Lake Arpi is located in the Shirak region of Armenia, on the Ashotsk plateau, on the border with Turkey and Georgia, at an altitude of 2023 m above sea level. It used to be a small lake with an area of 4.5 square kilometers and depth of 1.6 m. The water in the lake was forming from nearby mountain springs, streams and melted snow.
Due to the intensive grazing of livestock by locals, Lake Arpi and the surrounding areas were threatened with drought. Therefore, during 1946-1951, the lake was artificially enlarged and turned into a reservoir. After that, the area of the lake increased to 22 square kilometers, the volume of water became 100 cubic meters, and the average depth in the lake reached 4 meters.
The Akhuryan River originates from Lake Arpi. After the lake was artificially enlarged, it became the second biggest water basin after Sevan. The water in the lake is used for irrigation and for generating energy.
“Lake Arpi” National Park
The Basin of Lake Arpi and the Javakhk-Shirak plateau are distinguished by particular ecosystem and biodiversity. Therefore, to protect this area, the “Lake Arpi” National Park was created in 2009. More than 140 bird species were recorded on the Armenian part of the Javakhk-Shirak plateau. Many of these bird species nest there. In the national park, near Lake Arpi, there is the world’s largest colony of Armenian gulls. It is also the only habitat in Armenia for Dalmatian pelicans. The Dalmatian pelican is a breeding migrant of the pelican family. Its distinctive features are curly nape feathers and a bright orange gular pouch. Dalmatian pelican is registered in the Red Book of Armenia.
Several species of birds that nest here are included in the IUCN Red List.
The national park is home to 30 species of mammals. Also, under the protection of the “Lake Arpi” National Park is the Darevsky’s viper, which can be found only here.
The flora in the national park is also diverse. More than 670 species of plants are found in the territory of the park. Those include the Orchis, Gladiolus, Iris, Poppy, Lily, etc., and 22 endemic species.
In winter, Lake Arpi freezes completely. On the shore of the lake there is the Pahakn village, where the lowest temperature in Armenia was recorded (-46).
The Amasia region was part of the First Republic of Armenia and Soviet Armenia due to remarkable circumstances.
The Turks claimed a territory that they called Aghbaba. However they had to cede this territory of 1000 square meters to the Armenians. This was due to the fact that the Russian Bolsheviks and Turkish Kemalists agreed that Surmalu should go to the Turks, but in return they should give up the Batumi region. The area of Batumi region was smaller than Surmalu. In order to compensate this difference, the Turks ceded Amasia to the Armenians.
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