Where is Noah’s Mount Ararat?
Is Noah’s Mount Ararat straightforward to find?
The Bible tells us that the Ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, so surely that is the final answer?
But, the mountain that is called Mt Ararat now, was probably not around then because it is a young volcanic mountain.
So is the ancient Mount Ararat, Turkish or Armenian, or somewhere else?
The region around Mt Ararat is called the cradle of the human race.
Are Armenians descendants of Noah?
1. Why did the Jews say Noah’s Ark landed on Mt Ararat, a non-Jewish mountain?
and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.”Genesis 8:4 NIV
Why the mountains of Ararat, why not a mountain much closer to the heart of a Jew and a mountain much closer to Israel?
It is generally recognised that Moses is the writer of Genesis. (By that I mean he took information from other older documents and was also inspired by God.
See: Could early man write?
So why did Moses put Ararat as the place where the Ark became grounded – unless it was really true?
2. What mountains were closer to the Jewish heart than Noah’s Ark Ararat?
Mt Ararat was about 800 miles away from Mount Nebo where Moses died:
Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho…Deuteronomy 34:1 & 5 NIV
And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said.”
Surely if the story was a myth, the Jews would have preferred Mount Nebo or Mount Hermon, mountains close to them.
It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.Psalm 133:3 NIV
For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”
So it was most probable that Moses faithfully copied the word ‘Mt Ararat’ from Noah’s original ship’s log.
So you may think that’s sorted then, but there are some problems.
Place names can be very transient over the centuries and they can change.
Also, the problem is exacerbated when the name is near the borders of several countries and each country has a different name for it!
Ararat is very close to Iran, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
And any invading superpower can also give different names to things!
Are we feeling less confident now?
3. Mt Ararat is the cradle of the human race.
In the volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, it states:
A Persian legend refers to Ararat as the Cradle of the human race; the Persian name for it is Koh-i-Nuh, meaning ‘Noah’s Mountain’.”‘Mount Ararat’ Encyclopaedia Britannica 2
Some ask the question: “Are Armenians descendants of Noah?”
In one sense they are, but the Bible tells us that we are all descendants of Noah.
From this family came all the people of the world.
So rightly can it be said that Ararat was the cradle of the human race.
Noah’s three sons formed the three main sub-groups of humanity.
Modern genetics studying DNA say that humanity came from 3 main haplogroups.
It is fascinating to see that the Persian name for Mount Ararat is Noah’s Mountain.
Mount Ararat itself is called by the Turks Aghri Dagh ‘Mount of the Ark’ and by the Persians Koh-i-nuh ‘Noah’s Mountain’…”‘Faces of the Hamitic People’ by Khamit x Raamah Kush. 3
When Noah and his family came out of the Ark, he planted a vineyard, almost certainly he would have had the vine plants on board ready to plant out, along with cereal crops and vegetables:
The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.)Genesis 9:18-21 NIV
These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.
Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard.
When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent…”
This is an embarrassing, yet interesting account in that it mentions vine plants.
David Marshall Lang (1924 – 1991), Professor of Caucasian Studies,4 wrote in his secular book ‘Armenia: Cradle of Civilization’ how he believed that the skill of vine growing to make wine came from the area around Armenia:
…Armenia was certainly among the earliest centres for the cultivation of the grape and the making of wine.‘Armenia: cradle of civilization’ by Lang, David Marshall. p67. Publication date 1970 Internet Archive. 6
One older authority, Victor Hehn, declared in 1888, in his book ‘The Wanderings of Plants and Animals’ that the true home of the vine was ‘the luxuriant country south of the Caspian Sea… in Colchis on the Phasis, in the countries lying between the Caucasus, Ararat, and Taurus…
From these regions the vine accompanied the teeming race of Shem to the lower Euphrates in the south-east, and to the deserts and paradises of the south-west.’ [As cited by Edward Hyams. 5 ]
The wild vine, Vitis vinifera silvestris, from which the cultivated vine of the Old World is derived, has been established in Armenia, as in the Balkans and parts of western Europe, since Tertiary times, that is to say, over a million years.
Grape-pips in a carbonized or petrified state are found at a number of Neolithic sites in Caucasia, particularly round the Black Sea…”
It is thought-provoking that he believed winemaking came from that area, although many Christians would question the time scale he mentions of over a million years.
4. Where is Mt Ararat today?
There was a tall, big, mountain in Armenia, which was just called big: ‘Baris’ (Mt Baris), and Friedrich Murad in 1901 had written that this was erroneously known as Mt Ararat:
According to Nicholas himself, Mount Baris is in Armenia, above the region of Minyas (i.e. the land of the Mannai).‘Ararat und Masis’ by Friedrich Murad published in German in 1901. Translated by Walter Pasedag 7
This description fits the area of Ayrarat [a province of old Armenia that included Mount Ararat]: here we find the ‘big mountain called Baris.’
It is clear that this refers to the highest mountain of the referenced country, i.e. the Masis.
Indeed, one of the various attributes with which the Armenians describe this mountain is bardsr (= high, height) which coincides with the meaning of bares (barez, height; barezant, high).
From this we deduce that the Armenians’ neighbours knew the mountain only as Bardsr (Bares, Baris), the ‘high one’, which became known, most likely, through the Persians, for whom the name coincided with their divine mountain Hara-berezaiti, also called Bares.
The principal indigenous name for the mountain, in contrast, did not catch on outside of Armenia.
Even today the Masis is known by foreign peoples with different names: the Persians say ‘Kuhi-Nuh’, the Turks ‘Agher Dagh’, the Tatars ‘Dagher-Dagh’, the Europeans, erroneously, ‘Ararat’ (Ararat und Masis, p. 49).”
There is one more very big problem which I didn’t mention earlier and it is this:
The geology of the area has changed since Noah’s day.
