“On the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the ark rested on Mount Ararat.” In Genesis 8: 4 begins the legend of this impressive mountain that stands tall at 5,165 meters (16945 feet) above sea level. According to the Old Testament, this is where the boat which Noah built with his own hands came to rest after drifting for 40 days and 40 nights in the Universal Flood.
Inside, he took a male and a female of each species who survived the flood. Some say that the cataclysm could have occurred 4,800 years ago. They say that one of the first things that the patriarch did when the waters receded and set foot on firm land was planting a vine.
For the Jews, Christians, and Muslims the top of Mount Ararat represents the second opportunity that God gave to the world. It is a kind of totem for Armenians, its sacred mountain. Its culture is full of songs, odes, and praises to its snowy summit.
Although today it is located in Turkish territory, it used to be within the limits of so-called Historical Armenia and is its national symbol since the beginning of time. Losing the holiest summit in the country in 1921 was a severe disappointment for the newly created Armenian state.
The Ararat is settled in an area known as “the quadruple border.” Here Turkey meets Iran, Armenia and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan. In fact, this mountain is a stratovolcano, a type of high-altitude cone-shaped volcano formed by several amounts of layers of solidified lava, pyroclastic and ash.
In general, this kind of geological formations are quite cool, and it is not difficult for them to surpass the 2,500 meters mark (8202 feet). Nobody knows exactly when it was the last time it erupted, but in 1840 the area suffered an earthquake. It probably caused the activity inside. This gigantic volcano boasts of two peaks: the elder sister at 5137 m. (16583 feet) and the little sister at 3896 m (12782 feet). It is the highest peak in Turkey and it is one of the most beautiful mountains on the planet.
The fact that its summit could conceal the Ark of Noah has attracted numerous expeditions by archaeologists and scientists, some more serious than others. The last one was a joint expedition of Chinese and Turkish citizens who said they had found the remains of the boat with a certainty of “99%”. The people in charge claim that the carbon 14 test carried out on the remains indicated that they were 4,800 years old. The news was echoed in the media of several countries, but suspicion and skepticism soon began.
The roof of Turkey has become a lure for climbers from all over the world. A special permit from the Government of Ankara is needed to reach the summit. It is a demanding ascent that can last several days, and you must be in good physical shape.
The first time the peak was crowned in modern times was in 1829. Dr. Friedrich Parrot, along with the Armenian poet Khachatur Abovyan, reached the top during the autumn of 1829. A month later, they reached the Summit of Masis and they became part of the History of one of the most mythical mountains on the planet.