The Mighty Mount Ararat 5137 m

There are a few particularly recognizable national symbols that unite all Armenians, and Mount Ararat ranks quite high on that list of symbols. Mount Ararat (Turkish: Ağrı Dağı), located in the far east of Turkey, offers us a view of the point where the borders of Turkey, Iran, and Armenia converge.

Ararat consists of two peaks, approximately 11 km apart. Mount Ararat, reaching 5163 m above sea level, is the highest peak in Turkey. Little Ararat rises in a smooth, steep, almost perfect cone at 3786 meters. Both Great and Little Ararat are products of eruptive volcanic activity. The snowy conical peak of Mount Ararat presents a magnificent sight. The only true glacier is found on the northern side of Mount Ararat, near its summit. The middle part of Ararat, ranging from 1500 to 3500 m, is covered with good pasture grass and some juniper; there, the local Kurdish population grazes their sheep. Most of Mount Ararat is devoid of trees, while Little Ararat has some birch groves. Despite abundant snow cover, Ararat still suffers from water scarcity.

Ararat is traditionally associated with the mountain on which Noah’s Ark landed. The name Ararat, as depicted in the Bible, is the Hebrew equivalent of Urardhu or Urartu, the Assyrian-Babylonian name of the kingdom located between the Aras and Upper Tigris rivers. Ararat is of world significance to Armenians, as they believe it to be the first landmass to emerge after the ark’s flood. Persian legend also mentions Ararat as the cradle of the human race. Before this, on the slope of Ararat high above the Aras plain, there was a village where Noah is traditionally believed to have built an altar and planted the first vineyard. Above this village, Armenians erected a monastery in memory of St. Jacob, who allegedly attempted to reach the summit of Mount Ararat several times but never succeeded. In 1840, a landslide destroyed the village, the monastery of St. Jacob, and the nearby chapel of St. Jacob, resulting in the deaths of several hundred villagers.

The first successfully documented ascent of Mount Ararat was made in 1829 by an expedition led by the German scholar Friedrich Parrot. He was accompanied by Khachatour Abovian, a resident of Yerevan known for his literary achievements and pioneering work in developing modern secular education in the native language of the Armenians of the Russian Empire. Since the first successful ascent of the mountain, Ararat has been visited by numerous explorers, some of whom claim to have observed remnants of the ark.

According to tradition, it is said that the ark still lies at the summit, but it is believed that no one should see it, as declared by God.

Would you like to embark on the quest for Noah’s Ark too? Then join us on the Ararat trekking expedition!