The city of Sevan in Armenia: what to see in Sevan, what is it famous for and how to get there

Sevan is a modest city in Armenia near a stunning lake

Sevan is a modest city in Armenia near a stunning lake

Armenian Sevan was once called in Russian – Yelenovka. In honor of Elena Pavlovna Romanova, the wife of the brother of Emperor Nicholas I. The fact is that the city was founded Molokan settlers - followers of one of the movements of spiritual Christianity. They considered it a sin to eat pork, drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, and at the same time drink milk during Lent. Therefore, or not, in the Russian Empire they were classified as “especially harmful heretics,” and the authorities were only too happy to send the infidels away from the capital. They were not at a loss and settled in Armenia in a very picturesque place on the shores of Lake Sevan. The Molokans performed the baptism ceremony in water, so the presence of a reservoir nearby was an important point.

Today about 23,000 people live in Sevan. Non-smoking Molokans scattered around the world, and ironically, during the Soviet years, a tobacco factory was built here. There are other industries in the city, but primarily there is a focus on tourism. People not only from Armenia, but also from other countries are attracted here by the pearl of this region - the azure Lake Sevan, which is located just 200 meters away.

In summer, thousands of guests come to Sevan. The local nature is extremely picturesque and diverse due to the volcanic origin of the surrounding landscape. Around the city lie endless steppes, smoothly turning into alpine meadows, mountain forests and majestic ridges covered with snow. A national park with unique flora and fauna is located nearby.


  1. How to get to Sevan
    1. Automobile
    2. Taxi
    3. Electric train
    4. Minibuses
  2. What to see in Sevan
    1. Lake Sevan
    2. Sevanavank Monastery
    3. Hayravank Monastery
    4. Noratus Cemetery
    5. Sevan whitefish

How to get to Sevan


Distance from Yerevan to Lake Sevan – about 70 kilometers. It takes a little over an hour to get there by car. The road is of high quality, without holes or patches: obviously, the authorities are keeping an eye on it. If you have a small car with a consumption of 8 liters per 100 km, then getting to Sevan on 95 gasoline will cost you about 3,000 drams one way. Many tourists prefer to rent a car for a trip to Sevan. This can be done, for example, through the service Move2Car.


By taxi, depending on the class of the car, you can get there for 13,000 – 17,000 drams. Use GG or Yandex.Go services.

Electric train

The Yerevan-Shorzha-Yerevan train is designed for those who get up with the roosters. It departs from the main railway station in Yerevan (80 Tigran Mets Ave.) on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8:30 am. Travel time is 2 hours 13 minutes. The fare is 1,500 drams. Returns return at 17:59, costs 100 drams cheaper, but also takes 23 minutes longer. Find more information on the official website South Caucasus Railway.


You can also get from Yerevan to Sevan by minibus or bus, which depart from the Northern Bus Station. Travel time is about an hour and a half, and the fare is about 1,000 drams. They don’t have a clear schedule; they depart as soon as they are full.

An alternative is to take a minibus from the Yeritasardakan metro station. When you exit, turn left and you will immediately see five gazelles. They are not signed in any way, the stop also has no identification signs - contact the drivers, they will tell you which car will go next.

The journey will cost 700 drams one way. You must pay upon exit in cash. There is no need to keep an eye on the stops, Sevan is the last stop. To make the most of the scenery on the road, sit on the driver's side.

What to see in Sevan

The city is an important industrial point in Armenia due to the presence of a number of enterprises and its location at the crossroads of important road and railway routes. It is also developing as a tourist destination: people come here to swim in the lake, visit Armenian monasteries and try local fish.

Lake Sevan

200 meters from the city of Sevan lies the lake of the same name, which constantly changes color. Due to cleanliness, transparency and an area of 1240 sq. kilometers, it easily replaces the sea for Armenians. Resorts, water parks and other facilities have been built around, which attract thousands of local residents and visitors to the country during the hot summer months. In July-August, the water temperature here rises to 25 degrees, so you can often see a picture typical of resorts in the Krasnodar region, when there are no free sun loungers on the beach.

We dedicated to this legendary Armenian sea and its beaches big article.

Photo:; Vyacheslav Mitusov

Sevanavank Monastery

The most famous landmark of Sevan is the Sevanavank Monastery on the northwestern shore of the lake. It is part of the UNESCO cultural heritage, so tourists come here from all over the world.

The monastery was originally built on an island, but when the water level dropped during the Soviet years, the island was connected to the mainland by an isthmus. It is believed that St. Harutyun Church was founded here by Gregory the Illuminator in 305. The monks who settled here in the 8th century built a chapel and cells. Thanks to the favorable position of the island, their number increased, and in 874, Princess Mariam of Syunik founded the monastery.

Apparently, it was the monks who gave Sevan its name. According to legend, the Armenians of Van, who lived near Lake Van, which is now Turkish, after going through a grueling journey as refugees, settled near an unnamed lake, associating it with their native and lost one. But the local cold and harsh climate was not to their liking and, remembering the soft nature of their region, the Armenians exclaimed: “Es inch sev Van?”, which translated: “What is this black Van?”

