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Mount Ararat and Noah’s Ark

Explore the captivating tale of biblical Mount Ararat, an extinct volcano towering over the Armenian Highland. While today under Turkish control, it remains an epic symbol for Armenia. Delve into the intriguing quest for Noah's Ark, from ancient claims to contemporary explorations. Uncover the Durupinar site's mystery, its petrified ship-like formation, and the Chinese explorers' claim in 2010. Could this discovery turn into a tourist hotspot, or is it just another silent chapter in Mount Ararat's enigmatic history?

Mount Ararat is an extinct volcano on the right bank of the Araks River, 32 km from the border of Armenia and 16 km from the border of Iran. It is the highest mountain of the Armenian Highland. It has two peaks: large (Masis: 5165 m) and small (Sis: 3925 m).

The mountain came under Turkish control during the 1920 Turkish–Armenian War, becoming formally part of Turkey through the 1921 Treaty of Moscow and Treaty of Kars. Despite being within Turkey's territory today, Mount Ararat is widely acknowledged as the country's principal national symbol.

Mount Ararat holds a significant place in Armenian culture, depicted at the center of the Armenian national emblem and revered as the "holy mountain" for the Armenian people.

Marco Polo documented his extensive travels in a book titled "The Travels of Marco Polo," offering detailed accounts of his experiences, observations, and insights into the culture, geography, politics, and economy of China and other lands. Here is how he describes mount Ararat.

"In the central part of Armenia stands an exceedingly large and high mountain, upon which, it is said, the ark of Noah rested, and for this reason it is termed the mountain of the ark. The circuit of its base cannot be compassed in less than two days. The ascent is impracticable on account of the snow towards the summit, which never melts, but goes on increasing by each successive fall. In the lower region, however, near the plain, the melting of the snow fertilizes the ground, and occasions such an abundant vegetation, that all the cattle which collect there in summer from the neighbouring country, meet with a never−failing supply".

Climbing Ararat

The 13th-century missionary William of Rubruck noted, "Many have tried to climb it, but none has been able."

While historically, the Armenian Church discouraged ascents to the mountain, in the 21st century, climbing Ararat has become "the most highly valued goal of some patriotic pilgrimages organized in growing numbers from Armenia and the Armenian diaspora."

Me raising the flag of Armenia at the top of mount Ararat. Year 2019

The first recorded ascent of the mountain in modern times occurred on October 9, 1829 by Baltic German naturalist Friedrich Parrot and prominent Armenian writer Khachatur Abovian. Abovian, then a deacon and translator at Etchmiadzin, was assigned by Catholicos Yeprem, the head of the Armenian Church, as an interpreter and guide. The detailed journey was narrated by Parrot in his book "Journey to Ararat."

A mosaic featuring Parrot and Abovian decorates Abovyan's house museum. It is currently utilized as a cover photo for modern publications of Parrot's book "Journey to Ararat."

Mount Ararat's sublime appearance has always captivated artists, inspiring them to create various pieces of art. According to one source, the first Armenian artist to depict the mountain was Ivan Aivazovsky, who painted Ararat during his visit to Armenia in 1868.

View of Mount Ararat from Yerevan by Martiros Sarian

Other major Armenian artists who portrayed Ararat include Yeghishe Tadevosyan, Gevorg Bashinjaghian, Martiros Saryan, and Panos Terlemezian. In Saryan’s art, scenes with Mount Ararat are very frequently depicted.


Searches for Noah's Ark

The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days, the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. - Genesis 8:4

 An AI generated image of an explorer discovering Noah's Ark

Efforts to find Noah's Ark have been ongoing since at least the time of Eusebius (c. 275–339 CE). In the 1st century, Jewish historian Flavius Josephus claimed the remaining pieces of Noah's Ark had been found in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans, which is nowadays Mount Ararat in Turkey. However, today, the practice is widely regarded as pseudoarchaeology.

Various locations for the ark have been suggested, but none have been confirmed. Search sites have included the Durupınar site, a location on Mount Tendürek in eastern Turkey.

The Durupinar site as seen by Google Earth

The Durupınar site (39°26′26.26″N 44°14′04.26″E) features a natural formation resembling a ship or ark. Some believers promoted it as the petrified ruins of the original Noah's Ark. According to local reports, heavy rains combined with three earthquakes exposed the formation on May 19, 1948. The site was rediscovered and promoted by self-styled archaeologist and amateur explorer Ron Wyatt in 1977. Throughout the 1980s, Wyatt tried to interest others in the site, including ark hunter and former astronaut James Irwin and creationist John D. Morris.


Fasold and the team stated that ground penetration radar revealed a regular internal formation and measured the length of the formation as 538 ft (164 m), close to the 300 cubits or 515 ft (157 m) of Noah's Ark in the Bible, using the royal Ancient Egyptian cubit of 20.62 in (52.4 cm).


Geological investigations into potential remains of the ark have exclusively uncovered natural sedimentary formations. In actuality, the boat-shaped formation is regarded as a naturally occurring stone formation that merely bears a resemblance to a boat.


Chinese Explorers Claim Noah's Ark Find

In 2010, Chinese explorers claimed to have found Noah's Ark at 4000 meters up Mount Ararat in Turkey. There is even a video showcasing their exploration of the ark.

If this discovery were authentic, it has the potential to attract considerable attention, transforming it into a sought-after tourist destination. Turkey could generate millions, if not billions, from this, yet all we encounter is silence.


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