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Lake Sevan is the crown jewel of Gegharkunik (Photo by Hrant Sahakyan, My Armenia Program)

Lake Sevan is the crown jewel of Gegharkunik (Photo by Hrant Sahakyan, My Armenia Program)

Gegharkunik 

This region includes all the territories around Lake Sevan, which is the third largest freshwater alpine lake in the world. The area around the lake is one of the busiest recreation areas in Armenia and a popular place for Armenians and tourists to visit. Gegharkunik is connected to the Vayots Dzor region by the Selim mountain pass—the site of Orbelian’s 14th-century caravanserai, which served as an inn for Silk Road travelers through Armenia. The villages in Gegharkunik, and particularly in the Gavar district, still have traditional houses with hazarashen roofs. The recreational areas of ‚Äč‚ÄčLake Sevan and neighboring villages contain cozy guesthouses and restaurants where you may try typical local dishes, such as the whitefish and trout of Lake Sevan, Gavar kufta, arishta, harissa, salads and pan-fries of local edible plants collected from the mountains, and grilled and fried potatoes. Two special dishes are the tolma made of hemp puree and wheat, and fish kapama, which is cooked with thyme and tomato sauce. Halva with pokhindz and honey, as well as Gavar pakhlava, which is famous throughout Armenia, are a few favorite sweets.

Located on the bank of Lake Sevan, the Bronze Age fortress-town Lchashen is where archeologists found a rare four-wheeled wooden cart dating back to several millennia. In the Geghama Mountains you may see petroglyphs and vishapakar or dragon-stone monuments left by ancient people. Enthusiasts of medieval architecture may wish to visit the tenth-century Sevanavank, ninth-century Hayravank, and the late-medieval cemetery of Noratus with its high-art khachkars and carved tombstones.

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