Ararat (5165m) is the highest mountain of Armenian highland. It is an apart mountain massif which consists of 2 cone-shaped parts: Masis (5165m) and Sis (3925m). Masis is the highest summit in the world by relative altitude (4300m).
The base of Ararat has an outline of 130km and covers area of 1200sq.km. Summits are separated by tub-shaped saddle length of 2688m.
The top of Ararat is covered with eternal snow (lower border 4100-4250m) which feeds about 30 glaciers. The glaciers on the south-western slope go down up to 3850m. Traces of Anthropogenic glaciations are evident at altitudes of 2800-3000m. Slops and especially near summit uplands are covered with storm-beaten moraines of volcanic rocks which are called “Stone seas”.
The name “Ararat” was first mentioned in VII age BC in the Bible. The name of “Urartu” (Ararat) Kingdom is also from here.
Ararat - is that holy biblical mountain, on which at the time of the Flood Noah's ark stopped. Eight people survived on the top of mountain. Noah- the father of new humanity, his wife, sons and wives of his sons. The history of salvation of Noah and his family is mentioned in the Bible. So, from the top of Masis began a history of a new humanity. Noah went to the south-east from Ararat Mount and called this place Nakhijevan (“ijevan” in Armenian means shelter).
In ancient times the Ararat Mount with its beautiness and impressiveness had a mysterious effect on the Armenian people. It awarded to be a cult of worship. In the ancient faith of the Armenians, Masis was the repository of the brave souls who had guarded Masis against the people invasions.
According to the ancient legend “Artavazd”, the Armenian king Artavazd was chained in Ararat gulf and was trying to get out. According to legend, Artavazd has been tightened by the land at the source of the river Gino.
For the first time, the anchorite Hakob Mtzbetsi tried to get on the top of mount, on purpose of finding and bringing a piece of Noah’s Ark. But on the way he got tired and fell asleep. At that moment an angel of God sent him a cross-piece from the ark. A spring flows out in the same place where he was asleep and then it was called Hakob’s spring. In the IV century St.Hakop monastery was found in the north-eastern slope of Masis, in Akori village.
Ararat is a saint witness of biblical mysterious events. According to legend, the guardian angels of Noah's ark are flying over the Masis.
In 1829 a great Armenian writer Khachatur Abovyan together with Professor Friedrikh Parrot from Dorpat University, and after, in 1846 with an Englishman Semur has climbed Masis mountine. There is a version that he and then rose this mountain but he went astray and disappeared.
Masis has a steep and rocky peak turned to the north. The slopes are separated with radiated gorges and ravines. A gorge, located on the north-eastern slope, which is known as “Maseats Vih” (abyss), stretches from top to bottom (about 10km) and near the top it is deepened more then 1000m. The base part is cupola-shaped, with moderate inclined slopes .The separate parts of the base are corrugated uplands, with a height of 3250-3450m.
Sis is a conical mountain range which summit is undulating plain, covered with rocks and heaps of stones. Slopes are fairly steep and splited. It is deprived of eternal snow and glaciers.
Ararat is a volcano, consists of powerful lavas of the Neogene. Lava, being more viscous, was gathered in the eruptive zone, because of what mountain range is also considered to be an extrusion mass. Much of the conical elevations, located on the slopes, are the centers of volcanic lavas.
The base of Ararat Mount is divided into separate parts by tectonic violation, and in the Neogene-Anthropogene was subjected to differential vertical movements.
The origin of the mountain due to the crust of South Araks’ large cleft. Acid has emerged from the gap and later - the main magma, which covered both, the base of fold and the part of mio-politsen and anthropogen lake sediments which were accumulated in related concavity.
Ararat is one of the active seismic zones of the Armenian highland. Destroyable earthquakes (in 139, 1319, 1679, 1840, 1887and so on) took place many times. In 1840, due to the earthquake, were destroyed the monastery of St.Hakob which was located in Maseats gorge and adjacent to it Akori village. Movses Khorenatsi links the origin of Maseats gorge with the earthquake in 139.
Ararat has building materials of volcanic origin. The vertical climatic zone, on the Ararat mount, is expressed very well. Winter is hard, stable and with thick snow cover. In January the average temperature ranges from -6 °C (at the bottom) to -25 °C (on the top), in July-from 26 °C (at the bottom) to 0 °C and low (on the top).
Atmospheric phenomena in the bottom did not excel in 250mm in a year, but in summit it reaches to 1000mm.Precipitations mostly are pouring in spring, lesser-in winter.
Despite the abundant atmospheric phenomena, apical slopes are dry and desert like a stone (known only the spring of St.Hakob and the river of Gino). This circumstance is conditioned by the fracture of volcanic rocks of summit, which rapidly absorbs the rainfalls.
From the northern slope of Mount Ararat, south from the village Dashburun, the source of Araks - Mijin Sevjur(Average Blackwater) flows. From the south, river Gino joins to Sevjur, watering gardens and fields of the “Akori” village.
Middle zone vegetation of Ararat (1500-3500m) is quite magnificent. There are luxuriant juniper bushes and pastures. In the lower zone (1500-3500m) semi-desert plants and bushes are dominated, as well in marshes - the reeds, only near the Sardar Boulagh spring grows birch bushes.
Ararat is rich in animal and bird worlds. In ancient times, Ararat has been a hunting place for the Kings.
Ararat has been and continues to be a source of inspiration for the Armenian people.