Mount Ararat – Meaning, Location, Noah’s Ark, Tours
Where is Mount Ararat located? What does Ararat mean? Was Noah’s Ark found on Mount Ararat? How high is Mount Ararat? What is the best time to climb Mount Ararat? What is the hottest month on Mount Ararat?
Mount Ararat is possibly one of the biggest and most recognizable symbols of the Armenian people. Even though you will find Armenians in all corners of the world who have many differences, one thing remains the same: all Armenians love and dream about this mountain that has become a sacred site for them. In fact, you now have the opportunity to climb Ararat mountain, which we will discuss below if you want more information.
So what is special about Mount Ararat? Why do Armenians cherish it so much? Let’s read on to find out.
Meaning and Etymology of Ararat
The name Ararat is thought to have several different origins, the most common being that it is named after the ancient Armenian kingdom of Urartu, which existed between the 9th and 6th centuries BC. In other languages such as Hebrew and Sanskrit, the word translates to “holy ground” or “sacred land.”
However, many Armenian historians give it a more specific meaning. The first two letters of the word, AR, carry a huge significance in the Armenian language. The word “Ararich” means creator, so most words that have sacred significance or that have to do with creation start with the letters AR in Armenian. Other examples include “Ararel” (to create) and “Ararats” (creature). According to Armenian mythology, Ararat was the home of the ancient gods, and even in Christian Armenia, there is a saying, “Ararichn ararel e araratsin Araratum” (God created man in the land of Ararat). Therefore, based on this, some Armenian historians and linguists agree that the word “Ararat” means “Land of Creation”.
Another thing to note is that Armenians also refer to the mountain as Masis and Sis. It is made up of two cones- one larger and one smaller. The larger one is Masis and the smaller is Sis. As far as the name Masis goes, Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi said that the name came from Amasia, the great-grandson of the legendary father of the Armenian nation, Hayk. The name Sis has a more interesting meaning. According to some Armenian linguists, the word is based off of “breast of a feeding mother,” which further shows that Armenians view the mountain as the sacred site of their creation.
Where is Mount Ararat? Map of Ararat
Mount Ararat is the tallest mountain in the Armenian Highland, but its actual location is intriguing. Although this ancient mountain carries such a major significance for the Armenian people, it is not actually located within the borders of the Republic of Armenia. Instead, it is a part of the Republic of Turkey and forms the border between the two countries.
So how did such a major symbol of the Armenian culture wind up outside of Armenia? It was actually a part of Armenia until 1921. In the aftermath of the mass deportations of Armenians during the Armenian Genocide and after the Ottoman Empire’s loss in World War I, the Treaty of Kars was signed, which granted much of what was formerly Western Armenia to Turkey. And so it remains as such. If you speak to any Armenian, you will experience the sense of longing that they feel towards the lost mountain, which remains such a prominent part of the Yerevan skyline.
Many sources claim that the mountain is 5,137 meters tall, but according to most Armenian sources, the summit of the taller mountain is 5,165 meters.
Legend of Noah’s Ark
If you received a religious upbringing, you may have heard of the legend of Noah’s Ark. According to the Biblical book of Genesis, “On the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4). This has led many people to believe that this is in reference to Mount Ararat, which means that it was Noah’s Ark’s resting place. As far as whether this is actually true is another story.
Many people have climbed the biblical Mount Ararat throughout the centuries in an attempt to find the lost ark, and some claimed to have found it, but it is impossible to know whether the wooden fragments they found truly belong to the ancient ark. But one thing is certain: Mount Ararat carries a holy significance due to it being mentioned in the Bible, which made it a significant site for all groups of people, not just Armenians.
Ski Tours and Climbing Mount Ararat
What you might not have expected is that you have the opportunity to see and climb this historical site in person. Climbing Ararat as a part of Mount Ararat tours is organized mostly in the summer for you to experience this sacred mountain in person. As the tallest mountain in Turkey, it does take several days to climb, but the views you get at the end are some of the most beautiful you could experience.
The actual length of time it takes to climb depends on the program that you choose. There are two camps on the mountain- Camp 1 and Camp 2- which you will stay at for a bit so you can get used to the change in climate and pressure. And who knows- when you reach the top, you might find Noah’s Ark!
Now, we will attempt to answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Mount Ararat trek so that you can have the best experience possible when you choose to climb the mountain.
What is the hottest month on Mount Ararat? It has been shown that the hottest months on Mount Ararat are July and August, which therefore are the best times to climb Mount Ararat. Most tours for climbing Ararat take place during these months because this is when it is the warmest and when there is not as much snow on the peak.
Mount Ararat ski tour: If you are a bit more daring, you can go on a skiing tour of the ancient mountain during the winter for the most unique adventure. You will be skiing up the mountain, and after a 4 to 5 day tour, you will reach the summit and have gorgeous views of the Armenian Highland.