Area: 5,349 km2
Gegharkunik is the largest province in Armenia. The capital and largest city is the town of Gavar. Most of the territory of the region (1,278 km2) is covered by Lake Sevan, the largest lake in Transcaucasia and the region's major tourist attraction.
The name of Gegharkunik is derived from the name of Gegham, the 5th king of the Haykazuni Dynasty and one of the descendants of the legendary forefather of the Armenian nation Hayk. The Gegham mountains and the Lake of Gegham (currently known as Lake Sevan) were also named after Gegham.
Armenia has no access to the sea but it has its “blue pearl” - Lake Sevan. The lake is the pride of the Armenian people. Its surface is 1,242 km2, and the water volume is 32.8 billion m3. The largest lake in the Caucasus, it's also one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in the world.
Its colors and shades change from a dazzling azure to dark blue and to thousands of shades depending on weather and its own mysterious inner processes.
The lake provides a large fish population, including the endangered endemic species of the lake - Ishkhan (Sevan trout), named “prince” in Armenian for a row of spots looking like a crown on its head. There is also a large population of crayfish and sig (white fish) in the lake.
The Lake and its mountainous vicinity offer a myriad of opportunities for active and passive entertainment։ paragliding over the lake, diving and windsurfing in the waters or camping on the shore – pick anything to your taste.
Of course, it is difficult to compare lake diving with sea or ocean diving with its rich underwater life and colorful reefs. However, passionate divers don’t miss the opportunity to explore the underwater mysteries of this unique mountain lake. The coastal underwater world of the lake is quite interesting and varied. Here you can see underwater rocks, shoals of fish, algae, sunken boats, etc. The diving season in Lake Sevan starts in July and ends in September.
Your trip to Sevan will be incomplete without հistorical and cultural sightseeing in the Sevan Peninsula and its neighborhood.
The medieval Sevanavank Monastery which is one of the most-visited sights in Armenia is located on a peninsula of Lake Sevan. Sevanavank Monastery played a crucial role in Armenian history during the battles. Its location and the fact that it was completely surrounded by water made it a good strategic shelter. Armenian King Ashot II (also known as Ashot Erkat, “Erkat” meaning “Iron”) won a decisive victory against the Arabs in the Battle of Sevan in 924-925, thereby restoring the kingdom of the Bagratuni dynasty.
The monastic complex comprises 2 churches - vivid pieces of early Armenian medieval architecture- Surp Arakelots (“Holy Apostles”) and Surp Astvatsatsin (“Holy Mother of God”). The inscription in one of the churches says that it was built by Armenian princess Mariam, daughter of King Ashot I, who was the founder of the Bagratuni dynasty.
Sevanavank is one of the 30 churches that Princess Mariam vowed to build in memory of her husband. However, the peninsula was a religious and educational center even centuries before the construction of Sevanavank Monastery churches. St. Harutyun Church was built by Gregory the Illuminator, the founder of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The church was presumably ruined by an earthquake in 995.
Vazgenian Theological Academy is also located on the peninsula, not too far away from Sevanavank Monastery. The Academy was founded in 1990 and named after his Holiness Vazgen A. It works under the direct supervision of the Mother See of Holy Ejmiatsin and belongs to the Armenian Apostolic Church.You cannot enter the academy, but you can notice the black building on your way up to the monastery.
According to the calculations of 2011, the population of the Gegharkunik region is 235 075 people. Besides Armenians, Yazidis, Kurds, and Russians live here.
The climate is cooler than in other parts of Armenia. The average annual temperature makes up 5 degrees Celsius. In January the temperature might reach minus 6 degrees Celsius and go as high as 16 degrees in July. In general, the weather is windy. The wind is especially strong in winter.
Sevanavank is monastery complex on a peninsula of Lake Sevan which is located in Gegharkunik region. According to the Armenian historians, Gregory Enlightener was founded the first two churches in 305Read More