Ararat - The Holy Mountain Of Armenians
Ararat is known as the “Holy Mountain” of the Armenian people. It was principal to the pre-Christian Armenian mythology, where it was the home of the gods, and later, Ararat was the geographical center of ancient Armenian kingdoms.
Mount Ararat is the third most prominent mountain in West Asia, and it is located in Turkey, near the border with Iran, Armenia and Nakhchivan exclave of Azerbaijan, between the Araxes and Murat rivers.
Ararat is a snow-capped and dormant compound volcano, which consists of two major volcanic cones: Greater Ararat and Little Ararat. The Greater Ararat is the highest peak in Armenian Highland with an elevation of 5,137m (16,854 ft). The Little Ararat's elevation is 3,896m (12,782 ft).
Most Christians identify Mount Ararat with the Biblical mountains of Ararat, largely because of the Genesis flood narrative, as it would have been the first peak to emerge from the receding flood waters, and it is where most of Western Christianity places the landing of Noah's Ark.
The Bible’s flood narrative was linked to the Armenian myth of origin by the early Armenian medieval historian Movses Khorenatsi. In his “History of Armenia”, he wrote that Noah and his family first settled in Armenia and later moved to Babylon. Hayk, a descendant of Japheth, a son of Noah, revolted against Bel (the Biblical Nimrod) and returned to the area around Mount Ararat, where he established the roots of the Armenian nation.
This legend makes Armenia the cradle of all civilization since Noah's Ark landed on the Ararat Mountain. It connects Armenians to the Biblical narrative of human development, it makes the Mount Ararat the national symbol of all Armenians, and the territory around it the Armenian homeland from time immemorial.
Despite lying outside the borders of modern Armenia, the Ararat Mountain is the principal national symbol of Armenia and has been featured prominently in Armenian literature and art, and is an icon for Armenian national identity. Armenians have a sense of possession of Ararat in the sense of symbolic cultural property.
Mount Ararat has been depicted on the coat of arms of Armenia consistently since 1918. This coat of arms was readopted by the legislature of the Republic of Armenia on April 19, 1992, after Armenia regained independence. Ararat is depicted along with the Ark on its peak on the shield on an orange background.
The Mount Ararat also was on the emblem of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. Here, the Ararat is depicted in the center and makes up a large portion of it.
Ararat is located some 65 km (40 mi) south of the Yerevan, and dominates the skyline of Armenia's capital on clear days.
However, the best way to see Ararat, while traveling in Armenia, is when you visit the Khor Virap Monastery, located near the border with Turkey, in the Ararat Province of Armenia. This monastery rests atop a little hill in an otherwise very flat Ararat valley. When you arrive, you will be as close to the Biblical Mount Ararat as you can probably get in Armenia. It is huge and towers over the Khor Virap on even hazy days.
In the 21st century to climb Ararat is the most highly valued goal of some of the Armenian patriotic pilgrimages that are organized in growing number from Armenia and the Armenian diaspora.