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Sightseeing Places. TATEV MONASTERY

Tatev Monastery Complex is situated near the village of the same name in part of Zangezur - ancient Syunik. The monastery was founded in the 9th century in place of a tabernacle well-known in ancient times. The strategically advantageous location on a cape formed by a deep river gorge with precipitous rocky slopes favored the construction of a mighty defense complex there.

Tatev monuments stand out for high quality of building work. At one time Tatev was the political center of Syunik principality. In the 10th century it had a population of 1,000 and controlled numerous villages. The fenced monastic complex of Tatev includes three churches, a scriptorium, a mess-room, a tower bell, a mausoleum and accessory buildings.

The main monument and the most ancient building is the Church of Pogos and Petros (Peter and Paul) built in 895-906 with the initiative of Bishop Hovhannes. It reproduces the type of domed basilicas of the 7th century, but has new features. In the stretched out interior, the middle nave, crowned with a tremendous in the middle of the plan's cross, predominates.

As distinct from the domed basilica, the church had in its western part several annexes the corners of which served as the abutments of the dome. Its eastern abutments did not yet merge with the walls of the altar apse; consequently, the cross-winged shape of its interior is not too well pronounced. These features give us grounds to regard the church as an intermediate link in the development of the cupola hall into a cross-winged, dome type of building which became widely spread in Armenia later .


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