Monday, December 14, 2015

Mount Ararat Landing?

Did Noah’s ark land on the slopes of towering Mount Ararat, which has an elevation of 16,854 feet? Notice that Genesis 8:4 says the ark landed on the “mountains of Ararat,” that is, somewhere in the mountainous region of Ararat. Since the mountain named “Mount Ararat” is the tallest, and since there were convincing claims of the ark on this mountain together with Noachian toponyms, I concluded that the ark landed on Mount Ararat. In particular, two claims of discovering it there clinched it for me:
  1. Armenian George Hagopian’s claims of finding the ark “petrified, as hard as rock,” twice—in 1902 and 1904. (See: the 1975 Awake! 9/8 p. 18 What About the Search for Noah’s Ark? and the 1992 Watchtower, 1/15 p. 4, The Unforgettable Flood, Searching for the Ark.)
  2. The claims of a Chinese-Turkish team in 2010 of taking photographs inside rooms of the ark.
But then I later learned that the Chinese-Turkish discovery was a sham, as the ark they “discovered” was a “movie set” built into a glacier![1] (A farce of an ark is a “fark”!) Then I came to view George Hagopian’s claims as confused, for there is no reason why the ark would be rock, and there is an ark-shaped rock formation on Mount Ararat that I think is eerily similar to his description of his “ark.” (See Figure 1 below.) (A rock ark is not an ark but a “rark”! In the field of “arkeology,” the archeology of the ark, I find that most “farks” are “rarks.”)

Figure 1: A rock formation on Mount Ararat that could pass for remains of the ark.
Another problem that bothered me was that Mount Ararat is called the “mountain of pain” in Turkish with freezing conditions that are left unmentioned and not alluded to in the Genesis account. Then I learned, after studying the writings of the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, that another mountain in the mountains of Ararat called the “mountain of the Kurds” was originally associated with the ark. I discovered after further investigation that this mountain had Noachian toponyms, and only later in the tenth century CE were the ark-traditions and toponyms transferred by confused Christians from the “mountain of the Kurds” to Mount Ararat. With that, Mount Ararat collapsed like a house of cards.[2]

I know that it has been claimed that wooden remains have been discovered on Mount Ararat. However, how do we know that they are not from an ancient shrine built by pilgrims?[3] Also, as mentioned above, I find it troubling that Mount Ararat is a very dangerous mountain—the “mountain of pain.” Is this really a good location to have the ark land on with all those animals to disembark from?[4] For instance, Genesis 8:18-19 mentions that the animals departed “by families,” indicating an organized and not chaotic egress. True, as the Noachian Deluge was an act of divine intervention, and as God must have also played a role in managing the ark so it did not become a barge of disease and death, he could have also played a role in managing the people and animals as they disembarked the ark and traveled down the hostile slopes of the inhospitable mountain. But is that really what happened? Wouldn’t have made better sense for the ark to land in a safer location? This is probably the last place on earth you’d want to park a barge filled with animals on, with the intention of leading them down its dangerous and icy slopes! How would any of the larger animals possibly survive such a journey? Therefore, there has been centuries of confusion circulating around this mountain of pain, and people who “discovered” the ark, like George Hagopian, confused a rock outcrop, a rark, for the ark.[5]

Lastly, as introduced above, Josephus quoted from Berossus (third century BCE) who said that the ark landed “in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans [Kurds].” The mountain is Cudi Dagi which means “mountain of the Kurds.” In Arabic it’s called al-Judi, Judi being a corruption of Cudi. Interestingly, the Quran also specifies al-Judi as the ark’s resting place.[6] So apparently both Josephus and later Islam identified Mount Cudi/Judi (elevation of 6,854 ft.) instead of Mount Ararat (elevation of 16,854 ft.). This is a much lower elevation (apparently exactly a thousand feet less!) than Mount Ararat. Berossus added that “some people carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets for the averting of mischiefs.”[7] So it was being scavenged (either in Berossus’ day or before)[8] evidently at a relatively safe location, and therefore was probably completely torn apart for timber and supplies and is no longer intact. Both locations are in Turkey as seen on this map:

Figure 2: “Arkartography,” cartography of proposed ark landing sites.

