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Agri-Mt. Ararat-Noah`s Ark

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Situated in Eastern Anatolia and extending to the Iranian border, is Agri, one of the highest regions in the country with its mountainous formation.

Rising up to a height of 5165 m, Mount Agri is the main peak of Turkey and the symbol of the city. This snowcapped volcano is the famous biblical Mount Ararat, the legendary site of the second beginning of the world. It is believed that Noah's Ark rested on its summit during the big flood, and the wide plain of Igdir at the foot of the mountain is the first place where Noah set foot after the disaster. A geological hollow near Uzengili village has the shape allegedly of the ark, and it is a place often visited by tourists, being also a beautiful resting spot. Mount Ararat, besides offering magnificent scenery, also provides opportunities for hunting, skiing and mountaineering. Climbing is also possible once you get the necessary permission from the authorities.

95 kms east of Agri, is the town Dogubayazit, comprising spectacular ruins from earlier periods Ishak Pasha Palace, 6 kms outside the town center, is the most important sight, and was constructed by the Ottoman governor, Ishak Pasha, in the 17th century. It has been restored many since, and has become an original building of mixed architectural design. An Urartian king relief and a rock tomb dating to the 9th century BC, are other historical remains near the palace, while ruins from the same period are also to be found near Patnos, another important town of Agri province.

An interesting place is the meteoric hole, about 80 years old, located between the Gurbulak border gate and Sancavus village. It is the second largest hole of this type in the world with its 35 m width and 60 m depth.

Besides these touristic attractions, there are other specialties of the city. One is "Lake Balik", famous for its "trout". Still another is the local dessert "Asure", also known as "Noah's Pudding" and it is a sweet

Mount Ararat

Turkish AGRI DAGI, extinct volcanic massif in extreme eastern Turkey overlooking the point at which the frontiers of Turkey, Iran, and Armenia converge. Its northern and eastern slopes rise from the broad alluvial plain of the Aras River, about 3,300 ft (1,000 m) above sea level; its southwestern slopes rise from a plain about 5,000 ft above sea level; and on the west a low pass separates it from a long range of other volcanic ridges extending westward toward the eastern Taurus ranges. The Ararat Massif is about 25 mi (40 km) in diameter. Ararat consists of two peaks, their summits about 7 mi apart. Great Ararat, or Büyük Agri Dagi, which reaches an elevation of 16,854 ft above sea level, is the highest peak in Turkey. Little Ararat, or Küçük Agri Dagi, rises in a smooth, steep, nearly perfect cone to 12,782 ft. Both Great and Little Ararat are the product of eruptive volcanic activity. Neither retains any evidence of a crater, but well-formed cones and fissures exist on their flanks. Towering 14,000 ft above the adjoining plains, the snowcapped conical peak of the Great Ararat offers a majestic sight. The snowline varies with the season, retreating to 14,000 ft above sea level by the end of the summer. The only true glacier is found on the northern side of the Great Ararat, near its summit. The middle zone of Ararat, from 5,000 to 11,500 ft, is covered with good pasture grass and some juniper; there the local Kurdish population graze their sheep. Most of the Great Ararat is treeless, but Little Ararat has a few birch groves. Despite the abundant cover of snow, the Ararat area suffers from scarcity of water.

Ararat traditionally is associated with the mountain on which Noah's Ark came to rest at the end of the Flood. The name Ararat, as it appears in the Bible, is the Hebrew equivalent of Urardhu, or Urartu, the Assyro-Babylonian name of a kingdom that flourished between the Aras and the Upper Tigris rivers from the 9th to the 7th century BC. Ararat is sacred to the Armenians, who believe themselves to be the first race of humans to appear in the world after the Deluge. A Persian legend refers to the Ararat as the cradle of the human race. There was formerly a village on the slopes of the Ararat high above the Aras plain, at the spot where, according to local tradition, Noah built an altar and planted the first vineyard. Above the village Armenians built a monastery to commemorate St. Jacob, who is said to have tried repeatedly but failed to reach the summit of Great Ararat in search of the Ark. The village, the monastery of St. Jacob, and a nearby chapel of St. James were all totally destroyed by an earthquake and avalanche in 1840.

Local tradition maintained that the Ark still lay on the summit but that God had declared that no one should see it. In September 1829, Johann Jacob von Parrot, a German, made the first recorded successful ascent. Since then Ararat has been scaled by several explorers, some of whom claim to have sighted the remains of the Ark.


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