Armenia: a country that saw and survived the Deluge

Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat

Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat. True or myth? Scientists around the world are searching for the answer.

Since the eighteenth century groups of climbers tried to find the remains of Noah’s Ark. No one has succeeded. However, traces of what looks like a ship have been found on the mountainside. It is assumed that the ship gradually decayed, sliding down the slope of Ararat. The wreckage presumably became part of one of the mountain glaciers.

In 2018, Iranian scientists made the sensational announcement that the ark was on a different mountain-not Ararat…

The Story of the Flood

The Bible tells us about this historical event: The first book is Genesis. This was preceded by God’s wrath upon mankind who had fallen into sin. This upset the Creator and he decided to exterminate the human race (presumably 4250 B.C.).

But there was a righteous man among mankind who kept the commandments, named Noah. God called the righteous man to Himself and told him of His decision to exterminate the human race.

God ordered Noah to build an ark. He was to use the goat tree to build it. The finished vessel was to be tarred on all sides. Noah was also instructed as to the size of the ark and the interior layout:

  • The length of the ship is 300 cubits (133.5 meters);
  • the width of the ark – 50 cubits (22.25 meters);
  • the height of the structure – 30 cubits (15 meters);
  • to build three stories;
  • to make an opening of 1 cubit at the top;
  • make a door on the side.

When the construction was completed, Noah entered the ark with his family. At God’s command the animals – seven pairs of clean animals and two pairs of unclean animals – were also loaded aboard the ark. The inhabitants of the ark were destined to survive.


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God closed the door when the ship was loaded.

A week later the rain came down, falling for forty days and forty nights. The water flooded even the highest mountains. Every living thing had perished. Only the ark built by Noah rose above the water and remained intact. Its inhabitants survived.

The water continued to flow for 150 days. Then it began to recede. Chroniclers and researchers believe that at the end of the flood, the ship hit the bottom of Mount Ararat. Why such conclusions? Because the Bible does not point to Mount Ararat. Scripture says that the ark stopped at “the mountains of Ararat.”

“And the ark stopped in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.” (Genesis 8:4,5).”

Legends of the Flood are also described in Near Eastern mythology.

In the legends of the ancient Sumerians we find reports that the ark must be on Mount Ararat. Noah in this religion is called Ut-Napishtim. And the flood, according to mythology, lasted not forty days and nights, but one week.

Islamic tradition holds that the ark with Noah’s family stopped in the mountains in the Middle East. Where is not specified. The Islamic Noah goes by the name Nuh. Legends also support the version of the flood, which lasted seven days and seven nights.

There are mentions of this historical cataclysm and the ship on which the family of the righteous man was saved in the period before Christ and in the Middle Ages:

  • In 275 B.C. the ship on Ararat was mentioned by the Babylonian historian Beros.
  • 1st century BC. – the Jewish general Josephus Flavius reported in the Chronicles that this mountain was in Armenia. The Armenians call Mount Ararat the place where the ship docked for eternity and show the wreckage of the ark that has survived.
  • The year 1114 is in the “Tale of Bygone Years”. The beginning of the chronicle: “After the flood the three sons of Noah divided the earth”.
  • The 13th century Marco Polo mentions in “The Book of the Diversity of the World”: “You must know that in this country, Armenia, on top of a high mountain rests Noah’s ark. It is covered with perpetual snow, and no one can climb up there, to the top – the snow never melts, and new snowfalls add to the thickness of the snow cover.”
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There is no mention of Mount Ararat in this description.

“The scriptures of the three religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – indicate a different location of the ark. But all the legends confirm the version of the Flood. The flood hypothesis is not refuted by modern scientists.”

Ten Evidences of Finding the Ark on Ararat

Circumstantial evidence of the Flood in human history, makes it necessary to look for the biblical ship on which Noah’s family escaped the flood. Since the eighteenth century, the ark has been “found” about two dozen times.

