Gegharkunik Marz Travel Guide

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Noratus Cemetery - row of khachkars

Noratus Cemetery - row of khachkars

(c) Raffi Kojian - Armeniapedia.org

Gegharkunik Marz is the area including and surrounding Lake Sevan, the massive alpine lake covering 5% of Armenia's surface.  On those magical days when the water is a bright turquoise, and you're by a white sand beach, you can be fooled into thinking you're in the Caribbean somewhere, but only so long as you keep your toes out of the cold water, which though refreshing on a hot summer day, will shatter any tropical fantasies you may have held.

The most popular area is that closest to the highway approaching from Yerevan, around the peninsula with Sevanavank Monastery on it.  Known as the island in Armenian, the peninsula indeed was an island until Stalin decided to lower the level of the water in the lake.

Sevanavank Monastery, Hayravank Monastery and the large khachkar (cross stone) cemetary in Noratus are the main attractions in the area, though there are other minor sites and medium sized towns such as Kavar, Martuni and Vardenis.  The monasteries of Makenyats and Vanevan are on the south end of the lake, nearer to Vardenis.

From Vardenis there is a bad dirt road that can take you across Kelbajar (no petrol along the way!) to Karabakh.

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November 12, 2008 new by raffikojian

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