Lake Sevan: Armenia’s “blue-eyed jewel”

GreenTravel Armenia_Lake Sevan

Lake Sevan

If you are in Yerevan during hot summer, but would love to escape to a cooler area and enjoy a fantastic fish barbeque, visit Gegharkunik Province. This is the largest province in Armenia, where locals offer numerous dishes with fish and potatoes, bake the most delicious baklava in the world (pastry with layered dough, nuts, and honey) and most importantly, enjoy the beauty of the high altitude, freshwater lake.

Yes, yes, today we will introduce Armenia’s blue-eyed jewel- Lake Sevan. Located about 60 km north-east from Yerevan will take about an hour drive. during summer months you can also get ther by train. Be prepared as the place is also one of the coldest regions in Armenia, although the sun may “burn” during all seasons. This means, it is necessary to take and warm clothes, and sunscreen. If you have already packed them, let’s go!

Here is more info about the lake: its surface area is over 1,240 square kilometers, the average depth is 30 meters on an altitude of 1,916 meters above sea level. An endemic fish species of the lake is Sevan Trout (Ishkhan meaning “imperial” ) with its four sub-species: “gegharkuni”, “summer bakhtak”, “winter bakhtak”, and “bojak”.

Sevan is the largest lake in the Republic of Armenia and the third largest on the Armenian Highland after Lakes Van and Urmia. It is the largest  freshwater reservoir in the region, with 28 rivers flowing into the lake. According to geologists, Lake Sevan has a volcanic origin. During a volcano eruption in the Geghama mountain range, the lava closed the flow of Hrazdan River forming a basin. Later on, as a result of accumulation of melted ice and river water, the basin was filled with water, creating the lake. Archeologists testify, that the coastal zone of Lake Sevan has been inhabited since ancient times. Bronze Age “Cyclopean” castles (Lchashen, Hayravank), preserved structures and inscriptions from the Urartian era, medieval structures (Sevanavank, Hayravank), settlements, and “cross stones”were found in the basin.

Once you have sampled fish barbeque served in one of the eateries along the coast walk the stairs up the hill for a panoramic view of the Sevan Peninsula and to visit the Sevanavank monastery built by Princess Mariam . The monastery was founded in the 4th century, by Gregory the Illuminator  but completed by the 9th century. Centuries later, two more churches were built in that area: St. Araqelots and St. Astvatsatsin.

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