8 March, 2018 Gegharkunik Region 4260 Views

Lake Sevan

This “Blue Pearl” is a unique reservoir of freshwater both for Armenia and the Transcaucasia, and is the world’s second largest alpine lake, ca. 2000 meter above sea level.
The total surface area of its basin is about 5,000 km2, which makes up ca.5% of Armenia's territory. 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.

Exploitation of Sevan Lake in the Soviet period
Sevan was heavily exploited for irrigation of the Ararat plain and hydroelectric power generation during the Soviet period. Consequently, its water level decreased by around 20m and its volume reduced by more than 40%. 2 underground tunnels were later built to divert water from highland rivers, which halted its decline and its level began rising. Before human intervention dramatically changed the lake's ecosystem, the lake was 95m deep, covered an area of 1,416 km2 (5% of Armenia's entire area).

Sevan National Park
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.

Gull Island
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. 
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’. 

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