Mount Ararat

Mount Ararat is the tallest peak in modern Turkey. This snow-capped, dormant volcanic cone is located in the Province, near the northeast corner of Turkey, 16 km west of the Iranian and 32 km south of the Armenian border. in Turkish is said to be derived from Agir in Kurdish meaning fire [1], referring to Ararat being a volcano. But this derivation is uncertain, since there is no historical record of when the volcano was last active and which tribes lived in the vicinity at that time.

Technically, Ararat is a stratovolcano, formed of lava flows and pyroclastic ejecta. A smaller (3,896 m) cone, Mount “Sis”, also known as “Little Ararat”, rises from the same base, southeast of the main peak (Armenians sometimes call the higher peak “Masis”). The lava plateau stretches out between the two pinnacles. The last activity on the mountain was a major earthquake in July 1840 centered around the Ahora Gorge, a northeast trending chasm that drops 1,825 metres (6,000 ft) from the top of the mountain.

The Book of Genesis identifies the “mountains of Ararat” as the resting place of Noah’s Ark after the Great Flood described there. The asteroid 96205 Ararat is named in the mountain’s honour.


  • 1 History
  • 2 Symbolism
  • 3 The Ararat anomaly
  • 4 Elevation
  • 5 Climbing Mount Ararat
  • 6 References in Art and Literature
  • 7 Sources
  • 8 See also
  • 9 External links


Over the centuries, the area has been contested territory between several states. The first unified state to rule the region surrounding the mountain was ancient Urartu. After the decline of Urartu following invasions by Scythians and the Medes in 585 BC, a semi-independent Armenian state emerged under the rule of the Orontid Dynasty, the members of which frequently intermarried with their overlords, the Achaemenid Persians. After the defeat of the Achaemenids by Alexander the Great in 330 BC, the Orontids gained autonomy, albeit under Macedonian influence.

Antiochus the Great briefly subjugated Armenia in 201 BC ending Orontid rule in region. After the defeat of Antiochus in the Battle of Magnesia, a new independent Armenian Kingdom emerged in 198 BC that lasted for over six centuries until 428, briefly being annexed to the Roman Empire by Trajan from 114 to 118. Following the partition of the Armenian Kingdom between the Roman Empire and Sassanid Persia in 428, the region was a constant battleground between the two, and afterwards between the Arab Caliphate and the Byzantine Empire.

Ararat was retaken by a new Armenian Kingdom under the Bagratuni Dynasty early in the ninth century A.D., which was annexed by Byzantium in 1045, which then lost the territory to the Seljuk Turks following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The Georgian Kingdom took the region from the Seljuks from the late 12th century to the early 13th century, until various Mongol rulers of the Ilkhanate, including Tamerlane, took control of the area in the 13th and 14th centuries. The region was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1517 and often fought over and taken by the Safavids.
Dr. Friedrich Parrot, with the help of Khachatur Abovian, was the first explorer in modern times to reach the summit of Mount Ararat, with the onset of Russian rule in 1829. He was followed in 1856 by a group of five explorers led by Major Robert Stuart.

In 1918, in the aftermath of World War I, the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the October Revolution, the area became part of the Democratic Republic of Armenia, but the republic was short-lived. With the invasion of the Red Army, the area became part of the Soviet Union. Following the Treaty of Kars in 1923, the area was divided up between Turkey and the USSR, and the new border, which became internationally recognised, placed Ararat on the Turkish side. Even after this, most Armenians still claimed the mountain. At that time, Armenia was joined together with Georgia and Azerbaijan under the Transcaucasian SFSR. When the TSFSR was dissolved in 1936 and each of the three countries became separate Soviet Republics (Armenian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR, and Georgian SSR), Armenia depicted Ararat on its coat of arms. Turkey protested against this symbolic gesture on the grounds that Ararat was part of its territory, but the Kremlin refused to take action.


Ararat rises from a flat plain and dominates the skyline of Armenia’s capital, Yerevan. Since ancient times, Ararat has been revered by the Armenians as their spiritual home. Today, it is the national symbol of Armenia, where it is sometimes called Masis which simply means “Mountain.” Mount Ararat is featured in the center of the Coat of Arms of Armenia. The mountain is often depicted by Armenian artists on paintings, obsidian engravings, backgammon boards and other artifacts. From Yerevan, and throughout much of the country, citizens and tourists get a clear glimpse of both peaks, Mount Ararat and Little Ararat (Sis). Khor Virap, a monastery located just across the border from Turkey, is particularly popular with tourists for its view of the mountain.

In Abrahamic religions, the mountain is also thought to be the place Noah landed after the flood. (Genesis 8:4): “Then the ark rested in the seventh month on the seventeenth day of the month on the mountains of Ararat.”

The Ararat anomaly

The Ararat anomaly is an interesting feature located on the northwest corner of the Western Plateau of Mount Ararat (approximately 39آ°42Չ€Ա10Չ€աN, 44آ°16Չ€Ա30Չ€աE) at about 4,724 meters (15,500 feet), some 2.2 kilometers west of the 5,137 meters (16,854 feet) summit, on the edge of what appears from the photographs to be a steep downward slope. It is claimed by a number of Biblical literalists that this anomaly is the remains of Noah’s Ark (from the Old Testament).

This ship-shaped feature, including what resembles a ship’s superstructure in the right spot, has been sized by one satellite imaging expert at 309 meters (1,015 feet) long, as large as today’s largest aircraft carriers and would dwarf the Titanic and German battleship Bismarck.


An elevation of 5,165 m for Mount Ararat is given by some authorities, but others, including Encyclopedia Britannica give 5,137 m (16,854 ft), and public domain and verifiable SRTM data shows that this lower elevation is more accurate. The lower elevation is also supported by detailed topographic mapping (see summit map).

Climbing Mount Ararat

The climb is long, but there is a fairly easy route from the South in late summer for climbers who are familiar with the use of axe and crampons. There are two possible campsites on the mountain, and the glacier begins around 4,800 meters. It is difficult for non-Turkish nationals to obtain permission to climb from the Turkish authorities, and the process of obtaining this permission is complicated. For more information, see summitpost.

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