Sevanavank Travel Guide

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Harsnakar Hotel Beach

Harsnakar Hotel Beach

Sevanavank (Սևանավանք) is a monastery at the Lake Sevan, near the unattractive town Sevan (Սևան). As the lake area is a popular tourist destination (Armenia is a landlocked country), it's not too far from Yerevan and its lake shore location is beautiful, so it's very popular among tourists.

It was built in the 9th century soon after Armenia freed itself from the Arab rule. Initially it was built on an island and it was isolated and very strict, many monks from Echmiadzin who had sinned were sent here.

Now two small churches remain, the Sourb Arakelots (Holy Aposstoles) and Sourb Astvatsatsin (Holy mother of God). At the Stalin era the governments to drown the lake significantly. After Stalin's death the project was abandoned (and some tunnels supplyinfg water from central Armenia were constructed) but the level is still approx. 20m below the initial level. So the island was turned into a peninsula and the monastery is less romantic and less isolated as it used to be. The eastern part of the peninsula is closed as the president's residence is located there. As the area is a beach resort, dressing code is less strict, many visitors even appear to come right from a beach.

As usual there is no entry fee as such, visitors are only expected to buy and light some candles when they enter any of the two churches
To get to the Sevan town from Yerevan just take one of frequent buses departing from a stop near Yeritasardakan subway station. The ride costs 400 or 500 drams (depending if you encounter a "who's that singing ovr there" bus or a "marshrutka") nad takes approx. 1 hour at the main motorway between Yerevan and Georgia. There are also less frequent trains from Yerevan's northern (not the main!!!) Arabkir station. To rezurn to Yerevan go one or two blocks west from the point where you were dropped off until you see a bus or a van at a street on your left.

From the monastery you can take a taxi (anything over 1000AMD is a scam) or simply take a half an hour walk. From the bus station go one block south then turn eastwards and walk (meanwhile the road turns into an unpaved road) until you reach a 4 lane motorway. Turn left and walk along its right (eastern) side. Don't worry, the traffic is not so dense and the  footpassangers' lane is quite wide so you'll meet plenty of other footpassangers and even some fruit and souvenir stands.  When you see a sign (even in English) to the "peninsula" turn right and soon you'll reach the monastery.

There are plenty of hotels, restaurants and other tourist infrastructure at the lake shore but not in the Sevan town.

Don't forget, that the place is located approx. 2000m above sea level so be very careful abou the Sun. During the summer apply a good sunscreen and wear a hat.

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sevanavank

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April 22, 2005 new by qmetawz

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