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.
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
In summer, the middle
surface is 18-23 degrees
above zero. In winter the
lake is partly covered with
Sevan consists of two unequal
parts - Big Sevan and Small Sevan.
These parts are merged by 5th
km length strait which is located
southern and eastern shores are
broad and smooth, while the
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,
Masrik, Dzknaget are the
The Lake Sevan has tectonic, volcanic
origin. From the geological point of view
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.
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
Hayravanq and etc.) were
Sevan is of grate importance from
the view of tourism. Around the
coast there are many ‘cyclopean’
fortresses relating to the Bronze
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.
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
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
The Sevan peninsula,
which is located 3 km
east of the town is
home to one of the
most notable samples
of medieval Armenian
of the 9th century.
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
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.
According to an inscription
in one of the churches, the
monastery of Sevanavank
was founded in 874 by
daughter of Ashot I (who
became a king a decade
Armenia was still struggling
to get rid of Arab rule.
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.
Surb Arakelots (meaning the
"Holy Apostoles") and Surb
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.