For as long as anyone can remember, men have stood by the side of the highway that runs through the village of Tsovagyugh with their open hands held apart to indicate that they are selling fish. The fish are caught in nearby Lake Sevan, a vast, freshwater lake at an elevation of 6,200 feet. Passersby stop to see the fish and prices, and occasionally carry a little piscine souvenir from the lake with them as they drive along the interstate. Trout, whitefish, and crabs are typically on offer.
When the weather gets unbearably cold, the fish sellers of Tsovagyugh come up with an ingenious fix to continue plying their trade. As the humans take shelter nearby, professional-looking mannequins take their place by the highway. Some of them are dressed in suits, arms spread out just like their human counterparts. One of these mannequins was even spotted dressed in a Santa Claus outfit.
The local government has, from time to time, issued a ban on fishing in Lake Sevan to address concerns of overfishing, particularly of the Sevan trout. Local fishermen, who have a long history of making their livelihood from the lake, have protested these bans and the roadside trade of fish-selling has continued with the occasional assistance of a mannequin vendor.
Know Before You Go
Driving along the M4 highway from the shores of Lake Sevan in the direction of Dilijan, there is a concentration of these fish sellers. The last seller on your left before reaching the popular Tsovagyugh Supermarket has a mannequin you can check out, along with the fish, while you have a rest stop.