, Seljuk Turks plundered the Monastery and burnt some 10,000 manuscripts. During Timur Lenk’s campaigns into Syunik (1381–1387), Tatev was looted, burnt, and dispossessed of a significant portion of its territories. The Monastery received an additional blow during Shah Rukh’s invasion in 1434. It was looted again during the incursions of Persian forces led by Aga Mahmet Khan in 1796.
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.
Wings of Tatev is a 5.7 km (3.5 mi) cableway between Halidzor Village and the Tatev Monastery. Built by the Swiss company in 2010 it is the longest reversible aerial tramway built in only one section, and holds in the Guinness Book of World Records a record for longest non-stop double track cable car.