Briefing: Mount Ararat

The Herald (Glasgow)
April 5, 2004

Briefing: Mount Ararat

Noah’s Ark finally found dry land on the mountain’s summit on this
day in 2348 BC.

Q: Says who?

A: Experts in the field of hermeneutics, the branch of knowledge that
deals with interpreting the Bible and other works of literature.

Q: Where is Mount Ararat?

A: There are actually two: Great Ararat (16,854ft), and Little Ararat
(12,782ft). They’re both products of volcanic eruptions in the
distant past and are to be found in the extreme east of Turkey. It’s
Great Ararat that’s associated with the mountain on which Noah’s Ark
came to rest at the end of the flood.

Q: Where does the name come from?

A: As it appears in the Bible, it’s the Hebrew equivalent of Urartu,
a kingdom that flourished between the ninth and seventh centuries BC.
Ararat is sacred to the Armenians.

Q: Oh?

A: They believe they were the first race of humans to appear in the
world after the Deluge. Persian legend refers to Ararat as the cradle
of the human race. According to local tradition, Noah, the Old
Testament hero of the book of Genesis who introduced winemaking to
the world, planted the first vineyard in a village, since vanished,
on the slopes of Ararat.

Q: What happened to the village?

A: Along with the monastery commemorating St Jacob, who is said to
have tried repeatedly but unsuccessfully to reach the summit, it was
destroyed by an avalanche in 1840.

Q: Who first scaled the mountain?

A: Johann Jacob von Parrot, a German, made the first recorded
successful ascent in 1829. Since then, it’s been climbed by several
mountaineers, some of whom claim to have sighted remains of the Ark.
Locals believe the Ark’s still there, but that God decided no-one
should see it.