Mount Ararat can be viewed from the western parts of the Republic of Armenia, and is one of the most frequently photographed sites by tourists who visit Armenia.
There are many beautiful sites to see when visiting Armenia, but perhaps the most memorable and majestic is Mount Ararat. It is one of the most important symbols of the Armenian nation and the tallest mountain in the Armenian Highlands.
Mount Ararat unique shape and prominence in history also make it a memorable site for many visitors and Armenians alike. Many Armenians practically worship this mountain, and it has been used as inspiration by many Armenians for their children’s names, poetry, songs, paintings, and more.
Here is a list of facts about this mountain, which is often considered to be holy and sacred.
Armenians used to worship Mount Ararat
In ancient times, prior to adopting Christianity, Armenians believed in their own gods and goddesses, and had their own myths.
Many of these stories about Armenian gods and goddesses have been lost through the sands of time, but one thing we do know is that Mount Ararat naturally played a huge part in Armenian pagan beliefs.
It was believed that the Armenian gods lived there, much like Ancient Greeks believed that the Greek gods lived on Mount Olympus.
Noah’s Ark is believed to have landed on Mount Ararat
Mount Ararat, even in the Christian faith, is considered to be highly sacred. Within Abrahamic religions, Ararat is believed to have been the resting place of Noah’s Ark. According to the biblical story, the world at the time was overcome with degeneracy, with Noah and his family being the only ones who were spiritually pure.
God gave Noah instructions to build an ark, which he was to board with his entire family and every type of animal so that they would be saved. God had sent a flood upon the earth, where the ark floated for 150 days, and, according to the Bible verse, “In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.”
Most believers of Christianity take this to mean Mount Ararat, and therefore, the mountain has become an important source of Christian faith and is widely believed to be the place where the ark had landed.
This has spawned many attempts to climb Mount Ararat and find the remains of the ark. Despite the fact that there is no scientific evidence to prove that a great flood has occurred, nor have any proven remnants of the ark been found, Mount Ararat still remains an important part of both Armenian and worldwide cultures as an important religious site.
Also, this biblical story, along with several scientific studies, is the reason why Armenia is frequently placed as being the cradle of civilization.
Mount Ararat is depicted on Armenia’s coat of arms
Ararat is considered to be the main symbol of Armenia and the Armenian people. Because of this, it is even depicted on the national coat of arms.
The coat of arms of Armenia features a lion and an eagle which are supporting a shield, which are symbols from the ancient Armenian kingdoms that existed before Christianity.
Then, the coat of arms features the four coats of arms from the royal dynasties of historical Armenia: Bagratuni, Arshakuni, Artashesyan, and Rubenid. In the center of the coat of arms is Mount Ararat with Noah’s Ark.
The coat of arms has changed several times, but in every coat of arms in Armenian history, Ararat has been represented.
Today, Mount Ararat is not located within Armenia’s national borders
Mount Ararat is presently a part of the Republic of Turkey. However, it is geographically a part of the Armenian Highland and was a part of Armenia until the Armenian Genocide, when historical Armenian territories were given to Turkey.
It has also been a unifying force for Armenians for centuries, especially when there was no Armenian state. Mount Ararat has so deeply been a part of the Armenian national identity for as long as Armenians have been around.
It is therefore difficult to not consider Mount Ararat as Armenian, despite where it may be geographically located. Many Armenians demand justice and dream of the day that Mount Ararat will once again be a part of the Republic of Armenia.
Ararat means ‘place of creation’
There are several proposed meanings for the name ‘Ararat.’ One of them states that the word ‘Ararat’ is derived from the Armenian word ‘ararel,’ which means to create.
There are many phrases in Armenian which begin with the root ‘AR,’ derived from the word ‘Ararich,’ meaning ‘creator.’ Therefore, ‘Ararat’ means ‘Place of Creation.’
There are also sources which say Ararat is the word people used to refer to Armenia in ancient times, and it meant ‘a place in the north.’
Mount Ararat is actually a dormant volcano
Mount Ararat is a stratovolcano. Evidence shows that the mountain was formed due to many eruptions, and that it was an active volcano many millennia ago, in the 3rd millennium BC, due to the fact that Bronze Age artifacts and human remains have been found in pyroclastic flow deposits.
The most recent eruption of Mount Ararat took place in 1840, where over 10,000 people are said to have died. With that being said, there appears to be no threat of Mount Ararat erupting any time soon.
It is known for its unique shape of having two volcanic cones
Ararat has two peaks, one called Greater Ararat, and one called Lesser Ararat. For Armenians, these are referred to as Masis and Sis, Masis being the greater peak.
Masis is estimated to be 16,584 feet tall, and Sis is estimated to be 12,782 feet tall. The terms Masis and Mount Ararat are considered to be interchangeable in Armenian.
‘Masis’ and ‘Ararat’ are popular names Armenians give to their children
Ararat has played such an important role in Armenian culture and history that it has even lent its name to many young Armenians. Masis and Ararat are very popular male names in Armenia.
The name Masis is said to have come from the great-grandson of Hayk, Amasya. Hayk is considered to be the legendary founder of the Armenian nation. Amasya, according to legend, is said to have referred to Mount Ararat as Masis after himself.
Many important Armenian quotes and poems revolve around the mountain
Mount Ararat has become one of the most prominent Armenian symbols, and the Armenian cultural identity has been heavily associated with the mountain. Therefore, it has been the inspiration for many Armenian writers, artists, and poets in their works.
Not only Armenians, but several foreigners have written about Ararat and painted it, such as James Bryce, William Woodsworth, Alexander Pushkin, Valery Bryusov, and Charles Olson.
Some popular Armenian authors who have written works involving Mount Ararat are Hovhannes Shiraz, Paruyr Sevak, Yeghishe Charents, and Silva Kaputikyan.
Ivan Aivazovsky is also known for including Ararat in his paintings. It is known to be perhaps one of the most written about mountains in literature.
Yeghishe Charents wrote in his poem, “I Love My Armenia,” “And in the entire world you will not find a mountaintop like Ararat’s, like an unreachable peak of glory, I love my Mount Masis.”
It is not difficult to understand why, as Mount Ararat has captivated many people from all around the world. During the colder months, Mount Ararat is typically not visible, but as the weather gets warmer, tourists and locals alike fight each other to get the best views and photographs of Ararat possible.
It also brings melancholic feelings for many Armenians, and is a symbol of patriotism
For many Armenians, when they look upon the site of Mount Ararat, they are overcome with sadness and melancholy. This is because Mount Ararat was no longer a part of the Armenian territory in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide.
To this day, Ararat remains a part of the Republic of Turkey, despite its massive prominence in Armenian history. Many Armenians dream of it one day being a part of Armenia again.
It is no longer a part of Armenia due to the Treaty of Kars which was signed in 1921, which established the borders of the republics of Armenia and Turkey. Many towns and villages in the eastern parts of Turkey which were historically Armenian were placed within the borders of Turkey.
After the Armenian Genocide, during which millions of Armenians were slaughtered and deported from their homes, Turks and Kurds began to settle in the previously Armenian towns and villages.
Mount Ararat is one such site that used to be Armenian, but is now a part of Turkey. When Armenians see Mount Ararat, it also serves as a painful reminder of the Armenian nation’s past and what Armenians have lost.
It is a dream of many Armenians that the mountain which has united them for millennia will one day be a part of Armenia again.
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