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Tanahat Monastery

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At about 7 km from the Hatsavan fork, you see on a bluff left across the river the low red remains of Tanahat Monastery* =20?= (Թանահատ) or (as it is known to the locals) Karmir Vank - and not to be confused with the much nicer Tanahati Monastery near Yeghegnadzor. It may be possible to ford the river by car below the monastery, while one km upstream of it is a deeper ford or, 80 m further upstream, a precarious footbridge made of an old truck chassis, with a pleasant foot track leading up (20 minutes) to the monastery. Preserved are remains of a single-aisle basilica, perhaps of the fifth c., with a small columned hall adjoining it S. W of the church is a little cemetery, which includes the well-preserved cist grave of a notable at its highest point. According to Stepanos Orbelian, the Bishop of Syunik and family historian writing in the late 13th century:

"At that time flourished the superb and marvelous refuge of Tanahati Vank, situated at the bottom of Upper Syunik, on a wooded plateau. Except the servers, no one passed the gates of the convent. Despite the repeated injunctions of the princes and bishops of Syunik, they would not consent to fortify themselves on Sundays with soup, cheese and oil -- fruits and vegetables sufficed. Thence their name of Tanahat, 'deprived of soup.' ... We have found in their inscriptions that their church was built 400 years before the Armenian era (ed. note: AD 151, not possible) by the princes of Syunik, under the name of S. Stepanos the Protomartyr.
They had as superior a certain Mkhitar, who by his austerities had taken his place in the ranks of those most virtuous, who tamed wild beasts such as bears and wolves into service to the church, and forced them to make themselves useful to the convent or, as an inscription attests, to be the vassals of the convent. ... having presided for many years over the convent, he joined the angels. His holy remains were placed in a wooden coffin on a hill near the church, where a grave had been dug and lined with masonry. This tomb has survived to the present day and works great miracles on those afflicted with illness."

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