Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Lake Sevan

Lake Sevan is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world and sits in the center of the Republic of Armenia. We stopped by Sevanavank, a monastery situated atop a peninsula that juts into the lake from its western shores. The peninsula was an island until the 1930s, when overuse of the lake eventually depleted its waters, lowering the water level by 19.5 meters and making a peninsula out of the former island. I ate some of the famous Ishkan Trout, found only in Sevan. Today, the trout is an endangered species; the trout we were served was a legal, farm-raised species.

We drove through Ijevan and enjoyed a stiff cup of Armenian coffee before departing the city where the Soviet Army first entered Armenia in 1920. Passing close to the Azerbaijan border on our way, we saw some burned-out villages that had been Azeri exclaves in Armenia, bringing to mind the war that shook this idyllic landscape and did not now seem so distant.

We crossed the border into the Republic of Georgia just after a motorcade that included the Georgian Defense Minister (who was on his way to visit his Armenian counterpart) crossed in the opposite direction.

Armenia-Azerbaijan border