World at a Glance: Mount Ararat and Zvartnots Cathedral

Mount Ararat

As I write this, I’ve just left Armenia, a country that has been on my wish list for quite some time. I’ve lots to share from this fascinating part of the world, but for now a quick glance at Zvartnots Cathedral.

On my visit, these 7th century ruins happen to be the setting for a wedding photo session. What could be more perfect? There are 1 300 years of history in these beautiful columns. Add to that the stunning backdrop of the dormant volcano Mount Ararat – and the legends associated with it.

Zvartnots Cathedral hails all the way back to the foundation of the Armenian Church in 301 AD, in what was to become the very first Christian country in the world. Armenia was 10 times larger then.

Mount Ararat is surely one of the most famous mountains of all; one I remember learning about as far back as primary school. An ancient legend of angry gods sending a flood to punish humankind is passed down through generations, then retold by the authors of the Old Testament and the even older Sumerian Gilgamesh poems. After the flood has subsided, the only family left on earth climbs out of the ark at Ararat, wanders down the mountain – and begins humanity all over.

Ranoosh, a Yerevan girl, tells of an expedition that has uncovered fossilised wood high up on Ararat, beneath its eternal snowcap. No matter what you believe, it’s an interesting tale – and an imposing mountain, one I don’t seem to get tired of looking at.

Mount Ararat is only about 50 kilometres from Yerevan. Still, it’s a world away, across the closed border with Turkey. It’s visible from numerous spots in town, but the view of the fabled mountain here at Zvartnots is my favourite.


unesco logo

Zvartnots Cathedral is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site Cathedral and Churches of Echmiatsin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world.

World at a Glance is a series here on Sophie’s World, portraying curious, evocative, happy, sad or wondrous, unexpected little encounters.

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24 Responses to “World at a Glance: Mount Ararat and Zvartnots Cathedral”

  1. Salika Jay 3 July 2013 1711 #

    Only if Mount Ararat can talk, the stories she will tell. Great historical place.
    Salika Jay recently posted..3 Hawaiian Islands For 3 Different Experiences

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 2201 #

      It was a special place to experience..

  2. Muza-chan 4 July 2013 0903 #

    So beautiful :)
    Muza-chan recently posted..Japanese samurai armor, Kabuto

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 2202 #

      It really is :)

  3. jenny@atasteoftravel 4 July 2013 1049 #

    I’ve been looking forward to your stories from Armenia. I’m not sure if the children learn about Mt Arafat today but I too remember it from those old school days! A beautiful photo..I can why this spot was chosen for wedding photos! All that history!
    jenny@atasteoftravel recently posted..A.Ston.ishing Oysters in Croatia!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 2206 #

      Hm… maybe they don’t hear about it any more. Here in Norway they do, but then religion/spirituality/ethics is an obligatory subject in school here.

  4. Marcia 4 July 2013 1443 #

    It took a second before I realized that was Mt. Arafat in the background. I can’t imagine how many Armenian couples have used this as a backdrop for their wedding photos. Beautiful spot.
    Marcia recently posted..Newcastle Jamaica

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 2207 #

      Fabulous wedding photo location, isn’t it…

  5. I’m always curious about Armenia and most of all about Mt. Ararat. The sight of it must be so surreal having learned and heard all about only as part of Noah’s Ark story. That photo of the ruins agains the background of Ararat is so dramatic. I can see why it’s a popular photo op venue.
    Marisol@TravelingSolemates recently posted..Canyoning in Dominica

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 2208 #

      That’s what I thought – a bit surreal, in such an interesting way.

  6. Mette - Italian Notes 4 July 2013 1649 #

    Wow – what a breathtaking view. I’ve always wanted to see Mt Ararat, but got carried away before I reached it.
    Mette – Italian Notes recently posted..Cocullo snake festival

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 2208 #

      Curious as to what carried you away ;)

  7. Jackie Smith 4 July 2013 1653 #

    I join with others in enjoying your travel tales and looking forward to more from Armenia! A most interesting post.
    Jackie Smith recently posted..Red, White and Blue Road Trip

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 2209 #

      Thanks, Jackie.

  8. Lisa Goodmurphy 4 July 2013 1743 #

    What an incredible setting for wedding photos! Looking forward to reading more about your experience in Armenia – it’s a part of the world that I know nothing about!
    Lisa Goodmurphy recently posted..Explore the World with Little Passports

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 2210 #

      I didn’t know much either, before I went.

  9. noel 4 July 2013 1956 #

    What a fascinating area, thanks for taking us to this heritage site, will have to put on my bucket list of places to visit.

    Wanted to invite you to a Monday photo linkup called Travel Photo Mondays on my blog, come and join us on Mondays.
    noel recently posted..Hamakua estate and garden – a photo tour

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 2212 #

      Thanks for stopping by, Noel.

  10. budget jan 5 July 2013 0134 #

    We will be looking at this famous mountain in Turkey later in the year. It certainly is stunning.
    budget jan recently posted..Exploring Lisbon on Foot

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 2214 #

      I’d love to see it from the other side of the border.

  11. Danni 8 July 2013 1820 #

    This place really looks incredible. I’m a sucker for World Heritage sites anyway, but I’m pretty sure I could spend a little time here. Really great history and legends surrounding it too!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 2215 #

      I like the heritage sites as well :)

  12. Maria 17 July 2013 1546 #

    Great shot and history lesson. I didn’t know of the angry gods legend before reading this. Thanks!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 21 July 2013 2216 #

      Thanks, Maria.

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