Armenia is known to be a home of ancient monasteries and medieval architectures. So when we had a chance to visit, we didn’t hesitate to go places we’ve thought we’d only dreamed of. One of these is one of our top 3 picks in the country.
1. Halidzor Park
From Yerevan to Halidzor Village, it took us approximately 3.5 hours drive. Our tour guide brought us to the Halidzor Park where we could start our journey to the most wanted and visited destination in Armenia today, the Tatev Monastery in the Syunik Province.
The park’s scenic view welcomed us with a touch of wintry winds kissing our faces. We overspent some minutes more in emerging ourselves into the beautiful natural landscapes around us. It was so captivating and refreshing at the same time. How wonderful that day that we cannot forget.
2. Wings of Tatev
The well-known Tatev Monastery is about 6 kilometers via a cable car which lasts 10 minutes one way. We couldn’t get up there unless we take the ride. So we booked our tickets. It costs us AMD 5,000 (USD 10.35 or AED 39.06) each for a two-way reversed aerial tram ride, to the monastery up in the hill and backs down to the base.
The queue to the cable is short as it can accommodate roughly 15 pax. The Wings of Tatev has made its way to the Guinness Book of Records, being the longest cable car in the world. And this one is no ordinary cable like those in Singapore and Malaysia. It goes from one mountain to the other within Tatev.
We found ourselves enjoying the aerial view of the visible features of the land area below. Long and winding roads are too tiny to see and other different monasteries are too little. We also marveled at the beauty of the surrounding mountaintops and rocky slopes. Really, it was full of fun to go up to the monastery!
Few meters away from the monastery, one can find a spot where a binocular is set up. We thought that we can then use it to have a brilliant view of the Tatev Monastery but it was blocked when we tried. So we just used it for photo taking purposes instead.
3. Tatev Monastery
The well-preserved medieval architecture of the 9th century is perched at the edge of the massive cliffs at the gorge of the Vorotan River, guarded by mighty fortress walls. Legend has it that the monastery was named Tatev in honor of a certain master whose prayer was heard by God. Accordingly, he came to the end of the cliff and threw himself after saying “Ognir Surb ta tev” which in English means “Let the Holy Spirit give me the wings”.
The monastic complex housed several buildings erected. Standing in the middle of the walled compound is the Church of Paul and Peter. Few meters at its left, facing its entrance, is the Surb Astvatsatsin.
Also, we found the Grigor Tatevatsi Mausoleum at the corner end of the monastery. It is where the tomb of the last saint of the Armenian church Grigor Tatevatsi is. Opposite from it, on the other side, is the 8 meters tall Gavazan Monument. This unique work of Armenian architectural and engineering art was erected in 904.
Getting around led us to live back in time. It was a wonderful classic experience of the ancient world. We were amazed to see from our own eyes that the monastery has its own student dormitory inside it. And a bakery too. It seemed that we already had an idea of how they do their baking 101 in the olden times. Cross-stones or khachkars are also found in the monastery.
Other important sites in the monastery, which is up to now unknown to us, exist. These could be the rooms, secret places, and cellars built in the past for the use of the monks as well as the students, artists and historians.
Before we finally ended our colorful trip, we managed to delight in the beauty of nature once again. We went busy taking a deep breath on the relaxing panorama in front of us and making a remembrance of a lifetime. We also took the time off to have a romantic bonding that would create thousands of happy thoughts in us.
This is indeed a place where we can say that life is full of life! And we are 100% certain to come back here anytime we can!