The lack of scientific evidence of the ark’s existence did not prevent the creators of the Lloyd’s International Register (a register of all ships that ever sailed, eighteenth century) from registering under number one the ship on which Noah’s family traveled.

The record states that the ship was built in 2248 B.C. Of wood of unknown species. Its dimensions are specified. Noah and his family are recorded as the owner of the ark. And an indication that the ship was last seen on Mount Ararat.

Armenian legends assure that the higher powers that keep the ark prevent people from reaching it. Therefore, snowfalls and storms occur on the way to the top of the mountain and avalanches slip down to stop the inquisitive.

The first to conquer the summit of the Great Ararat was the professor of the University of Dorpat, doctor and naturalist Friedrich Parrot. He organized an expedition and received permission to climb.

Only at the third attempt six of the most courageous members of the expedition reached the top of the mountain. At 3:15 a.m. on September 27, 1829 Khachatur Abovyan (the future classic of Armenian literature) mounted on top a 1.5m high cross that he carried on his back. Khachatur Abovyan was included in the expedition as an interpreter and guide.


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The expedition carried down only a piece of ice. No signs of a biblical vessel were found.

“Mount Ararat is two dormant volcanoes, Big Ararat and Little Ararat, merged at the base. The tops are 11 kilometers apart. The altitude is 5,165 meters above sea level. Ararat is located in eastern Turkey, being the highest point of the country.”

Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat began to be searched very actively with the advent of the XX century. Startling discoveries were made both from the ground and from the sky. A new wave of research on the findings on Mount Ararat began. Chronology of events, discoveries, statements, shocks.

  • 1916. The pilot, Vladimir Rustitsky, who carried out the task of the command, wrote in his report that during his flight over Ararat he saw “a large vessel lying there”.

The Russian government sent an expedition to search for the ship. The goal was achieved. Photographs and a report were made. But all documents were lost during the October 2017 revolution.

The place where the Russians allegedly found the ship was called the Ararat Anomaly.

  • 1949. Summer. An American search party went in search of a biblical ship. The search yielded no results.

That same summer, members of a French search party reported seeing the mysterious ark. They talked about the summit of Jubel Judy.

Three years later, Riker’s expedition went there. Nothing was found.

  • 1955. The French climber and explorer Fernand Navarra recovered several planks from the shell of a ship and a G-shaped beam from beneath the ice. In 1956, he published the book “Noah’s Ark: I touched it” in French. In 1974 the book was published in English.

Fourteen years later, he brought back some more planks from the next expedition. Radiocarbon analysis, which was conducted in the U.S., showed that the age of the tree is no more than 1400 years. These exhibits do not reach the biblical flood, although Navarra is recorded as one of the most successful “carpetbaggers”.

  • 1969. John Liby’s last expedition from San Francisco. He had a dream with the exact location of the ark. And he devoted the next years of his life to the search. After a number of unsafe expeditions he became disillusioned. At the age of 73, he abandoned any further search for the biblical legend.
  • In 1974 the Turkish Government closed the Ararat region to visitors, placing observation posts behind the border. The search for the ark moved from earth to heaven.
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This is the chronology of celestial discoveries:

  • 1943. Spy plane with American pilots on board. A picture of Mount Ararat is taken. It captures the outlines of an object similar to the ark. The picture was published in a military newspaper. It has not reached our days.
  • 1949. During a covert operation in Turkey, pictures of an obscure object were taken again. The CIA classified the photos and only declassified them in 1995. The object was codenamed the “Ararat Anomaly. It was located at an altitude of 4,275 meters above sea level on the northwest slope of Ararat.
  • 1953. From a height of 30 meters from a helicopter, American oilman George Jefferson Green took some clear photographs of a large ship embedded in rocks and ice in the same area. After the businessman’s death, the original photos mysteriously disappeared.
  • 1999. Ikanos-2 satellite images are taken and a strange object is also seen. It is depicted on the northwest slope of the mountain. Its length is 183 meters.
  • 2003. The QuickBird satellite has captured images of Mount Ararat. In April 2004 at the press conference in Washington Dr. Daniel McGivern informed that studying the images from the satellite (it took one year) the scientists saw the previously known “Ararat anomaly” at 4725 meters above sea level. But the scientists did not get permission from the Turkish authorities for a ground expedition.

