Lake Sevan is one of the three major lakes of the Armenian highlands. In ancient times it was called the Geghama or Gegharkunik sea. Lake Sevan is the largest in the Caucasus, as well as one of the largest freshwater mountain lakes on the Earth.
The area of the lake is 1260 km2, depth - 80 m, length - 70 km, width - 55 km, volume - 58 billion m3. The average surface temperature of the water in summer is +18 ° to +23 °, in winter the lake is partially covered with ice.
The lake consists of two unequal parts - Large Sevan and Small Sevan. These parts are merged by a 5-km strait, which is located between the peninsulas Artanish and Noraduz. The Southern and eastern shores are broad and smooth, while the northern and north-eastern are narrow and rocky.
From the west, the lake is surrounded by Geghama Mountains from the north, by Areguni mountains from the east, by Sevan mountains and from the south, by Vardenis mountains.
28 rivers flow into Lake Sevan, the largest of them are the Gavaraget, the Argitchi, the Martuni, the Karchahbyur, the Masrik, the Dzknaget.
The lake is of tectono-volcanic origin. From the geodesic point of view, Big Sevan is an ancient intermontane concavity where a water pool existed in the remote past. Young volcanic lava, blocking the exit from Small Sevan, raised the water level. Large and Small Sevan united to form the contemporary Sevan. In the northern part of the lake is located the island of Sevan, which, due to the artificial lowering of the water level, became a peninsula.
The lake has a good impact on the surroundings and preserves the natural balance of the entire basin. Water and fish resources of the lake have great economic importance. Sevan's waters supply most of the channels that irrigate the Ararat valley, as well as all the six plants of Hrazdan cascade.
In the 1940s and 1950s, humans violated the natural state of Lake Sevan. The irrigation and energy complex Sevan-Hrazdan was built. Due to the deepening of the source of the Hrazdan, water supplies were partially released. The water level dropped 19m, and the area decreased by 12%.
On the areas freed from water could be built a railroad and a highway passing through the north-eastern shore. New water balance changes occurred due to the construction of the water piping Arpa-Sevan tunnel, 48.3 km long. To solve environmental problems, Sevan National Park was created.
Sevan is of considerable importance in terms of tourism. All along the coast are located "Cyclopean" fortresses of the Bronze Age (Lchashen, Hayravank). Archaeological research has shown that 3500 years ago the major part of Sevan was occupied by land. There were many villages where the population was engaged in agriculture and cattle breeding.
Urartu buildings are also preserved (Velikuhi, Rus's stone carving), and of course many medieval architectural monuments (Sevanavank, Hayravank etc.).
Lake Sevan is associated with many important events in the history of the Armenian people. The historical novel "Gevorg Marzpetuni" describes the battle of Sevan against the Arab invasion.
In autumn you can endlessly admire the clouds, descending to the water surface from the high peaks. In sunny weather, Sevan impresses with its iridescent shades of blue, and in cloudy weather the clear blue looks like metal. It feels like Sevan was a piece of heaven on earth. Lake Sevan is the pearl of Armenia.