Dr Andrew A. Snelling states:
However, the volcano now called Mount Ararat did not grow until well after the ocean (Flood) waters had retreated. Furthermore, the lavas and ash layers of Mount Ararat date to the time of the post-Flood Ice Age.‘Is Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat?’ by Dr. Andrew A. Snelling 8
This is consistent with Mount Ararat being built after the Flood on top of a dry plateau.
Mount Ararat is thus a post-Flood volcano, which continued to erupt, most recently less than 200 years ago.
Thus, from my perspective as a biblical geologist, I do not expect to find Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat.
Instead, it must have landed on another high mountain in the region at that time.”
5. Is Noah’s Ark on Ararat or another mountain?
We are told in the Bible:
and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat*.”Genesis 8:4
The Ark came to rest, NOT on Mt Ararat but on the mountains of Ararat.
What does the word ‘Ararat’ actually mean in Hebrew ‘אֲרָרַט’ (a.ra.rat) “The curse reversed: precipitation of curse”. The word occurs 4 times in the Bible.
The mountain that we know today as Mt Ararat is not the same mountain that Noah’s Ark was grounded on because it is a young mountain, probably formed after the worldwide flood.
The Bible does not say that the Ark landed on Mt Ararat specifically, but it does say the ‘mountains of Ararat’.
So what other mountains in that area could be the real Ark’s landing place?
Key to the map:
- The top left blue marker is Mount Ararat.
- The top right blue marker is Mount Little Ararat.
- The bottom blue marker is Mount Judi / Mount Cudi.
- The orange-shaded area is the Urartu region of the Kingdom of Van.
- The Blue shaded area is the region of Corduene / Gordyene.
You can click on the different areas of the map to bring up some information. (To be able to click on the Mount Little Ararat blue marker, the map has to be zoomed in by pressing the ‘+’ sign at least three times)
These mountains and areas are the likely places where Noah’s Ark came to rest on the ‘mountains of Ararat’.
6. Is the biblical Mount Ararat within the region of Urartu?
The geographical area of Urartu surrounding Lake Van is about 300 miles deep and 500 miles wide.
It included Mt Ararat to the north and Mount Cudi near Cizre to the south.
The actual southern border ran along the river Tigris and had the Assyrian Empire below it.
Genesis 8:4 reports the Ark as coming to rest on the ‘mountains of Ararat’, but this is prone to misinterpretation, as Ararat was the Assyrian rendition of Urartu, the ancient kingdom centred on Lake Van, meaning the Ark could have come to rest anywhere within the bounds of the kingdom.‘Lake Van and the southeast Travel Guide’ Rough Guides 9
According to the Koran, the Ark was deposited on Mount Cudi, hundreds of kilometres away near Cizre.”
The names; ‘Urartu’ and ‘Ararat’, ‘Urashtu’ and ‘Ayrarat’ are words that have a common origin descended from the same language:
Urartu is cognate* with the Biblical ‘Ararat’, Akkadian ‘Urashtu’, and Armenian ‘Ayrarat’. 10 11‘Urartu’ Wikipedia 12
Mount Ararat is located approximately 120 kilometres (75 mi) north of the kingdom’s former capital, though the identification of the biblical ‘mountains of Ararat’ with the Mt. Ararat is a modern identification based on postbiblical tradition.”
The word ‘cognate*’ means ‘related by descent from the same ancestral language.’
So the mountain that Noah’s Ark settled on; ‘Mt Ararat’ should be somewhere within the region of Urartu which is a very extensive area.
7. Is Mount Judi / Mount Qardu / Mount Cudi near Cizre Noah’s mountain?
Cizre is in the most southerly area of the Kingdom of Urartu.
Mount Cudi is also known as Mount Judi.
Mount Judi (Arabic: ٱلْجُودِيّ al-Jūdiyy, Kurdish: Cûdî, Turkish: Cudi), also known as Qardū (Aramaic: קרדו, Classical Syriac: ܩܪܕܘ), is Noah’s apobaterion or ‘Place of Descent’, the location where the Ark came to rest after the Great Flood, according to very Early Christian and Islamic tradition…‘Mount Judi’ Wikipedia 13
but was abandoned for the tradition equating the biblical location with the highest mountain of the region, that is Mount Ararat near Armenia.”
So has human logic moved the site of Noah’s Ark to “the highest mountain of the region”?
But we know that the present-day Mount Ararat is a young, newly formed mountain which was probably pushed up after the flood and other mountains and hills have probably changed since then.
It is not scientific to choose the highest mountain nowadays and make it Noah’s mountain.
What does history tell us?
Jewish Babylonian, Syriac, Islamic, and early Christian traditions identify Mount Judi or Qardu as a peak near or northeast of the town of Jazirat ibn ‘Umar (modern Cizre in south-east Turkey), at the headwaters of the Tigris River, near the modern border with Syria, and that of Iraq.‘Mount Judi’ Wikipedia
Arab historian Al-Masudi (d. 956), reported that the spot where the ark came to rest could be seen in his time, and that it was located at 80 parasangs (approximately 32 mi (51 km)) from the Tigris.
The mountain was historically located in the province of Corduene, south of Lake Van.”
The province of Corduene is shown as the Blue shaded area on the map above.
The conclusion is that Noah’s Ark probably landed in the region of Corduene (Gordyene) and possibly on Mount Judi / Mount Cudi.
What do you think?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When did Mount Ararat last erupt?
Greater Mount Ararat is still volcanically active and is 5,137 metres (16,854 feet) high.
It last erupted on 2nd July 1840.
Possible prior eruptions occurred in 1783 and 1450, but are unconfirmed.14
References and credits – open in new tabs:
As cited by Edward Hyams, Dionysus, London, 1965, p86. ↩