Sevanavank peninsula is situated some kilometres from Sevan town. It used to be an island, but after an industrial project during Soviet times the water level of the lake dropped almost 20 metres.
Here you will find the monastery Sevanavank. From the monastery I walked to the top of the peninsula. While I was taking pictures I noticed there was a fence and a couple of soldiers further away. One soldier started to walk towards me. A bit afraid it was forbidden to take photos here and that he was going to take my camera (there was no sign, but no other people) I slowly started to walk back, stopping to take pictures in the other direction. The soldier stopped, but watched me go away. I then remembered that behind the hill was the villa of the Armenian president.
Along the south side of the peninsula there is a beach. I had heard it cost money to swim there, but I didn’t see any signs of that.
Going back from the restaurant to my hut in the evening I passed two beach discos. There didn’t look to be so much more entertainment around, and on the dance floor were people in all ages and they all seemed to have fun. There was luckily no discos at Flamingo Beach and the sounds from the other beaches was not too loud.
There was no entrance fee to the discos.
Sevanavank is situated high up on Sevan Peninsula, 6 km from Sevan town. From a car park stairs are leading up to the churches. You will pass some khatchkars on your way up, and a tomb of a 20th century navy captain. The first church you will come to is the smaller Arakelots Church (Holy Apostles), which was not open when I visited. The second church is Astvatsatsin Church (Holy Mother of God). In the courtyard of this church there are a lot of khatchkars. Queen Mariam had the churches built in 874.
I visited on the 1st of August, a time when many Armenians come to Sevan on holiday and thus there were more visitors at Sevanavank than I have seen at any other monastery in Armenia. The churches are not the greatest ones, but the view over the lake is lovely.
Sevan town is situated about 60 km from Yerevan, not just by the shores of the lake, but a couple of kilometres inland. Since Armenia got independent about a third of the population has left the town, which now has got a population of 10 000 people. The town doesn’t look very pretty. There are a lot of apartment blocks built in the pink coloured stone so common in Armenia.
Along the main road there are several money changing offices and banks, grocery stores, a market and a post office.
I walked the 6 km from Sevan Peninsula in to town as there was no public transport and took a taxi back. The minibus from Yerevan to Sevan will stop in town. If your plans are to go from Yerevan only to Sevanavank it might be better to take a marshrutka going further, which will pass the peninsula.
Lake Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia, covering about 5% of the country’s area. Sevan is situated at 1900 metres above sea level and winters here are long and cold, but during the summer months lots of people come here for holiday to swim.
I stayed by the beach at the busy Sevan Peninsula, but there are more quiet places. When I was in Dilijan I met a couple who had spent some days in Chorja on the north side of the lake. It is a calm, relaxing place and they recommended it. I have heard the north side has cleaner water than the south coast, where there are some factories.
Sevanavank is a church complex along the shores of Lake Sevan. It consists of two churches: the Church of S. Astvatsatsin (Mother of God) and the smaller Church of S. Arakelots (Holy Apostles).
The complex was founded in 874 AD by Princess Mariam, who was the wife of Prince Vasak of Kapur and the daughter of the Bagratuni King Asot, and for a long time it had been a priviledged pilgrimage destination.