Dzit-han - The Oil Mill
Tatev Monastery''s 17th century oil mill, the dzit-han, is a unique artifact. It is valuable not only as a historical monument, but also as a museum that offers visitors a unique experience and insight into Armenia''s culinary and cultural heritage and on the workings of Tatev's monastic economy.
The Tatev Oil Mill was one of the most prominent of its time and was known for its high-quality engineering. It
primarily produced flaxseed oil, though medieval Armenian oil mills of its kind also commonly produced oil from
sesame, hemp and other plants. Its yield was so high that it was the main provider of oil for several surrounding villages. It was built outside the monastery walls so that private clients could have access to it without disturbing the serenity of monastic life.
The revival of Tatev Monastery''s dzit-han has already been completed thanks to generous contributions from donors as well as expert guidance from a group of professionals, including local and international experts in the fields of restoration, architecture, archaeology and ethnography. The Tatev oil mill is capable once again of extracting oil using the traditional technique.
The oil mill now functions as an interactive museum. It takes visitors back hundreds of years, giving them a real taste of monastic life. The rehabilitation of the dzit-han is a case study in how interdisciplinary collaboration can bring a cultural treasure back to life, ensuring its long-term preservation.
Target completion date : October 2010