- Sevan

Sevan - an ancient holy lake, “the kohar of Armenia” or “the sea Geghama”, is one of the largest lakes of the world. It is a real miracle of the nature situated in the hearth of Armenian highland on the huge mountain, which is surrounded by picturesque mountain chains on 1900 meters height. Its water surface is 940 square km, the maximum depth – 95 m. The maximum length of the lake is 70 km, and the width – 30-50 km. 28 rivers are flowing into the lake Sevan, and only the river Hrazdan is flowing out. The largest river flowing into Sevan is the river Masrik.

The peninsula Artanish from north-east and the cape Noratus from south-west divide the lake into two parts – big and small which are correlated with each other with the channel having the width of 8 km.

There are several versions of the lake’s origin. The most probable is that it rose a few thousand years ago in the result of volcanic processes incurred in the mountains Geghama surrounding him (Sevan is one of the freshest lakes in the world, which has a volcanic formation). The level of the lake, which made 1416 square km of the surface, was on the height of 1916 m from the sea surface till the artificial lowering. The maximum depth was equal to about 100 m (now 80 m), the maximum length was 75 km and the maximum width was 37 km. The surface of the lake is 1200 square km, and the basin is about four times bigger – 4850 square km. The volume of water exceeds the water volume of dam of Uglich 50 times.

Sevan is situated on the height of 1900 m, the surface is 1240 km, and the depth is till 83m. 28 rivers are flowing into the lake Sevan and only the river Hrazdan (the confluent of Araqs) is flowing out. The lake has a nature of tectonic lasher. The basin has a tectonic origin and the lasher has recently emerged in the result of outflow of oligotssenyan lavas. Sevan is surrounded by mountain chains of Sevan from north-east, Areguni from west and Geghama and Vardenis from south.

The lake Sevan is fresh, the water surface is light blue. Water mineralizing is 700 mg/l., dry balance makes 0.5 g/l.

The lake Sevan is famous for its monuments and leisure resources being on the shore, with mineral sources, fresh air, ultraviolet rays, beautiful nature. There is an artificial forest (sycamore, broad-leaved species, buckthorn berry).

The archeologists discovered cuneiforms and the city-castle Urartu on shores of Sevan. The lake was called “Suiniya” in Urartic cuneiforms. It is supposed that the name “Sevan” rose from this word. The origin of the name “Sevan” has been related to the monastery made of black tufa in the island for a long time. In Armenian “Black monastery” is also consonant with the lake’s name.

The climate in Sevan’s environment is wonderful. As hot it is in the valley, as it is always cool here in the heights. The water temperature gets to 18-20? in summer.

The water part of Sevan is very picturesque. And the slopes highly overgrown in the forests, and the naked white stone basis, and the mountain planes which pass through alpine meadows, and large and bright layers of sycamores and buckthorn berry, and wild crystal beaches. The “whipped” clouds are hung in this luxurious landscape height, they are literally clinging from the mountain top almost always covered with snow. The surrounding area of Sevan is a buffer zone of National park.

. We can’t admire with these amazing scenes. Besides, there is a pure mountain air and nearly the freshness of sea breeze here.

Praised in poems and prose not once Sevan really has an amazing beauty. Its crystal water is surprisingly capable of changing its color: it is delicate turquoise in sunny weather, dark-grey during the wind and silver at night.

Sevan is wonderful itself, but there is another miracle in it: that is its tasteful fish Trout (fish of salmons’ family, the translation of which means “the prince”). Due to its pink meat’s wonderful taste it has a high demand. So, we advise you to try Sevan’s trout just there on the lake’s beach. The whitefish brought from Ladoga has been placed in the lake since 1920.

Sevan is one of the largest high lakes in the world, that’s why you can almost drink its water (fresh lake). Local residents for quenching went to the lake and drank water a few hundred years ago. However, we don’t advise you to drink it, but it is worthy to swim in this lake unique in all aspects.

The very and unique beauty of the lake Sevan is remembered for a long time. Moreover, many churches surround him, which are created by a quite unique style of Armenian architecture.

The Sevan monastery is made of two churches built in IX century with the efforts of pious princes Mariam – the daughter of Ashot I Bagratuni. The main church – Astvatsatsin is separated on the high hill with its beauty and a little down is the church Araqeloc. The Sevan monastery is situated on the peninsula of the lake Sevan. It was founded in IV century.

