The name Sevan (Arm: Սևան) can refer to either Lake Sevan, or a town located near the lake with the same name. Both are located in the Gegharkunik Marz of Armenia. The town has nearly 20,000 inhabitants. It is also a popular name amongst Armenians, given to either males or females.
The huge mountain lake takes up 5% of Armenia's surface area and is 2,000 meters above sea level. On a clear and sunny day, the water is a deep turquoise color. Maxim Gorky once said that the waters were like a piece of the sky that had descended to the earth among the mountains. The shores are white sand and most beaches are uncrowded. The monastery peninsula is the most popular spot, and is the closest place to visit as well. The water is about 18-22 Celsius in the summer, a very refreshing swim after a hot week in Yerevan. It is a freshwater lake, so one does not have any salt residue after swimming. There are fish in the lake, but the regulations for fishing are unknown.
On the peninsula there is the monastery of Sevanavank, consisting of two rather rough churches. It is worthwhile to climb up the many stairs for the view and the green khachkars. They were carved from a plentiful local green stone and stand out from the others which are all made of tuff.
There are a number of small restaurants along the north and south beaches of the peninsula, and one on the south near the just west of the main dock called Haykakan Khohanots (Armenian Kitchen) that makes very hard to find and delicious Dzuk Kabob (Fish Kabob). There is ample parking on the peninsula for all attractions, with picknic areas all over.
There are places to stay all over the West and North shores. One of the nicer places is the Sevan Hotel at the very north end, just past the massive remains of an unfinished Soviet construction. On the East shore is the Painter's House at the tip of the opposite penninsula near Shorjha, and just south of that is probably the nicest beach on the lake. Kilometers long, nice waters, and some pine trees for shade behind them. It is perfect for camping or getting away from the crowd on the West shores. (About 40 minutes of extra driving down from the north, very bad road if you drive up from the south.) If you go down the western shore you will reach Hayravank, a nicer monastery which very few visit. A bit further lays Noratus with a nice old church, and old basilica ruins, and more importantly the largest khachkar cemetery in the country.
Until 1935, the town was known as Elenovka, named after the wife of Czar Nicholas I, and was founded in 1842 by exiled Russian schismatics. The town remained all Russian until the end of the 19th century. Sevan is known for its 1,000-bed psychiatric hospital. One kilometer north is the cyclopean fortress of Metsep. On a hill just south of the village of Tsamakaberd, just east of Sevan, is a cyclopean fortress.
Source: Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook
The peninsula was an island until Stalin decided to drain a lot of the water from the lake and the water level dropped more than 30 meters.The courtyard had some interesting green khatchkars. They were carved from a plentiful local green stone and stood out from the others across Armenia which are all made of tuff. The altar is one of the nicest in Armenia, and this is one of the few active monasteries in Armenia.
On October 12, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) celebrated the completion of the installation of a central heating system at the town's hospital. The organization's Mission Deputy Director, Karl Fickenscher, the governor of Gegharkunik, and the city mayor participated in the ceremony. Many other city officials, numerous hospital representatives, and members of Advanced Engineering Associates International were also in attendance.
The project was funded by the U.S. government and implemented by Advanced Engineering Associates International. Their support has provided the hospital with a modern and efficient gas heating system. The total cost of the project was $86,773, with 70% of the funding having been provided by USAID, and 30% by the hospital.