The attitude to the legend related to the magical rescue of Noah’s family is not unequivocal. Believing people accept it unconditionally. They do not need any evidence other than the Bible. Skeptics have their doubts. They are caused by lack of credibility of the facts confirming such natural cataclysm:

  1. The remains of the ship found on Mount Ararat look like stones. Science has proven that this occurs when the organic elements which decay are replaced by mineral ones. In this case, quartz rocks hard as diamonds should turn out. After examining the extracted remains of the ship, it turned out that they do not have the properties of quartz.
  2. The alleged remains of a ship were found on the slope of Ararat. Scientists suggest that it is a rock that has formed into the hull of a ship as a result of a glacial landslide. If we consider that glaciers melt and slide frequently, the vessel itself should already be at the foot of the mountain, but not on the slope at a height of more than 4 kilometers.
  3. The Flood must have left an indelible trace in the nature which can be confirmed by geological research. So far it has not been possible to do so.

“…From the conclusion of the Iranian scientists we can assume that Noah’s ark docked at Mount Tahte Soleiman in the northwest of Iran. There, too, they found remnants of wood that had fossilized. The size of the find matches the description of the biblical ship.”

The Armenian Highlands and the Flood – Where Noah’s Ark Stopped

For a thousand and a half years, the answer to this question seemed obvious: because Ararat is the highest mountain in the region. Until the middle of the 19th century, Jews, Christians and Muslims did not doubt the accuracy of the story of Noah as told in the Torah, the Bible and the Quran. But in the mid-19th century, evolving science, which had already greatly changed its view of the world, questioned this religious dogma as well.

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There were heated debates between scientists-believers and atheists, and questions were asked that were not answered in the Bible: How could animals from other continents, like kangaroos from Australia, jaguars from America and other thousands of species, cross the oceans to find salvation in Noah’s ark?

Of course not, and people with a religious worldview have since had to be told to just believe, not look for proof. The skeptics responded by saying that all the biblical stories were just fairy tales.

But many thinking people then, as now, were unwilling to go to the extremes of denial and tried to have faith that did not contradict their reason and to develop knowledge without denying spirituality. The rampant, as Ilf and Petrov would say, “historical materialism” did not last long.

In 1872, George Smith, an Assyriologist at the British Museum, deciphered the text of the cuneiform tablets found in the ruins of the library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (7th century BC) in Nineveh. On them was written the ancient Sumerian “Epic of Gilgamesh,” which turned out to be the primary source of the biblical story of Noah. It became a sensation.

Smith became world famous for his translation of the Chaldean text on the Great Flood, which he read before the Society for Biblical Archaeology on December 3, 1872. Interestingly, among the audience was British Prime Minister William Gladstone, the only Prime Minister to attend scholarly seminars on Babylonian literature. Gladston called Armenians one of the “…oldest nations of Christian civilization and the most peaceful, enterprising, and judicious nations in the world,” and he called the only solution to the Armenian problem “the expulsion of the Turks from Armenia,” accusing European governments of indifference.

He also owned the expression: “To serve Armenia means to serve civilization.

The evidence for the veracity of the legend of Noah was not only literary. After the translation of the tablets on the territory of Iraq, archaeological expeditions found traces of a great flood dating back at least 5,000 years. The Flood is also described in the earlier Akkadian tale of Atrahasis (17th century BC). In both texts the hero builds a ship and rescues himself from the flood. And the vessel on which Atrahasis escaped was round and made of reeds, but nothing is reported about its size.

In 1927-1928, British archaeologists Charles Leonard and Catherine Woolley during excavations near the Euphrates found layers of river sediments, which provided evidence that around 3000 BC in Sumer really was a strong flood – at least of a local nature.

