Tatev Monastery, Big Desert of Tatev and Devil’s Bridge

MODERATE 1 reviews

Tatev Monastery, Big Desert of Tatev and Devil’s Bridge is a 10.6 kilometer out and back trail located near Tatev, Kotayk', Armenia that features a river. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.

10.6 km
703 m
Out & Back





wild flowers


historic site

This hike is located in Tatev village of the Syunik region. The area is famous for the Tatev Monastery, which was built in the early Middle Ages and was considered the spiritual and cultural institution of Syunik. The hike begins at the monastery and passes through the wooded, winding trail of the Vorotan gorge. The Desert of Tatev (an ancient monastery, school, and one of the medieval cultural centers of the Syunik province) awaits its visitors in this gorge. Next on the route is the so called Devil’s Bridge, located over the Vorotan river. It will take you 20 to 40 minutes to explore this area of the gorge. Locals claim that the water flowing underneath the bridge has healing properties; as such, many people come in the summer months to reap its benefits. The trail ends at the Devil’s Bridge. The Syunik province is the largest and most mountainous province of the Republic of Armenia. Historically, Syunik (Sisakan) was the name of the ninth state of Greater Armenia. The current Syunik province occupies only a part of historic Syunik. Its greatest difference in elevation is 3,500m, between the Kaputjugh peak and the gorge of Meghri. The Tatev monastery is a IV century complex that was once a religious and cultural center. In the 8th century, it was named after Eustateus (Tateos) - Thaddeus apostle’s pupil, who preached Christianity in Syunik and was martyred there. In the 14th century, the Tatev monastery was one of the centers of Armenian culture, wherein a painting school, library and University operated. In 1381-1387, during Tamerlane's invasion of Syunik, Tatev monastery was robbed and burned, losing a considerable portion of its estates. In the late Middle Ages, a gavit (narthex) and a belfry were built on the western side of the large temple. The school of Tatev survived until the 20th century until it was destroyed at the beginning of the century (and later found during excavations in 1981-1982). In 1974-1998 the complex was entirely reconstructed. The trail passes through a forest of oak and hornbeam, as well as hawthorn, rose hip, wild pear and wild apple, maple and elm. There are primulas, squills and other flowers and herbs that blossom in the springtime. The prominent rivers of the region are the Vorotan, Voghji and Meghri. Vorotan is the largest river of Zangezur and is famous for its gorge, which reaches a depth of over 800 meters. The river flows underneath the Devil’s Bridge. The mineral springs of Tatev, Kajaran, Goris, Vorotan (Urut) and many others are well-known here. The Sosi, Zangezur, and Shikahogh state reserves are also in this region. Within them are a number of other valuable and unique species, such as Greek walnut, Araks oak, Greek Silk vine, spindle tree and others. Brown bears, wolves, foxes, porcupines, lizards, snakes, and turtles are often seen in the area. Rare species of skink, cat snake and Transcaucasian rat snake are also seen here. The songs of forest jays and the common blackbird will accompany hikers during the whole length of the trail. Other species of birds living here are large and black titmice, chaffinches, green woodpeckers, hawfinches, and semi-collared and small flycatchers. There are a number of species of bunting, including the black-headed, the rock, the ortolan, and the corn bunting. The brown and the lesser grey shrikes can be seen in the bushes, while the common redstart, the red-fronted serin and warblers are found in the thickets. Birds of prey include the short-toed snake eagle, the pern, the sparrowhawk, the common buzzard and the hobby falcon. In the low forest one can see the common kestrel, the long-legged buzzard, the booted eagle and the lesser spotted eagle.