Lake Sevan

This “Blue Pearl” is a unique reservoir of freshwater both for Armenia and the Transcaucasus, and is one of the biggest and highest freshwater lakes in the world.

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Lake Sevan

Despite being one of a few landlocked countries, Armenia is host to the majestic Lake Sevan. Lake Sevan is the world’s second largest alpine lake covering an area of nearly 1,300 square kilometers.

This “Blue Pearl” is a unique reservoir of freshwater both for Armenia and the Transcaucasus, and is one of the biggest and highest freshwater lakes in the world.

The lake spreads its waters along the base of the lofty Geghama Mountains bordered by Sevana, Vardenis, and Areguni chains. A total of 28 rivers flow into Lake Sevan and only the Hrazdan River flows out.

The lake catchment makes up 1/6 of the total territory of the country. In 1978 this natural heritage was assigned the status of National Park to protect the fresh water reserves, fish stock, bird assemblages and historical-architectural complexes, and to regulate tourism and recreation activities.

The area has also been declared a Ramsar site and recognized as a wetland of international importance. Today, Lake Sevan and its surrounding wetlands serve as a stopover point for many migratory waterbirds and shorebirds from their lengthy journey during spring and fall migration. In winter, flocks of swans, cormorants, herons, egrets, and a high diversity of wader species choose the lake as their wintering habitat.

Over 260 bird species have been observed in the area since the early 20th century. The Lake Sevan National Park incorporates a number of strict reserves and reservations. Norashen Reserve was established to protect a unique and well-known breeding ground of Armenian Gulls (Larus armenicus) - ‘Gull Island’. The colony of gulls boasts one of the largest in the entire Caucasus and the world.

Despite the fact that Norashen Reserve is known for its legendary Gull Island, other sought-after species that can be encountered here: Great Cormorant, Glossy Ibises, Black crowned Night-herons, Squacco and Little Egrets have reappeared in dense stands of sea buckthorn on Gull Island after an absence of 30 years.

Small groups of migrating geese, Common Shelduck and other ducks can often be observed during periods of spring and fall passage. Many diving ducks such as Common and Red-crested Pochards are seen flying over the area, occasionally stopping for rest. Flocks composed of hundreds of Garganeys and Common Teals also stop to rest before their journey further south.

Lichk Reserve, which is a pair of small lakes fed by a river, is another site at Lake Sevan with high concentrations of water and wetland dependent birds.

Covered in dense stands of aquatic vegetation, Lichk offers excellent opportunities to many waterbirds and shorebirds as a breeding, foraging and stopover site. Coots and divers such as Common and Red crested Pochards breed here. A good number of herons, egrets, cormorants and waders such as Common Snipe and Great Sandpiper are regular visitors and even remain into the winter.

 


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    How to reach Lake Sevan is about 1 hour northeast of Yerevan. Take the M-4 highway and drive for 63.5km and you will reach the Lake Sevan.

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