Near the walls of the capital of the Sumerians, archaeologists dug a mine and at a depth of 14 meters. found the tombs of the Sumerian kings of the early III millennium BC. Continuing to dig, they came out lower on a layer of silt thickness of 3 meters, and under a layer of silt there were traces of more ancient settlements. Thus, it was very serious evidence that in ancient times there was not a worldwide, but quite catastrophic local flood, and it was about 5000 years ago.

True, according to the Jewish text, the Flood began in 1656 from the Creation, which corresponds to 3853 BC. But what matters here is not so much the difference of a thousand years, as the fact that excavations have confirmed the reality of the event, which became the basis of the Sumerian, and later the Biblical legend.

At that time it was already clear that it could not have been the usual flooding of the Euphrates, because the layer of river silt found was above the level of the river. So what could have raised the water to a height of tens of meters? There is speculation that some sort of catastrophe broke out at this time, northwest of the Persian Gulf, which flooded an area of 500 by 150 kilometers in the interfluve area.

The silt layer was also found during excavations of the city of Shuruppak, which is mentioned in Sumerian literature as the birthplace of the righteous and wise man Ziusudra (translated as “Life of long days”), the Babylonian Atrahasis, the Akkadian-Assyrian Utnapishtim and the real prototype of the Biblical Noah, the former ruler of Shuruppak. All this confirmed the fidelity of the story of the Flood.

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English archeologist C. Langdon during the excavations of the city of Kish, which lies 250 kilometers north-west of the Sumerian city of Ur (from which the Biblical patriarch Abraham came), also found a layer of “Biblical Flood,” similar to that discovered by L. Woolley at Ur.

However, further research in Mesopotamia has shown that the clay layers underlying the ancient cities of Ur, Kish, Uruk and Shuruppak have a different antiquity. That is, they reflect the fact that there was not one flood, not one “flood”, but several. And they occurred at different times. Some researchers believed that L. Woolley found traces of the most grandiose of them, but it was not caused by the “usual catastrophic” flood of the Euphrates, but by a flood of two rivers – the Tigris and the Euphrates, which itself was caused by an unknown natural cataclysm that occurred in the Persian Gulf. Later, in the second half of the 20th century, there were versions that the catastrophe occurred much further south, in the western part of the Indian Ocean. What kind of catastrophe was it?

This question back in the middle of the 20th century was discussed by various specialists, such as the famous American science fiction writer, professor and popularizer of science Isaac Asimov, the Russian historian and orientalist Anatoly Novoseltsev and many others.

Isaac Asimov was the first to call the cause of the flood a tsunami. In his book “A Guide to the Bible,” he wrote that the very movement of the ark northward toward Mount Ararat, that is, in the direction from the shore up into the mountains, speaks in favor of the tsunami version.

“The legend that the ark stopped at Ararat – some 600 miles northwest of Sumer – again speaks in favor of the “tidal” flood hypothesis. An ordinary river flood would have carried floating objects downstream, to the southeast, to the Persian Gulf. But a huge tidal wave would have carried them up – to the northwest, to Ararat…

It is worth noting that the mountain peak is not specifically named.

There is no mention of “Mount Ararat. Instead, the Bible clearly states, “on the mountains of Ararat,” implying that Ararat is the region or country where the chain of mountains on which the ark stopped is located.

Asimov stated it correctly. If one moves from the plains of the Intercontinental Plains northward, the Armenian Highlands grows on the way, like a giant natural wall or fortress. You can see it now with Google maps as well. The Bible says that the water rose 15 cubits (i.e. 7.5 meters) above the mountains. This is a very destructive and devastating wave for the inhabitants of the lowlands.

But this, of course, is not enough not only to reach Mount Ararat (top 5165 m), but even the plains of the Armenian highlands, which are above 1 thousand meters, and the highlands themselves with their plateaus – up to 2 thousand meters, with passes reaching up to 3 thousand meters.

