The Great Mount of Agri (Ararat, 5137m)
Mount Ararat Standing the nearby cities of Agri and Igdir, at the borders of Turkey and Iran, Mount Agri is an inactive volcano capped year round with ice and snow and rises to 5137 meters. The Old Testament records that it was on this mountain that Noah’s Ark came to rest after the great flood. Southwest of the mountain, the Little Mount Agri (Ararat) reaches up to 3896 meters; the Serdarbulak lava plateau (2600 m) stretches out between the two pinnacles. Climbing the spectacular Agri is a challenging and rewarding experience.
In the summer, the weather in the area and on Mount Agri is sunny, warm and dry. However, in the winter and spring, cold and harsh conditions prevail, and mountain climbers occasionally face blizzards and turbulent weather. July, August, and September are the months when most world mountain climbers come to the area. Climbing up Agri is most enjoyable during this period. However, despite the usual sunny and clear weather at that time of year, high altitude mountain weather swirls around above 3000 meters. The southern side of the mountain offers the easiest and safest climb to the summit. With this route one has access to the best route communication and transportation facilities and it is safe. It is not recommended nor permitted to climb Mount Agri alone and without a guide.
The Trabzon – Erzurum – Iran International Transit Highway, an asphalt road skirts the western and southern flanks of Agri before leading into Iran. Dogubeyazit, 270 km from Erzurum and nearby Igdir, the two closest towns to the mountain, are located on this route. Planes, trains, and buses connect Erzurum with Ankara.
The area surrounding Mount Agri has retained its natural beauty. The local population still engages in a traditional life styles. In the summer months the villagers move to the “yayla”, the summer pastures, to find fresh grazing for their herds of sheep, goats, cattle and horses. Women continue to weave carpets and kilims in time honored designs; Village of Ortulu is particularly renowned as a center of beautiful handicrafts. Other nearby tourist attractions include the Ishakpasha Palace, a fabulous 18th century castle of a local ruler, and the meteor hole near the Iranian border.
Mount Agri (Ararat) became 35th National Park of Turkey with the decision of the Parliament on 1st of November, 2004.