So, today we are going to explore the Armenian seaside! Yes, I know. I know. Armenia is a landlocked country. The nearest seaside is in Georgia. But as soon as you get to the Lake Sevan shores, you forget what the maps tell.
Lake Sevan is is the largest lake in Armenia and the Caucasus region. It is one of the largest fresh-water high-altitude lakes in the world. The total surface area of its basin is about 5,000 km2, the lake itself is 940 km2, and the volume is 34.0 bln cubic metres. It is fed by 28 rivers. Isn’t this gross?
As you can imagine Sevan is one of the most popular weekend escape destinations for people of Yerevan. One hour ride and you are already there. Sun is shining, wind in your face. It gets really windy there sometimes indeed. It’s not just a lake. It’s not just a large lake. It’s a large lake in the mountains, 1,916 m above sea level. The water might feel a bit cold but you can swim there. Checked. Also, local fish is delicious. All of that is very true but sitting on the shore feels a bit boring to me. That’s why I’m actually not going there as often as other people do. There is one story I have to share with you though.
Once upon a time Lake Sevan impressed me. As some of you might know, in summer 2012 I participated in Armenian Volunteer Corps programme which magically made me eligible to participate in Birthright Armenia Saturday trips all over the country. Of course, we went to Sevan once. Everyone does, right? But we didn’t spend much time on a beach. We ate some tasteful fish but it wasn’t that important either.
We saw Lake Sevan from a boat. And it wasn’t just a boat, it was Cilicia, replica of a 13th Century Armenian merchant vessel. The captain Karen Balayan took care of us and shared some amazing stories from the cruises. He also told us the story of the ship and its reconstruction. To make this dream come true Ayas Nautical research club was founded in 1985. It took the Ayas activists almost twenty years but they made it eventually. In 2004 Cilicia set sails in the Georgian port of Poti and sailed medieval trade routes around Europe finishing in England. Sevan isn’t a part of any medieval trade route but it was an exciting journey as well. And a great oppotunity to take some nice photos!