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As an unique architectural relic,
As a head of holy centers,
As a light shedding torch of science and literature at hard times.
It is the way an unknown historian described the Monastery.
In the tenth century, Tatev Monastery had more than 500 friars and was center of Philosophy and Hymns. It became not only a prayer house, but also a cordial center of culture, art and crafts, heart of science development.
Tatev Monastery is in Southern part of Goris, built on a triangle peninsula over the right bank of River Vorotan. The top of the hill is a large plateau surrounded with high mountains in the West and North.
At BC, there were pagan temples on the highland and in IV-V centuries, at AD, an unadorned church was built there. Since the fame of Tatev church had been gradually increasing and at the 2nd part of VIII century it became the residence of Syunyants Bishop.
It was the time, in 895, when Tatev Monastery was built, which became one of the most famous church among 48 ones in Syunik region and one of the most powerful and biggest holy feudalistic center among Apostolic churches in Armenia.
Tatev Monastery with its temples, fences and auxiliary buildings is a complete complex built for many years with huge efforts. It is fenced and the main monument, St. Paul and Peter church, stands in the middle of the complex.
In 895 Hovhannes Bishop with support and patronage of Syunyants Grand Prince Ashot and his wife Shushan, pulled down the old church and built a new one. He took ashes of the apostles Paul and Peter and again interred it in the walls of the new church, and named it “St. Paul and Peter” in honor of the apostles. Construction of the church took more than11 years. It is a typical basilica (having two colonnades inside) enriched with some new features. The St. Paul and Peter cathedral is the most prominent among other buildings due to its notable height.
The eastern facade of the temple is decorated with human portraits enclosed into snake heads, as a protection of Armenian families.