Only two of the four black tuff temples from the monastery have survived to this day: Surb Arakelots and Surb Astvatsatsin. In addition to them, here you can see the foundation of the third church of Surb Harutyun, the ruins of the vestibule, multiple khachkars and tombstones, the remains of the monastery creamery and monastic cells.

Sevanavank is an active monastery, with a theological seminary named after Vazgen I. The churches regularly hold services where you can hear the singing of the Sevanavan choir. Newlyweds also come here for weddings and photo sessions against the backdrop of the lake.

Visiting the monastery is free. You can only spend money on numerous souvenirs sold at the flea market located near the monastery. They also sell paintings by local artists and offer to take pictures with pigeons. Along the way you will definitely meet sellers of church candles. But keep in mind that they can be purchased much cheaper in the monastery itself.

Not far from the monastery there is a restaurant where they serve shish kebab from whitefish and Sevan trout. True, the prices here are several times higher. Also along the way and from the height of the monastery you will see the Writers' Union Rest House - an unusual building in the Art Nouveau style. We wrote about her here.

The easiest way to get to the monastery from the city of Sevan is by taxi – 15 minutes. At the minibus stop you will see many drivers who will help you with this. The trip will cost approximately 1200 drams. With Yandex.Go it will be 300 drams cheaper.

Some zealous travelers on the forums suggest walking to the monastery. Here, take into account the condition of your joints and knees - the journey will take about an hour and a half along a dusty road, and there are also steps leading to the monastery.

Photo:; Dyagileva Yulia

Hayravank Monastery

Outside the city, on the way to Gavar, on the western shore of Lake Sevan there is another monastery - Hayravank, built around the same time as Sevanavank. The monastery is located on a hill above the lake, offering a beautiful view. Many tourists love it more than the popular Sevanavank for the absence of crowds of other tourists, souvenir shops and other bustle.

Hayravank Monastery - this is a functioning church. Very ascetic, everything is in the tradition of Armenian churches. Just stones and narrow holes in the dome and walls for lighting. No luxury. The main thing here is communication with God.


Noratus Cemetery

Not far from Hayravank is the village of Noratus with the largest ancient cemetery of unique khachkars (cross stones) - memorable creations of Armenian stonemasons. The cemetery dates back to the 13th century. Like all Armenian cemeteries, it is open, bright, and you can walk around it. In general, the ancient Armenians were not forbidden to walk on gravestones in the ground. Moreover, the graves of prominent church figures and heads of families were placed directly on the floor at the entrance to the church, so that through contact with the feet of believers they could participate in divine services, and people also remembered the deceased.

Photo: Nare Gevorgyan

Sevan whitefish

Coming to Sevan, tourists often look for where to taste the famous Sevan whitefish - the main Armenian fish. In its own way, it can also be considered a landmark of these regions. Fillet and tender meat have excellent taste. This product is juicy, full of beneficial microelements and rich in protein.

In the city of Sevan and in restaurants near the lake of the same name, whitefish is served everywhere. But to enjoy this fish to the fullest, it is important that it is cooked expertly. Here is a list of places where visitors rated whitefish 10 out of 10:

1) Restaurant "Tsovatsots"

This cozy restaurant has a large room for 80 people, as well as private gazebos and booths. The interior is designed in ancient Armenian style, and in front of the restaurant there is a beach for guests who want to swim. The establishment is famous for its excellent Sevan whitefish shashlik and crayfish kebab. However, this is not limited to the restaurant’s large menu, which contains many Armenian dishes and salads. It is interesting that the prices of the establishment surprise with their restraint and affordability.

2) Restaurant "Semoi mot" translated as “U Semo”

In terms of popularity, the fish restaurant “U Semo” is a clear favorite among all the coastal restaurants of Lake Sevan. Therefore, during the season there is practically no free space here, and we recommend booking a table in advance. Here are the phone numbers: +374 77 858040, +374 26 160002.

In this restaurant you have the opportunity to try a variety of dishes prepared from local fish varieties - especially whitefish and trout. Friendly and hospitable staff will help you with your choice.

Visitors to the Semoi Mot restaurant are attracted not only by delicious food, but also by an amazing view of the lake. In summer you can sit in the gazebos, which are located directly near the shore, and enjoy the clean, cool air.

3) Restaurant complex-motel "Gagari Mot"

Lula, grilled fish, warm vegetable salad - everything is delicious here. At the same time, tourists note a pleasant price-quality ratio.

4) Hotel restaurant "Avan Marak Tsapatah"

High stone vaults and a fireplace with a live fire will allow guests to breathe a touch of comfort. Large arched windows make the room bright. The aroma of delicious food and oriental spices will whet the appetite of everyone without exception.


The city of Sevan is definitely worthy of the attention of tourists. Visiting the sights and having a whitefish lunch won’t take much time, so we also suggest going to Dilijan, Hrazdan or already mentioned Gavar.

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Sevan is a modest city in Armenia near a stunning lake
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