Few mountains west of the Himalayas have as compelling a hold on Western imagination as Mount Ararat (Ağrı Dağı in Turkish). Traditionally, Armenian monks considered this volcanic mountain holy, and nobody was allowed to climb it; it was not until 1829 that Dr Johann Jacob Parrot, a German academic, conquered the peak. Numerous other ascents have followed, though it was forbidden by Turkish officialdom until the 1950s.

Despite the efforts of American astronaut James Irwin and others, no reliable trace of Noah’s Ark has been found. Locals, however, insist that the oval mound of earth spotted by a Turkish air-force pilot on a routine flight is the “Ark”, which now boasts a visitor centre and is included in tours of the area. 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. According to the Koran, the Ark was deposited on Mount Cudi, hundreds of kilometres away near Cizre.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Turkey features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The film that will inspire your next trip to Turkey

The film that will inspire your next trip to Turkey

The allure of Istanbul is hard to beat. This thrilling city bridges two continents with a history spanning more than 2000 years. And with Istanbul’s Atatürk …

05 Aug 2015 • Eleanor Aldridge videocam Video
Video: why Cappadocia is best seen from above

Video: why Cappadocia is best seen from above

The ethereal landscape of Cappadocia is one of Turkey's top attractions, and the fields of naturally-hewn "fairy chimneys" and mysterious rock caves here hav…

03 Jun 2015 • Eleanor Aldridge videocam Video
5 street foods you need to try in Istanbul

5 street foods you need to try in Istanbul

One of the most enjoyable ways of tasting the best Istanbul has to offer is to work your way around the city snacking on the incredible street food, s…

28 May 2015 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month