Photographer's Note

From Garni we went to Lake Sevan and Sevanavank, another monastery built in a breathtaking place.
Lake Sevan is one of the largest fresh-water high-altitude lakes in the world, at the altitude of 1,900 m above sea level.

In 1910 Soukias Manasserian, one of the civil engineers behind the interventions that caused the Aral Sea disaster,[8] published a study Evaporating billions and stagnation of the Russian Capital, which suggested the lowering of the lake's surface to 45 metres and the use of the water for irrigation and hydroelectricity.

In Joseph Stalin's era the plan was slightly modified: the water level would be reduced by 55 metres (5 metres more than suggested by Manasserian), the perimeter would shrink to 80 km and the volume to only 5 km³. Nut and oak trees would be planted on newly acquired land, and introducing some trout species into the remainder of the lake would increase fishery production tenfold.
An ecological disaster like in the Aral Sea was avoided when the Stalinist era ended in 1956 and the project and its consequences were reviewed thoroughly. As there were difficulties with planting oaks and nut trees, and with fishery, the Sevan Committee was established with the mission "to raise the level as much as possible". In 1962 the water level stabilized at 18 metres below the original level, but two years later the lake started to "bloom" due to eutrophic algae.
Sevanavank is a monastic complex located on a peninsula at the northwestern shore of Lake Sevan. Initially the monastery was built at the southern shore of a small island. After the artificial draining of a lakethe island transformed into a peninsula.
According to an inscription in one of the churches, the monastery of Sevanavank was founded in 874 by Princess Mariam, the daughter of Ashot I (who became a king a decade later).
The monastery was strict as it was mainly intended for those monks from Etchmiadzin who had sinned. Jean-Marie Chopin, a French explorer of the Caucasus, visited there in 1830 and wrote of a regimen restraining from meat, wine, youth or women. (After Wikipedia)

As often, two other nice views of the lake and monastery in Workshops.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13011 W: 139 N: 33658] (153620)
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