"About Sevan" Sevan by kr_en

Sevan Travel Guide: 20 reviews and 86 photos

About the lake

Սևանա լիճ (Sevana lich) is Armenia's largest lake and also one of the largest high altitude (approx. 1950m) lakes in the world. Only 1/10 of the lakes water is drained by the Hrazdan via Sevan, Hrazdan town and Yerevan into the Arax river, everything else evaporates. This is why in Stalin era they tried to exploit even evaporated-to-be water and significantly shrink the lake. After Stalin's death, when the lake's level already fell by more than 20 metres, the project was abandoned and governments tries to raise the level back as much as possible. A tunnel to divert water from the Arpa river was constructed but it's insufficient so another tunnel from Vorotan to the Arpa was started and after the "pause" inthe 90's it was finally finished in 2003. At the moment the water is stabilized at 20 m below original level. It is still uncertain if this would prevent a similar ecological disaster as caused at the Aral Sea, but at the moment it looks quite good. The endemic Sevan trout is at the the edge of extermination (due to introduced competitors) but probably it will survive in Issyk-Kul lake in Kirghizistan where it was introduced. As Armenia is a landlocked country, the lake is a popular resort among Armenias and also foreign visitors who come to see the monastery and stay for another day or two swimming in the lake.

More info at Wikipedia

Sevan town

Սևանա town is situated at the north west shore of the lake where the Hrazdan flows towards Yerevan and the Arax. The town is actually some way from the shore, probably because the lake's level was lowered. It is just like other Armenian towns, i.e. a not very pleasant industrial town. It has good railway and for lane highway connections with Yerevan (approx. 1 hour by marshrutka) and the highway continues towards Dilijan and Tbilisi.

See my tip for how to get from the town to the peninsula with the monastery.

Sevanavank monastery

The Սևանավանք monastery was built in the 9th century when Arab rule ended and Armenia regained a certain degree of autinomoy. Initially it was isolated at an island but the island turned into a peninsula when the lake's level fell. Today two nice small churches remain. The east part of the peninsula is now reserved for the president's summer residence and guarded by the army but they don't bother visitors as long as they don't approach the fence too much. Due to proximity of Yerevan the monastery is popular among tourists.

See Wikipedia for more details.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Very nice, a bit too crowded though, monastery
  • Cons:Lost romantics due to lowered lake level
  • In a nutshell:Not really like Switzerland but still very nice
  • Last visit to Sevan: Aug 2004
  • Intro Updated Nov 29, 2004
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