Welcome to Lake Sevan
The level of the lake fell when Sevan’s outlet, the Hrazdan River, was tapped for hydroelectric plants and irrigation in the 1950s and it is now about 20m lower than its original natural level. Other Soviet plans to drain the lake down to one-sixth of its size thankfully went nowhere. The retreating waters uncovered forts, houses and artefacts dating back some 2000 years, and made Sevan Island a peninsula.
The exposed land has been designated the Sevan National Park, although some of it is disappearing again as conservationists have convinced the government of the need to raise the level of the lake. Since 2002 it has risen more than 2m, an environmental achievement that has led to cleaner water and more fish.
Though the natural landscape is beautiful, most of the man-made structures around it are badly maintained eyesores. Armenians with money head to the Georgian beaches for their summer vacations, leaving Lake Sevan to campers, groups of Russian package tourists and noisy day-trippers. The quality of the resorts on the western side of the lake is universally low, and it's difficult to reach the only quality resort on the eastern edge due to its potholed highway. Fortunately, the quality of the highway on the eastern edge is good.