Mount Ararat is the national symbol of Armenia and has been revered by Armenians for ages. In Armenian mythology Mt. Ararat is the home of the Gods, much like Mt. Olympus in Greek Mythology. And then, of course, some people believe as well that a man named Noah built an ark that came to rest on Mount Ararat after a great flood.
Mount Ararat is 5,137 m (16,854 ft) high and is clearly visible from a significant part of Armenia, including Yerevan, the capital. In fact, Yerevan is a mere twenty miles from Mount Ararat.
Despite the significance of Mount Ararat to Armenians, however, Mount Ararat belongs to Turkey rather than Armenia. A closed military zone for most of the 20th century, Turkey has only recently started to allow visitors to Mount Ararat, but it is still difficult to obtain permission. And since the border between Turkey and Armenia is closed, Armenians are not able to visit at all despite the close proximity of Mount Ararat.
Even the beer company in the Ararat province of Armenia has Mount Ararat on its logo:
It must be tough to wake up every morning and to gaze out at your country’s national symbol resting under the tight control of a country that less than a hundred years ago conducted a vicious campaign of genocide against your people and still refuses to acknowledge it.
Many Armenians yearn to restore Greater Armenia and to reclaim what has historically been Western Armenia and is now Turkey’s East Anatolia. It isn’t like there is much Armenia can do about this state of affairs though. Armenia already has its hands full keeping Nagorno-Karabakh away from Azerbaijan and it is certainly no match for Turkey’s powerful military.
Thanks. A good post with some history to explore.
Hey Justin, Thanks for the great post man, I was born in Armenian. I moved to the US shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union and haven’t been back yet, so getting to see your point of view is very helpful!
Thank you for your comment, Malachi. I imagine you would find the cities of Armenia look a bit different than when you left, but the countryside would look almost exactly the same…