Incidentally, removing the ark from the elevated place of Mount Ararat to a much lower elevation may indicate that the maximum range of the Noachian Deluge was not the entire planet but rather a large enough region to make Noah and his family think otherwise, one that still fulfilled its purpose of eliminating the depraved human society. I believe that a careful examination of the words and context describing the Noachian Deluge make its range open to interpretation. In closing, when discussing the Deluge we should emphasize what it accomplished, not its range:
  • It destroyed the wicked human society, the world of humankind
  • Fauna was preserved on the ark
  • The ark landed somewhere in the Ararat mountain range
By sticking to what it accomplished, we avoid needless controversy—in the spirit of Proverbs 26:20a.

[1] I became suspicious when I noticed that they never released the GPS coordinates of their discovery to the scientific community. Then I found this expose website “Exposing the NAMI Hoax!” by Dr. Don Patton with documentary video to download linked to on This presents a convincing case for fraud. This video is also available here:

[2] Harrak, Amir. “Tales About Sennacherib: The Contribution of the Syriac Sources.” In The World of the Aramaeans, 174. Vol. III. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001. This does not say this transfer of identity was by “confused Christians,” just that Armenian sources after the tenth century identified Mount Ararat instead of the “mountain of the Kurds.”

[3] One source explains that “wood has repeatedly been carried up Ararat in historical times.” Large wooden crosses were erected on it in 1829, 1845, and 1859, as well as “several large structures and various huts”. Isaak, M. (2004). Index to Creationist Claims, Claim CH504.1: Bryce’s timber from Ararat. Retrieved September 4, 2015, from

[4] Interestingly, a 2009 Watchtower shared the same concerns. After stating that Mount Ararat is “a frigid and lofty mountain peak nearly three miles [5 km] above sea level,” it added: “Remember, Noah and his family lived aboard the ark for several months after it landed. (Genesis 8:4, 5) It also seems unlikely that after disembarking, they and the many animals aboard had to climb down from a towering summit like mountaineers.” (July, 1 p. 14, Have They Found Noah’s Ark?, A Real Basis for Faith?)

[5] Compare these concerns with the excellent comments from Awake! 1975 9/8 pp. 17-21 What About the Search for Noah’s Ark? and Awake! 1970 11/22 pp. 5-7 Do You Believe Everything You Read?, Noah’s Ark Found?. The former similarly observes: “For instance, something definitely thought to be the ark was photographed on Ararat in 1960. But it proved to be only a landform.” The latter similarly points out: “Is it not possible that structures destroyed by the Flood could have had their remains carried by the floodwaters to different places, including Mt. Ararat? Is it not possible, too, that a wooden structure could have been built on Mt. Ararat long after the flood of Noah’s day?” Thus, it is no surprise that the 2009 Watchtower, July, 1 p. 13, Have They Found Noah’s Ark? A Real Basis for Faith? cautioned regarding claims of discovering the ark: “there seems to be even more basis for skepticism about such a find.”

[6] Surah 11:44. In The Message of the Quran, a study version, the English text has “Mount Judi” with a footnote explaining that this mountain is “known in ancient Syriac as Qardu.” (Asad, Muhammad. Bristol, England: Book Foundation, 2003.)

[7] Antiquities of the Jews 1.3.6. Josephus refers to other sources now lost, like Nicolaus of Damascus who said that the ark landed on a mount Baris, but this location cannot be identified. Later on in 20.2.2 he repeated a story that the ark landed in Carrae. However, it is likely that the ‘Carr’ element is a corruption of ‘Card’ or Kurd, with the second ‘R’ falling victim to typical ‘R’ ר and ‘D’ ד confusion. (Harrak, Amir. ibid. 171) Thus, he may have unknowingly corroborated Berossus’ Kurdish connection.

[8] Since this report from the third century BCE was made many centuries after the Deluge, this could indicate one of two situations: (1) that the ark was in an inconvenient location inhibiting a total dismantling and salvaging, or (2) that Berossus saw the bitumen amulets and assumed they were recently excavated and not ancient in his day. Since the mountain he claimed the ark was on is accessible for climbing, the second option is more likely.

Additional reading: