Monday, 16 September 2013


Names and etymology

  • Ararat - The Bible says that Noah's ark landed on the mountains of Ararat. This does not refer to any specific mountain or peak, but rather a mountain range within the region of Ararat, which was the name of an ancient proto-Armenian kingdom also known as Urartu.[6] Nonetheless, one particular tradition identifies the mountain as Mount Masis, the highest peak in the Armenian Highland, which is therefore called Mount Ararat.[6] (As opposed to the Armenian and European tradition, Semitic tradition identifies the mountain asJudi Dagh located in Turkey near Cizre.)[note 2] According to the medieval Armenian historian Moses of Khoren in his History of Armenia, the plain of Ayrarat (directly north of the mountain) got its name afterKing Ara the Handsome.[7] Here the Assyrian Queen Semiramis is said to have lingered for a few days after the death of Ara.[7] According to Thomson, the mountain is called Ararat (ArmenianԱրարատ) corresponding to Ayrarat, the name of the province.[note 3][note 4]
  • Ağrı Dağı (Mountain of Ağrı) - The Ottoman Turkish name was 'Aghur Dagh' اغـر طﺎﻍ [note 5] which means 'heavy mountain'. Ağrı is also a province in the Eastern Anatolian Region of Turkey, which derived its name from the mountain in 1949.[8] During the Ottoman Empire era the Ağrı village was originally calledKarakilise (black church).[9]
  • Masis (ArmenianՄասիս) - is the Armenian name for the peak of Ararat, the plural 'Masiq' (ArmenianՄասիք) may refer to both peaks.[7] The History of Armenia derives the name from a king Amasya, the great-grandson of the Armenian patriarch Hayk, who is said to have called the mountain Masis after his own name.[7]
  • Çiyayê Agirî (Fiery Mountain), Çiyayê Alavhat and Grîdax (Kurdish): This entire tree name referred a volcanic characteristic of Mount Ararat. It is the only name to have a clear, descriptive etymology while also indicating the preservation of folk memory.[9][citation needed]
  • Kuh-e-Nuh (Noah's Mountain): (Persianکوه نوح‎, IPA: [ˈkuːhe ˈnuːx]Kuh-e Nuh), also influenced by the flood story, this time via the Islamic view of Noah.[9][citation needed]


Mount Ararat is located in the Eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey between Doğubayazıt and Iğdır, near the border with IranArmenia and Nakhchivan exclave ofAzerbaijan, between the Aras and Murat Rivers.[1] Its summit is located some 16 km (10 mi) west of the Turkey-Iran border and 32 km (20 mi) south of the Turco-Armenian border. The Ararat plain runs along its northwest to western side.
Mount Ararat panorama


Ararat is a stratovolcano, formed of lava flows and pyroclastic ejecta, with no volcanic crater. Above the height of 4,100 m (13,451 ft), the mountain mostly consists of igneous rocks covered by an ice cap.[10] A smaller 3,896 m (12,782 ft) cone, Little Ararat, rises from the same base, southeast of the main peak. The lava plateau stretches out between the two pinnacles. The bases of these two mountains is approximately 1,000 km2 (386 sq mi).[11] The formation of Ararat is hard to retrieve geologically, but the type of volcanism and the position of the volcano raise the idea that subduction relation volcanism occurred when the Tethys Ocean closed during the Neogene.[12]


Mount Ararat 3D
An elevation of 5,165 m (16,946 ft) for Mount Ararat is still given by some authorities. However, a number of other sources, such as public domain and verifiable SRTM data[13] and a 2007 GPS measurement show that the alternatively widespread figure of 5,137 m (16,854 ft) is probably more accurate, and that the true elevation may be even lower due to the thick layer of snow-covered ice cap which permanently remains on the top of the mountain. 5,137 m is also supported by numerous topographic maps.[14]


It is not known when the last eruption of Ararat occurred; there are no historic or recent observations of large-scale activity recorded. It seems that Ararat was active in the 3rd millennium BC; under the pyroclastic flows, artifacts from the early Bronze Age and remains of human bodies have been found.[3]
However, it is known that Ararat was shaken by a large earthquake in July 1840, the effects of which were largest in the neighborhood of the Ahora Gorge (a northeast trending chasm that drops 1,825 metres (5,988 ft) from the top of the mountain). An unstable part of the northern slope collapsed and a chapel, a monastery, and a village were covered by rubble. According to some sources, Ararat erupted then as well, albeit under the ground water level.[3]

Climbing Mount Ararat

First recorded ascent in modern times

Dr. Friedrich Parrot, with the help of Khachatur Abovian, was the first explorer in modern times to reach the summit of Mount Ararat, subsequent to the onset of Russian rule in 1829.[4] Abovian and Parrot crossed the Aras River and headed to the Armenian village of Agori situated on the northern slope of Ararat 4,000 feet above sea level. Following the advice of Harutiun Alamdarian of Tbilisi, they set up a base camp at the Monastery of Saint Jacob some 2,400 feet higher, at an elevation of 6,375 feet. Abovian was one of the last travelers to visit Agori and the monastery before a disastrous earthquake completely buried both in May 1840. Their first attempt to climb the mountain, using the northeastern slope, failed as a result of lack of warm clothing.
Six days later, on the advice of Stepan Khojiants, the village chief of Agori, the ascent was attempted from the northwestern side. After reaching an elevation of 16,028 feet they turned back because they did not reach the summit before sundown. They reached the summit on their third attempt at 3:15 p.m. on October 9, 1829. Abovian dug a hole in the ice and erected a wooden cross facing north. Abovian also picked up a chunk of ice from the summit and carried it down with him in a bottle, considering the water holy. On November 8, Parrot and Abovian climbed up Lesser Ararat. Impressed with Abovian's thirst for knowledge, Parrot arranged for a Russian state scholarship for Abovian to study at the University of Dorpat in 1830. In 1845, the German mineralogist Otto Wilhelm Hermann von Abich climbed Ararat with Abovian. Abovian's third and last ascent to Ararat was with the Englishman Henry Danby Seymour in 1846.

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