Area: 4058 km 2
Administrative Center: Gavar
Distance from Yerevan to Gavar: 98 km
Studded with mountains and the sun-kissed shores of Lake Sevan, Gegharkunik is enticing with a rich palette of history, culture and natural beauty. It is situated in the eastern part of Armenia, rising from the Marsik valley Mount Azhdahak at 3598 meters.
The administrative center of the region, Gavar, is an important industrial center of Sevan basin, situated in the eastern slopes of Geghama mountain range. Many of the ancestors of the inhabitants of Gavar arrived in 1830 from the town of Bayazet of Western Armenia and in the place of historic Gavaravan established a settlement, aptly called New Bayazet. Despite its relatively modern rebirth, the center has an ancient past. Fabled monuments dating back to the Bronze Age adorn the region, a testimony to the presence of Armenians in the region for thousands of years.
For bird-watchers, Gegharkunik is a veritable treasure trove given the plethora of different kinds of birds in the region, including several loons, grebes, and the great cormorant, pelicans, herons and the famous Armenian Artsatapajl Voror. One could easily claim that although Armenia boasts literally hundreds of charming vista points and landscapes, nowhere will one find the spectacular scenery of Lake Sevan.
Martuni is the second largest urban center of the region and is famous for its highly developed fishing industry. The town is situated on the commercial crossroad between Syunik and Gegharkunik, not far from the historic town of Koti, dating back over a thousand years. The fields of Masrik are famous for its gold mines that have attracted enthusiasts since ancient times.
The Gegharkunik landscape is dotted with impressive churches. Off the main road leading to the town of Kamo is the church of Hairavank (9-10 century). This edifice is a perfect example of the harmony of architecture and nature. Northeast of Gavar, on the shores of Lake Sevan is Noradouz, famous for the largest collection of stone-crosses (khachkars) in Armenia, some of which date as far back as the 7th century.
At the crossroads of civilizations, Armenia has historically been at the center of many international commerce and military routes, including the renowned Silk Road connecting China to Europe. Caravanseraies, the rest-stops of antiquity, were a welcome sight to traders, travelers, and explorers of old. These architectural monuments of Medieval Armenia are a testimony to those legendary times of adventure. One of the better preserved is the Selim Caravanserai, built in 1332 and situated high in the Selim (Sulema) mountain pass at 2410 m above the sea level, on the road connecting the historical regions of Gegharkunik and Vayots Dzor.