Armenia sevan, sevanavanq

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  • 1. Sevan is one of the three large lakes in the Armenian highland. In ancient times it was called Gegharkunik or Geghama Sea. Sevan is the largest lake in Caucasus as well as one on the largest and highest freshwater lakes of the world.
  • 2. The lake surface is at an altitude of 1897m above sea level. Its depth is 80m, an area-1260km?, lengh70km, width-55km and the volume is 58billion cubic metres. In summer, the middle temperature of lake surface is 18-23 degrees above zero. In winter the lake is partly covered with ice.
  • 3. Sevan consists of two unequal parts - Big Sevan and Small Sevan. These parts are merged by 5th km length strait which is located between the peninsulas of Artanish and Noradus. The southern and eastern shores are broad and smooth, while the northern and north-eastern shores are narrow and rocky. The Lake, on the west side, is surrounded by Geghama from the north - Aregunyats from the east - Sevan and from the South - Vardenis mountains. Sevan is fed by 28 rivers of which Gavaraget, Argithci, Martuni, Karthcaghbyur, Masrik, Dzknaget are the most famous.
  • 4. The Lake Sevan has tectonic, volcanic origin. From the geological point of view the Great Sevan is an ancient, intermountain concavity, where there was a water basin in the remote past. A separate lake has been existed as well in the place of the Small Sevan. Young volcanic lava-stream raised the water level blocking the exit of the Small Sevan. Then Big and Small Sevan assembled into the current Sevan .In the northern part of the lake the island of Sevan is situated which has become a peninsula by artificially making water level low.
  • 5. The lake has a good impact on the surrounding area and preserves the natural equilibrium of the entire basin. The water as well as the fish reserves are of great economic importance. Most of the canals irrigating the Ararat valley as well as the whole 6 electric power stations of cascade of Hrazdan are supplied by the water of Sevan. A lot of buildings of Urartu Kingdom (Velikukhi, rock inscription of Rusa) and medieval architectural monuments (Sevanavanq, Hayravanq and etc.) were preserved. Sevan is of grate importance from the view of tourism. Around the coast there are many ‘cyclopean’ fortresses relating to the Bronze Age (Lcashen, Hayravanq). Archaeological research has shown that 3500 years ago the substantial part of Sevan was occupied by land. There were populated areas where the population was engaged in farming and cattle-breeding.
  • 6. In the history of Armenian people many significant events are associated with the Lake Sevan. In the historical novel ‘Gevorg Marzpetuni’ by Muratsan, in chapter ‘Tzovamart’ the battle of Sevan against the Arab invasion was described. In autumn the huge clouds descending from the peaks of high mountains into the water surface make a striking sight. In sunny weather the Lake Sevan flabbergasts with its iridescent shades of blue but in cloudy weather the clear blue turns into a hard metal. Sevan seems to be a piece of heaven on the earth. Sevan is the pearl of Armenia nature.
  • 7. The Sevan peninsula, which is located 3 km east of the town is home to one of the most notable samples of medieval Armenian architecture, the Sevanavank Monastery of the 9th century.
  • 8. The monastery was founded by Saint Gregory the Illuminator (the first Catholicos of the Armenian church) in 305. Long before the adoption of Christianity in Armenia there was a pagan temple in Sevan Island and in The Bronze Age the Island was surrounded by fortified wall.
  • 9. Today, the monastery consists of two churches: Surb Arakelots (Holy Apostles) and Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) with many types of khackars (cross-stones). Initially the monastery was built at the southern shore of a small island. After artificial draining of Lake Sevan, which started in the Joseph Stalin era, the water level fell about 20 meters, and the island was transformed into a peninsula.
  • 10. According to an inscription in one of the churches, the monastery of Sevanavank was founded in 874 by Princess Mariam, the daughter of Ashot I (who became a king a decade later). At the time, Armenia was still struggling to get rid of Arab rule.
  • 11. The monastery was a strict place for it was mainly intended for Etchmiadzin monks who had sinned. The monastery was visited by Jean-Marie Chopin, a French explorer of the Caucasus, in 1830, who wrote of a regimen restraining from meat, wine, youth or women. Another explorer visited the monastery in 1850 and wrote of about the manuscripts that were still being copied manually.
  • 12. Surb Arakelots (meaning the "Holy Apostoles") and Surb Astvatsatsin (meaning the "Holy Mother of God") churches are both cruciform plan structures with octagonal tambours. The two churches are very alike in look. Close to the churches there are the ruins of a gavit the roof of which was initially held by six wooden columns. Some of the remains of the gavit and its columns are displayed in the Yerevan Museum of History.