In the 9th century it was a bishop residence and over a millennium later it remained as a spiritual center of Syunik. It served as a bishop residence and remained the spiritual center of Syunik for over a millennium. Numerous manuscripts of the royal family were kept here. Many important personalities of Armenia from the Middle Ages lived, studied and worked here. The Tatev monastery was built as a defensive complex on a rock ledge overlooking the gorge of the Vorotan River.

To the north and west, massive walls shield the monastery. The monastery complex consists of three churches, a dining room, library, vault, and underground constructions.
A special attraction of the monastery is Gavazan (“Catholicos Tab’’ 8m), due to its ball-bearing design, makes it a movable, octagonal column. The oldest and largest building is St. Paul and Peter Church.