Gavazan (Գավազան), one of the most unique Armenian architectural monuments of the Middle Ages, is located in the courtyard of Tatev Monastery.
The monument was built in 904-905. It is an octagonal tower with eight meters of height and is crowned with a khachkar of the Holy Trinity at the top.
The main feature of the monument is its special technique of construction: the obelisk oscillates at the slightest seismic shock. The name” Gavazan” (in translation – “staff” or “live staff”) was given to the monument due to its ability to swing.
There is a rumor that Gavazan was built intentionally and warned monks and local residents about coming earthquakes or foreshadowed the imminent invasion of the enemy. According to a legend, Gavazan terrified the Seljuk warriors, who would then rush to the canyon in fear of the “devil’s column”.
According to another legend, the monument had an unearthly power. Many times Arabs, Seljuk Turks, Mongols, Tamerlane’s warriors tried to damage Gavazan, but the pillar resisted.
After a strong earthquake in 1931, all the structures of the monastery fell, including the Church of St. Poghos-Petros, the Church of St. Grigor Lusavorich, the belfry, the living quarters, and the auxiliary rooms. Only Gavazan resisted and remained unharmed.
In 2012, researchers explored another mystery of the medieval monument. Independent researcher Vazgen Gevorgyan organized an expedition to Tatev on the night of August 11, 2012.
At 5 AM, they watched the stars of the constellation of Orion line up vertically. As it is known, since 2492 BC until the beginning of the twentieth century, the Armenians celebrated the holiday Navasard, the Armenian New Year. The progenitor of Armenians is Hayk and Orion is his constellation.
Navasard was celebrated in honor of Hayk’s victory over Bel. Hayk-Orion killed Bel (Taurus constellation) with a three-pointed arrow, which resembles the 3 stars of the Orion constellation.
On the night of August 11, the people led by the king gathered near the sacred mountain Npat near Bagavan (the place of God) and waited for the appearance of the star Alpha-Orion (Betelgeuse), which the Armenians called “Hayk’s shoulder”.
Upon the appearance of the star in the sky by morning, the people celebrated Navasard. In the courtyard of the Tatev Monastery, the Orion constellation can be seen above Gavazan, if you stand facing east and the monument.