Nature Trail 2009: 2009 Flower Trail

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Tatev Gorge

Tatev Gorge

Tatev and Vorotan Gorges boast dramatic views with rare endemic flora, including Maidenhead Fern (Adianthum capillus-veneris), Allium kunthianum, Large bindweed or morning glory (Calystegia silvatica), Southern Bindweed (Convolvulus cantabrica), Carnelian Cherry (Cornus mas), Hawthorn (Crataegus caucasica), Dianthus (Diantus orientalis), Foxglove (Digitalis nervosa), Ficaria ficarioides, Fig (Ficus carica), Crested Gentian (Gentiana septemfida), Black spot horned-poppy (Glaucium corniculatum), Globe Daisy (Globularia trichosantha), Elecampagne (Inula helenium), Wild apple (Malus orientalis), Silk vine (Periploca graeca), Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum), Cherry Plum (Prunus divaricata), Pomegranate (Punica granatum) and Ring Bellflower (Symphyandra armena). Irises include (Iris imbricata, I. paradoxa, I. lineolata) and are renowned for their intense colors. The text by Eleonora Gabrielyan, President of Armenian Botanical Society. 

The gorge also includes Devil's Bridge, opposite the parking area from this sign. Actually a gigantic boulder that wedged into its current position after falling from a cliff, the 'bridge' obscures the river's course for 50 meters, giving it its name. For centuries it was used as a natural bridge to reach Tatev. The mineral springs erupting from cliff rocks at the site color the canyon and form stalactites under the bridge and a small pool of warm spring water attracts soakers for much of the year.

Tatev Hermitage (Tatevi Mets Anapat)

Tatevi Mets Anapat (Tatev Hermitage) was built on a plateau overlooking the Vorotan and Tatev rivers, well hidden by a canopy of trees and greenery. The monastery was founded by the archimandrite (honored priest) Aristakes following the destruction of nearby Harants Hermitage (b. 1611-1613), in the same canyon. Aristakes was buried in the crypt of the main church in the complex, St. Astvatsatsin.

It was mostly built (rebuilt) in the second half of the 17th century, following the 1658 earthquake and resolution of the Catholicos Hakob Jughayetsi, who ordered its construction to replace Harants monastery. According to the chronicler Zakaria Aguletsi Harants' monks transferred to the new site in 1660 and the monastery is mentioned in 1668 texts. At the end of 17th century Tatev's head, Hovasap Aghuerdzetsi, added cells to the complex and the monastery expanded in the 18th century.

The main structure is St. Astvatsatsin (Blessed Virgin) a triple-nave basilica with adjoining portico at the west. An inscription showing the date 1663 above the western porch in all probability is the date of the church construction. The portico was built for Melik Yegan in 1743, according to a surviving inscription on the northern wall. A small domed crypt is in the northern part of the church.

Tatevi Anapat had an important school and a manuscriptorium and survived to the end of the 19th century. Damaged in the 1931 earthquake, much of the complex survives to this day in remarkably good condition.