Ararat Mountain

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Mt. Ararat is said to be the legendary resting place of Noah’s Ark. Ararat mountain has twin peaks known as the Great Peak (Greater Ararat) and the Little Peak (Lesser Ararat). The height of the Great Peak is 16,946 feet (5,165 m). GPS measurement: 5,137 m (16,854 ft), and the height of the Little Peak is 12,872 feet (3,896 m). Mt. Ararat is considered holy and an outstanding symbol of political existence and has always been a part of Armenian national life.

Ararat mountain

Ararat mountain

In Armenian history, Mount Ararat is the most important geographic symbol of Armenian identity. Mount Ararat has had the same significant relationship to the Armenians as Mount Olympus had to the ancient Greeks.

It is considered holy and an outstanding symbol of political existence and as such has always been a part of Armenian national life. Mount Ararat represents the fatherland to Armenians around the world.

Armenia occupied the rugged mountain terrain located between the Caucaus Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. In the heart of the Armenian highlands is Mount Ararat, mentioned in the book of Genesis as the place where the Ark of Noah rested after the Flood. According to the legend, the Garden of Eden was located on a picturesque plateau around Mount Ararat.

The mountain itself has twin peaks known as the “Great Peak” and “Little Peak.” Their bases are confluent at a height of 8,800 feet; their summits are about seven miles apart. The higher Great Ararat, which attains a height of 16,916 feet, is a huge broad-shouldered mass, more of a dome than a cone. The lower little Ararat at 12,840 feet, is an elegant cone or pyramid, rising with a steep, smooth regular side into a comparatively sharp peak.

Ararat mountain from the space

Ararat mountain from the space

Both Great and Little Ararat consist entirely of volcanic rocks, chiefly andesites and pyroxene andesites, with some obsidian. No crater now exists at the summit of either, but well-formed parasitic cones occur upon their flanks. There are no historic records of any eruption.

From the Armenian plateau, Mt. Ararat rises, graceful and solitary far into the region of perennial snow. The climate of the whole district is very severe. The snow line, however, is not reached before a height of 14,000 feet. Rainfall is slight in the area, and the lower levels of the Massis (which Mt. Ararat is also called) are affected by an upward rush of dry air from the plain of the Aras. There are glittering fields of unbroken glaciers on the northern and on the western slopes of Great Ararat. The only true glacier occurs on the northeastern side at the bottom of a large chasm that runs into the heart of the mountain. The middle zone of Mt. Ararat, from 5,000 to 11,500 feet, is covered with good pasture. The upper and lower zones are for the most part sterile. Most of Great Ararat is destitute of trees, but Little Ararat is clothed with birches.

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