There are resources like water “Esentuki” in western shore of Sevan around the city Gavar.

There are resources like water “Esentuki” in western shore of Sevan around the city Gavar.

At first the monastery was situated on the island but in the result of lowering the water level a channel was appeared with which the island joined the land. In ancient times the peninsula was a single island. It was separated from the coast by water of 3 km where there were many fish in virtue of which the monastery residents lived. The monks were resided here still from the end of VIII century, built a chapel and several cells. The island’s location was so convenient that the increasing monastic brotherhood began to build a monastery in the island. At the beginning they crossed the rock ledge around the island and put stone barriers on it. The wall surrounded the island and a patrol tower with not big gates was built on it. Afterwards, three churches, cells and economic institutions were built.

Today only two monasteries have been remained from the monastery built in IX century – St. Araqeloc and St. Astvatsatsin, which are standing near several ancient cross-stones. The churches are made of black tufa and it is supposed that the names “Sevanavanq” “Sev vanq” have risen from that. The churches are represented as not great cross-domed structures. They are different from their bricklayer’s nature.

In the end of IX century a great battle took place in the monastery between Armenian king Ashot called Yerkat for his strong character and the Arabs headed by commander Bashir who wanted to occupy these areas. Ashot having multiple detachments in his disposal and the joining of monks heroically defended the territories for a few months not letting the enemy even reach the island and then fighting with Arabs won them. After these events Sev vanq together with the island were also subjected to enemies’ attacks, to Lenk-Temur’s, Persians’ and others’ numerous invasions for many times. The monastic brotherhood was protected warding the attacks and the monastery lived losing its walls during XVI-XVII centuries. It stopped to exist in 1930 when the last monk left the island.

Today two black monasteries of Sevan are standing deserted as two guards of ancient lake. And the sea-lake blue stretches before them. The landscape is simply beautiful from here: the mountains surround the lake from all parts and snow-covered heights appear at the whole perimeter disappearing in the horizon. And beyond the blue water horizon the green mountain slopes are noticed in the mist, in the height of which the snow-capped is scatteredly preserved even in summer.

Another monastery situated on the western slope is Hayrivanq which is located in the village of the same name and was founded in IX-XII centuries. The monastery is also made of black stone and has a square location. The front part of the monastery is like a cross and engraved, doesn’t have other ornaments beside the crosses. The centre of the monastery is decorated with not high wide dome. The dome of the monastery’s porch is hung near it: it’s higher than the dome of the main hall. The domes are decorated with ornamented crosses. The cross-stones give a special beauty to the monastery to which the whole area is given.

The village Noratus is situated on the lake’s coastone of the least settlements of the world that has preserved its name since the ancient times. In XVI century it was a residence of Armenian Meliks (lords). Noratus is famous for a large grave of cross-stones – about 900 cross-stones with crosses engraved on stones of different ages and styles.

The characteristic peculiarities of cross-stones’ majority is the cross with the sun’s disk. The rest part of the stone is decorated with pictures of leaves, grapes, pomegranate or other abstract ornaments. The majority of cross-stones in Noratus grave is dated for 13-17 centuries, the oldest one refers to 7 century.

The church of St. Astvatsatsinis is in the center of the settlement. The constructional note existing on it, tells that the church was built by Sahak from Gegharqunik: it represents a type of "domed hall". The church was smashed by Persians in XIV century and was reconstructed in XV century.

There are numerous ancient cross-stones in the environment of St. Astvatsatsin, the oldest of which refers to 996 due to the note.

There are numerous ancient cross-stones in the environment of St. Astvatsatsin, the oldest of which refers to 996 due to the note. Not big cross-shaped domed church of X century – St. Grigor is standing in the south outskirt of Noratus. The constructional note of the architectHerkules is on its eastern wall. Not big prayer houses attached to the church were built in XIII century.

There are also cross-stones in the south coast of the village NerqinGetashen. After the reduction of water level many archeological objects having the remoteness of 2000 years were discovered (some of them belong to the Bronz age). Most of them are kept in Yerevan museums.

The famous monument of Armenian architecture of early middle ages – Sevanavanq, is situated on narrow rocky peninsula in north-western part of the lake.

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