In case a large-scale tsunami from the sea rises northward and reaches the borders of the Armenian Plateau, it can move forward only through river gorges, but only in the southern part of the plateau, and not in the northeastern part, where Mount Ararat is located. And all wave-carried ships, boats, and rafts can be so carried into the mountains.

But in ordinary tsunamis caused by earthquakes at the bottom of the oceans, even in the strongest cataclysmic events, the water flooded the coastal zone by a maximum of thirty to fifty meters. There have only been about a dozen cases in history when waves reached half a kilometer into the land. However, all of these tsunamis were localized and involved small portions of the coast. None of them spread over hundreds or thousands of kilometers, and none of them crossed the territories of neighboring countries.

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At the beginning of the 21st century, scientists have put forward a version according to which the World Flood was a consequence of a giant tsunami, caused by the fall of a comet in the Indian Ocean. And it happened only five thousand years ago. But such cataclysms could occur both before and after, i.e. repeatedly.

And indeed the traces of huge tsunamis remained on the ground in the western part of the Indian Ocean. These are the so-called chevron dunes. They are located on the island of Madagascar and are far beyond the normal coastal dunes. Their name was given by analogy with the chevrons on the epaulettes in the form of the Roman numeral V turned away from the ocean.

Space images of Madagascar island clearly show many kilometers of chevron dunes stretching inland. A ring-shaped impact crater measuring 29 kilometers in diameter was soon discovered on the ocean floor 1,500 kilometers southeast of Madagascar at a depth of 4,500 meters.

In such a massive catastrophe, gigantic tsunamis would rise northward, stop and reverse the flow of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, flood all the plains of the Interfluve and reach the borders of the Armenian Plateau. They may advance further, but only through the river gorges in the southern part of the Plateau, bordering Mesopotamia.

The famous Soviet Orientalist Anatoly Novoseltsev suggested that since in Armenia Mount Ararat is also called Masis, the real Ararat must be another, not so high mountain, which is located at the other end of the Armenian Plateau in its southwestern part in Turkey. Their identification, according to Novoseltsev, was formed later in church circles outside Armenia, whence it found its way into that country itself. In the Qur’an, this mountain is called “Judi-Dag,” which translates as Doomsday Mountain.

Judy, also Cudi Dağı, Jabal el-Judy (Arabic جبل الجودي) is a mountain range in the region of Bohtan (modern South-Eastern Turkey, south of Lake Van, in Armenian – Korduh) and its highest point. In Islamic tradition, it is Mt. Judah, not Mount Ararat, that is identified with the mountain on which the ark of the prophet Noah (Noah) sailed after the flood. There is still debate about the exact location of what the Bible generically calls the Ararat Mountains.

It turns out that five thousand years ago, a catastrophic tsunami wave, which arose as a result of the fall of a comet in the Indian Ocean, rushing down the rivers from Mesopotamia up to the Armenian highlands, may well have taken with it and carried one or more large boats, rafts or ships, which were carrying people, as well as some cattle to the mountains of Armenia: rams or goats, from which the legends of Atrahasis, Utnapishtim, Xizustra, and later Noah and his miraculous rescue together with all the specimens of terrestrial fauna, for which they had to build a ship almost as big as the Titanic, etc. emerged later on. д. But anyhow, it is clear that the tsunami from the Indian Ocean during the floods may well have carried the boats of the Sumerians to the Armenian Plateau. But only to its southern regions, bordering the Mesopotamia.

So, by all the logic of these conclusions, there is no ark on Mount Ararat or Masis and never was? It turns out that there never was. This can explain the huge number of fruitless attempts to find the ark or its remnants there. And the claims that it must be looked for elsewhere.

But, however all this may seem logical and reasonable, in 2009 the members of the Chinese expedition to Ararat made a sensational announcement that they had finally found Noah’s Ark and it was in the form of a large wooden vessel. To prove it, the Chinese even filmed all their findings and put them on the net for everyone to see.

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