Aragatz Mountain


Aragatz is the highest mountain of Armenia and the forth of Armenian highland.

The mountain has four summits. The highest of them is the Northern (4090m), in the second place is the North-Western (4080m), then the Eastern (3916m) comes and the last one is the Southern (3879m). The length of foot outline is 200km. There is a crater (length - 3 km, depth - 350m) between the summits which in the south-eastern part is connected with the surrounding by erosion cleft.

The origin of the name is connected with the name of Ara or Ara Geghetsik (Ara the Handsome, who is the same Argishti King) who was the ancient god of death and resurrection. Traces of ancient primitive man’ culture and irrigation networks, huge stony fishes (vishapakar) carved in water sources, as well as the remarkable monuments of medieval architecture (Amberd, Tegher) on the slopes of Aragatz were preserved.

The mountain is divided by radiated, large valleys such as Gegharot, Amberd, Mantash etc. A lot of scold springs flow out from Aragatz Mountain. Rainwater and springs form lot of rivers - Gegharot, Amberd, Narishd, Mantash, Geghadzor, Tzaghkahovit and so on. There are also many beautiful lakes (Kari, Amberd, Lesing etc).

Here alternate to each other semi-desert, dry mountain prairie, alpine and snowy zones.

The climate changes with altitude. The average annual temperature varies from -3°C to 10°C from the foot (1000m) to the top, precipitation - 300-900mm and more. On slopes, summer is moderately warm, winter - cold.

Near summits the weather in summer is cool, sometimes cold. Winter is long, harsh and snowy. The average numbers of days with temperature below 0°C are 220. There is permanent snow cover (average - 250 days in a year).

Mountain massif is rich in grasslands and lush alpine pastures. Meadows are full of sweet-smelling flowers - violet, wild lily, poppy, bell etc. Multi-colored “alpine carpets” and snowy vegetation are characterized to the high mountain zone. There is small oak forest in the southern slope.

The representatives of wildlife are hare, fox, wolf, lizards, turtles, snakes and many birds.

Mountain massif is a shield-shaped elevation, covered with volcanic lava. Later, on the elevation was formed the volcanic cone. Volcanic crater transformed into the theater, surrounded by rocky peaks by the influence of ancient glaciations. Relict glaciers can be found at the bottom of it.

There are two versions concerning to the origin and age of Aragatz. According to the first version, it is a large Miocene age volcano, located on a heterogeneous base and which summits are the remnants of a volcanic crater. According to the second version, it is a huge brakhyanticlinal with the south-eastern distribution. Brakhyanticlinal consists of volcanic rocks of Oligocene Age.

Byurakan Observatory located in the south-eastern slope of the mountain. Cosmic Rays Researches as well as Meteorological Stations are located in apical plateau. There is also a large reservoir in Mantash valley. Here are mined building materials of volcanic origin such as tuff, pumice, perlite etc.

Aragatz Mountain closely connected with Armenian tourism. This is one of the most popular mountains of Armenian people. A lot of songs and poems are devoted to Aragatz Mountain.

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