|And the ark rested … upon the mountains of Armenia – Genesis 8.4 (Douay-Rheims)Mt. Ararat in modern day eastern Turkey is well known for being the traditional site of Noah’s ark. Legends of the ark on Mt. Ararat go back before the time of Christ. Jesus himself testified to the literal nature of Noah and the Flood when he said that the time immediately before his second coming would be like the days of Noah (Matt. 24.37).
Biblical chronology puts the date of the Flood at about 2345 B.C. Much geological and anthropological evidence supports a literal global flood at that date. The account of Noah and the Flood in Genesis is quite detailed. The ark is described as being about 450 by 75 by 45 feet with three decks, a door in the side, windows on the top, and containing many rooms. The rain during the Flood lasted 40 days, the water from the deep continued to rise for 150 days, and Noah was in the ark for more than one year.
There are many ancient records of a global flood all over the world. Nearly every civilization has some story concerning a flood. Many of the place names of locations near Mt. Ararat are reminiscent of Noah and the Flood. Different languages give Mt. Ararat names like “the mountain of the ark” or “the mountain of Noah” or “the mountain of descent.”
As early as the third century B.C. there is a record of a Babylonian high priest and historian, Berossus, who said that remains of the ark could be seen at that time. Flavius Josephus, a well known Jewish historian who wrote during the first century A.D., mentions the ark landing on a mountaintop in Armenia and relics of it in existence during his time.
St. Isidore of Seville, A.D. 560-636, (patron saint of the Internet – and of The Virtual Order of Saint Isidore ) wrote of the ark and wood remains of it existing in his day. In A.D. 678 St. Jacob of Medzipin, Bishop of Nisbis, discovered a piece of wood from the ark and made a cross of it that he took to the cathedral at Etchmiadzin where it reportedly resides today. In A.D. 1269 Marco Polo wrote of the ark during his travels through Armenia. During the Middle Ages, Mt. Ararat was widely known as the resting place of the ark.
Closer to the modern era, in 1829 Dr. J. J. Friedrich W. Parrot searched for the ark on Mt. Ararat and visited St. Jacob’s Monastery at Ahora which was reported to house artifacts from the ark at that time. (The monastery was buried in an earthquake in 1840.) The Parrot glacier on Mt. Ararat is named after him. There were various expeditions on Mt. Ararat in the mid to late 1800’s and more than one reported sighting of the ark itself.
Expeditions to Ararat and sightings of the ark continued during the 1900’s. George Hagopian, a native Armenian, reported that he climbed to the ark as a boy in 1902 and in 1904. This was during a year of little snowfall that occurs about every twenty years in that area. There are various reports of sightings of the ark by military men during WWI. During WWII an American soldier named Ed Davis stationed in Iran reported that he was taken on a trip to the ark by native Kurds and was able to view the ark from a distance. He also reported that the Kurds had possession of relics from the ark.
During the 1980’s and 1990’s several expeditions led by Americans went searching for the ark. Perhaps the most well known American explorer was Jim Irwin, Apollo astronaut. He made several trips up the mountain before his death.
In 1988 a helicopter search of a large portion of Mt. Ararat was made by pilot Chuck Aaron, with Bob Cornuke and Larry Williams on board. Aaron made another survey of the mountain by airplane in 1991. Kurdish fighting made expeditions all but impossible during the middle of the 1990’s but in 1999 Dick Bright, Bob Stuplich, Bob Cornuke and a few others made another search.
In 1999 and 2000 Bob Cornuke made trips to Iran to look for the ark on another mountain as recorded in his book, In Search of the Lost Mountains of Noah. There are other mountains in the Middle East that have ark tales associated with them, but to date the exact location of the ark remains a mystery.
|Eric BerminghamDecember 2001
Balsiger, David W. and Sellier, Charles E. The Incredible Discovery of Noah’s Ark. New York: Dell Publishing, 1995.
Cornuke, Robert and Halbrook, David. In Search of the Lost Mountains of Noah. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001.
Keane, Gerard J. Creation Rediscovered. Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1999.