The Armenian Princess Who 'Cried A Lake'

The tears of a heartbroken woman are a powerful thing, but did you know that they might fill an entire lake (via Art-A-Tsolum)? In fact, tears supposedly filled one of the largest lakes in all of the country of Georgia (via AirGeo); at least that's how the legend of Paravani Lake (aka Parvana Lake) goes. You may have seen the viral TikTok that's been trending, which features an old Armenian cartoon with a grieving princess, frustrated and devastated by the difficulty of finding a worthy suitor before her father's untimely death. But we're going to dive a bit deeper (pun not intended).

It is just a legend, of course, but the mysterious lake — at 2,000 meters (about 6500 feet) above sea level, deep in the mountains — does hold some secrets. Divers and explorers tell of an ancient mound, deep beneath Paravani Lake's depths (per AirGeo), which makes a tale about a grieving princess a little more plausible.

The Story of Parvana

As summarized in the trending TikTok about the 1970 Armenian cartoon "Parvana" (via Armenian Cinema), legend states that an ancient king was dying, and to protect his only daughter after his death, he wished to marry her off to a worthy suitor (via Art-A-Tsolum). However, the princess needed to approve and be impressed by the potential suitor's talents. Naturally, a trial was held for her hand. Suitors came from all over, with many different talents — which can be seen in this full version of the cartoon (yes, we know it's not in English, but it's still really cool).

Some men came bearing brute strength. Another could eat his weight in food. A sorcerer even took the stage, almost winning the princess over with magical abilities. The only man who came closer was a hunter, yet the princess was still not fully impressed. That night, the hunter tried to create an inextinguishable fire to bring to the princess, to represent his inextinguishable love for her, but he was too late. The king died. Heartbroken, the princess left the castle and sobbed until she began to turn to stone. The hunter achieved his task, but he was too late. She was already gone, and her tears became what is now known as Paravani Lake.

About the lake

Deep in the Georgian mountains exists Paravani Lake (via AirGeo). Despite its shallow waters — at just 3 meters (about 10 feet) deep — the water is often muddy during the warmer months, and frozen during the colder months, so it's hard to see clearly all the way to the lakebed. Still, divers and explorers have discovered a testament to societies past buried here in the murky depths. What they've found, and what has now been researched, is a Bronze Age burial mound.

Researchers found a corridor entering the burial mound, where artifacts from around 400 to 300 B.C. were unearthed. Necessities like utensils and ceramics were found, and at the center of the mound is believed to be the burial site, but it cannot be reached (via While the overwhelming tears of a crying princess mourning her father's death is logically unlikely, it certainly allows the mind to wander (via Art-A-Tsolum).

Another princess, another lake

Oddly enough, there is a completely different story about a princess, a lake, a fire, and a suitor who was too late — also with Armenian origins, yet set in a different region (via Gugoco New York). The setting for this legend is Lake Van in modern day Turkey, which used to be a part of ancient Armenia. Surrounded by the lake is the island of Akhtamar, which shares its name with the legend.

As the story goes, Princess Tamar met a commoner in town, and they fell in love over their mutual passion for poetry. As is the case with most of these ancient tales, they were forbidden to marry, as they were not of the same social status. In secret, the commoner swam across the lake to the princess' island every night — guided by a fire she would light — to spend time with her. In different versions of the story, her father — the king — or nuns from the nunnery discover her one night (via YouTube), and put out her fire. With no light to guide him, the commoner drowned while screaming out, "Akh, Tamar!" (per Gugoco New York). While the lake is now within Turkey's borders, Armenia still hosts a statue of Tamar, holding a flame for her lover, standing on the shore of Lake Sevan in Armenia. Some still hear the commoner screaming in Lake Van to this day.