ARMENIA – Lake Sevan

ARMENIA – Lake Sevan

Lake Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia (and the Caucasus) and one of the largest high altitude lakes in the world. It is located at 1900 meters above sea level, covers an area of940 sq km, is 80 km long and 30 km wide at its widest point. It receives water from 28 rivers and the only river emissary Hrazdan has come; but only 10% of the water that leaves the lake leaves the river. The remaining 90% is subject to evaporation.

It was the scene of many clashes between Armenian and Arab Christians from Turkey. Important for Armenian history was the battle of 859 in which King Ashot managed to repel the Arab invasion.

It is the most important fresh water reservoir for Armenia, therefore especially during the last century works have been made to try to make the most of resources and to produce electricity. Some unfortunate attempts and projects, however, led to an ecological disaster in the 1950s which led to the lake being lowered by almost 20 meters and the power plant was then blocked. Subsequent interventions stabilized in the situation and now waters from other rivers are also flowing into the lake.

I have also been introduced by man to some species of fish that have gone to threaten endemic ones such as the trout of Sevan.

On the banks of the lake there are some monasteries that date back to the Middle Ages. The most famous are Sevanavank, on the western shores of Hayrivank and to the south Noraduz with its Khachkar cemetery, the typical Armenian stone crosses.

Today Sevan is a tourist destination, in fact Armenia has no outlets on the sea and in summer the water temperature (18 ° -22 °) provided bathing. It is only 70 km from the capital Yerevan, therefore a convenient day excursion location.