Ararat is the symbol of Armenia and even though it is temporarily out of nowadays territory of Armenia, it remains in the memory and perception of people, and the place where the history of Armenians began.
Ararat is an extinct volcano in the centre of the Armenian Highland, it has two peaks and their heights are 3925 and 5165 meters.
Ararat is one of the most ancient volcanoes in the world. Mount Ararat is an array consisting of volcanic lavas, erupted at different times. The easiest way of estimating the age of the volcano is its shape and size. Larger the volcano, older it is. Consequently, Ararat's highest peak or Masis is older than the lowest peak Sis. According to geologists, the age of Masis is 3.5 million years, and the age of Sis is 150000 years. The mountain range is situated on a diameter of 130 km and an area of 1200 square meters. These two peaks are connected with a 10 km saddle pass of Sarad or Anahit, at an altitude of 2727 m. In ancient times, there was a temple dedicated to the goddess Anahit.
The mountain Ararat is in the zone of active earthquakes. From the top almost to the foothill of Big Ararat, on the north-eastern slope, stretches a defile of 10 km, which is called Masis abysm and at the top, it has a depth of about 1000 m. Khorenatsi connected the occurrence of the defile with the earthquake of 139. According to the legend, exactly in this defile King Artavazd, who, with the help of his faithful dogs tried to free himself and rule the world, is chained. Earthquakes here had been repeated for many times, in 1319, in 1679, in 1840, and in 1887. From a height of 4250, the eternal snow zone of Ararat starts.
Thus, we can describe almost every mountain, but not Ararat. Ararat is the symbol of Armenia and even though it is temporarily out of nowadays territory of Armenia, it remains in the memory and perception of people, and the place where the history of Armenians began.
After the Flood, when Noah landed on Ararat with his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Habet), his two sons- Shem and Ham went far to Palestine and Egypt, and Habet settled with his progeny in the Armenian Highland. According to Armenian and Greek chroniclers, Habet's grandson Togarmah or Torgom is the ancestor of Armenians. The name of Hayk(Torgom's son) is connected with the name of Armenians(Hay).
And now about the name of Ararat. The oldest written mentions of the name Ararat are found in the Sumerian cuneiform inscriptions and in Pentateuch. In general, the oldest Armenian names show the essence of those who were named so. If we try to understand what Ararat means, then it's a double repetition of the syllable AR and this isn't just a syllable, but the name of the most ancient god AR or Ararich. So, the mountain not only occupied the most important place of the ancient Armenians' pantheon but also gave a name to the country where Armenians lived and continue to live. Ancient Sumerians called Armenia Aratta or country of Ararat, and in the Bible, Armenia is mentioned as the country of Ararat or the Kingdom of Ararat.
And therefore, not only the capital of Armenia, the ancient city Yerevan but also its spiritual capital, Echmiadzin, stand at the foothill of Ararat.
Nowadays Armenia occupies only a small part of Armenians' historical homeland, and unfortunately, the Mountain Ararat isn't a part of Armenia now. In 1921, after Armenia entered the Soviet Union, together with large territories of Armenia, Ararat was also given to Turkey by Lenin. The confidence that no matter where it's situated, Ararat will again become the part of Armenia, lives in the soul of every Armenian.
According to one of the legends, Ararat and Aragats were sisters, but once they argued and Ararat cursed her sister so that grief would never leave Aragats’s heart, and she would cry all the time. Thus, according to the legend, numerous springs appeared on Aragats. In her turn, Aragats cursed Ararat so that no one would climb to him. So, it happened and for a long time, no one tried to climb the mountain. According to the oldest beliefs, the mountain was the tenement of khajqs- mythical evil spirits. After spreading Christianity, the mountain was considered sacred. According to the evidence of the French traveler of the XIII century Rubruk, the Armenians didn't climb Ararat, not because of its inaccessibility, but in order not to desecrate the sacred mountain. In the IV century, Bishop Hakob Mtsbinetsi tried to climb Ararat to find and see Noah's Ark. But on the way, he got tired and fell asleep. At that time the angel sent him a wooden piece of the Ark, which had a form of a cross. At the very place where the bishop fell asleep, a spring appeared, which is called the spring of Hakob.
At the very place where the bishop fell asleep, a spring appeared, which is now called the spring of Hakob. The first known ascent to Ararat is considered the ascent of Dorpat's University professor Friedrich Parrot and an Armenian writer Khachatur Abovyan in 1829. Today, the ascent to Ararat is a kind of pilgrimage for Armenians of the whole world.