Sevanavank 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. After the artificial draining of Lake Sevan, which started in the era of Joseph Stalin, the water level fell about 18-20 metres, and the 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 the Armenian King Ashot Erkat.
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. Another explorer visited the monastery in 1850 and wrote of how manuscripts were still being copied manually.
The two churches of the complex, Surp Arakelots meaning the “Holy Apostles” and Surp Astvatsatsin meaning the “Holy Mother of God”, are both cruciform plan structures with octagonal tambours. The two are quite similar to each other 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.