Tanahat monastery

Tanahat (Tanadeh) Monastery was mentioned as early as the 8th century and was one of medieval Armenia's most important religious and cultural centers.

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Tanahat Monastery

This monastery is located 7 km south-east of Vernashen village. Historian Stepanos Orbelian states that it was founded in the 8th century.

Stepanos Syunetsi was buried in the monastery in 735, with a chapel built afterwards. Surb Stepanos (St. Stephen) church was built in place of the chapel between the years 1273 to 1279 under the patronage of Prince Prosh.

The church has a cruciform interior, while the exterior is rectangular. Built of dark blue polished basalt stone, the building features carvings that are among the finest patterns of the medieval architecture. The southern wall high relief sculpture depicts an eagle with wings spread, clutching a lamb in its talons.

To the north of Surb Stepanos lies the 13th century single nave Surb Nshan (Holy Sign) church built in polished basalt stone. It has a highly expressive bas-relief carving above the western entry.

The 1970-1982 excavations uncovered the foundations for a single nave church and several secular buildings in the south and those of the gavit in the west. It is believed that the monastery once housed Gladzor University, a prominent educational institution in Medieval Armenia.

The complex was renovated in 1970 and in 1984.


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    Working period/season Year around

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    Working days Monday-Sunday

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    How to reach From Vernashen, continue N and then E on the same road (H47) for about 6 km through the rolling hills of summer grass to a L turn that takes you in about 500 meters to Tanahat Monastery.

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