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Lake Sevan

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Region: Gegharkunik A fresh water lake of pure natural beauty such as that embodied by Lake Sevan is rare. The emerald of Armenia, Lake Sevan is situated 60 kilometers northeast of Yerevan in the center of the Gegharkunik region. The name Sevan is of Urartian origin, and is derived from Siuna, meaning country of lakes. Presently, the lake covers 1256 square kilometers and reaches a maximum depth of 82 meters. Twenty-eight rivers and springs flow into Sevan but only River Hrazdan begins its flow from it. Perched high in the elevated Armenian terrain, the lake fills a gigantic depression situated at height of 1897 meters above sea level. As a result, the winter cold is quite harsh, while the summer sun is deceptively strong. In ancient times the Sevan was called the Geghama Sea. Over a mile high, the water of Sevan reflects the palette of vivid colors from lazur to deep blue, hypnotizing with its magnetic and majestic aura. The peninsula, together with its monastery, is a secret of nature which has yet to be explained. Gradually cycling through the centuries, the water level rises to transform the peninsula into an island, then recedes back to offer a peninsula once again. Unfortunately, during the soviet era, hydroelectric industrialization and irrigation reduced the water table significantly, but efforts are underway to stabilize the situation. It is impossible to imagine the island of Sevan (currently a peninsula) without the Sevan Monastery, a perfect example of a man-made testimony of faith complementing the surrounding divine nature. According to the historical records, the Monastery was built in 874. The basin of the lake is scattered with rock paintings, sculptures and works of architecture including remains of fortification from the Bronze and Iron Ages. Since 1951 archaeological excavations have resulted in a number of important discoveries, including fortresses, burial grounds, and remnants of entire settlements dating back to the early 3rd millennium B.C. through the end of the 11th century. These discoveries include carts, chariots, wooden articles, and ceramics. The oldest items include shiny black vessels with finely carved decorations (the secret of their color is a mystery), spiral bracelets made of copper, jewelry, and mill-stones, all dating back to 2500 B.C. The pearl of Armenia, Sevan is also a favorite destination for fishing. A famous species of trout called the Salmon Trout (Ishkhan) or “Prince Fish” is the signature fish of the lake. The shore offers tourists several first class resorts, small and big hotels and motels as well as comfortable beaches. Any of the burgeoning shoreline restaurants prepares and serves delicious fresh fish and crayfish, in addition to more standard fare with local style for the visitors to the lake. The north-west part of the lake is covered with fir-groves, which serve to shield the calm and sandy beaches from the winds of the Geghama mountains. A railroad along the beach gives tourists an opportunity to travel along the beach and admire the unique beauty of the lake, helping us understand firsthand why Sevan’s beauty has served as the theme for so many songs and poems. The gentle turquoise of Sevan’s water will leave the visitor with unforgettable impressions as well as an uplifting of one’s soul and spirit.

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