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The churches of Surp Arakelots (left) and Surp Astvatsatsin.

Location: Sevan Peninsula, Lake Sevan, Armenia

9th century

Sevanavank (Armenian: Սևանավանք; meaning Sevan Monastery) is a monastic complex located on a peninsula at the northwestern shore of Lake Sevan in the Gegharkunik Province of Armenia, not far from the town of Sevan. Initially the monastery was built at the southern shore of a small island.

Due to easier accessibility (once it became a peninsula), good highway and railway connections with the Armenian capital Yerevan, a well-developed tourist industry in the nearby town of Sevan, and its picturesque location (although less picturesque than it was before the lake level drop), Sevanavank is one of the most visited tourism sights in Armenia.

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). At the time, Armenia was still struggling to free itself from Arab rule.

The two churches, Surp Arakelots meaning the “Holy Apostles” and Surp Astvatsatsin meaning the “Holy Mother of God”, are both cruciform plan structures with octagonal tambours. Both are quite similar in appearance. Adjacent are the ruins of a gavit whose roof was originally supported by six wooden columns. Some of the remains of the gavit and its columns can be seen in the Yerevan Museum of History.

Reconstruction and restoration efforts took place from 1956 to 1957.