Being the biggest lake in the Caucasus region makes it a very popular summer destination for Armenians. End of March was certainly not the best time to visit this lake high up at almost 2000m. Windswept, bare and snow-covered mountains in the distance did not allow any summerly feelings. Nevertheless the place was packed, mainly with Iranian tourists who literally let their hair down during those trips.
On a little peninsula, up on a tiny hill, sits – guess what – another small monastery, Sevanavank. The fact that this church once sat on an island tells the tragic story of the lake. Massive irrigation made the level of the water drop by 20 meters. This ecological disaster had a devastating impact on the eco-system and the quality of the water. Measures to repair that loss of water have been undertaken, but only two meters were regained over many years.
At the foot of the hill, souvenir shops and restaurants cater to large tourist groups.
While at Lake Sevan we decided to dash up to Dilijan in a taxi. Also very popular in the summer, when its fresh air and cooler temperature attract lots of vacationers, so hotels are plenty and even sanatoriums we spotted. Again, end of March with temperatures near zero it did not have much to offer except the excellent museum. A knowledgeable lady showed us around and explained the various style and painters. My favorite: the five paintings in the style of Armenian Socialist Realism.