11 March, 2018 Aragatsotn Region 3156 Views

Mount Aragats

The region Aragatsotn is dominated by Mt. Aragats, a dormant strato-volcano and the tallest mountain in the country. There are four summits: North (the highest, 4090m), West (4080m), South (3879m) and East (3916m) forming the jagged edge of the volcanic crater, once a massive cone which blew itself open about 500,000 years ago, just as the first settlers began to inhabit the area. Pictograms found on the mountainside allude to this catastrophic event, which ended an era of warm moist climate and began the continental weather patterns Armenia has today. 
From the top of the mountain you can see Mount Ararat, most of the Lesser and Great Caucasus Range, even as far as Mt. Elbrus, Europe’s tallest mountain at 5642m. 

Pagan and early Christian shrines
The mountain top has several “hidden” pagan and early Christian shrines, hardly surprising given it was considered a cauldron of the gods, its brooding cone generating storms and fair weather several times a day. Now called “Armenia’s weather maker”, the mountain was worshipped by eons of pagans who only tentatively traded their belief in the all-powerful gods of Vahagn, Astghik and Aramazd for the Christian trinity in the 4th c. To this day pagan symbols and sacrifices abound on the mountain side, next to or within Christian shrines.

Legend
One legend that descends from the Pagan period— especially if the legend of the all-burning light of the Zoroastrian religion is applied—concerns S. Grigor Lusavorich, who converted the King T’rdat III to Christianity in the 4th c. In this legend, Grigor climbed to the top of Aragats to pray, an all-burning lamp hanging from the sky lighting his way down the mountain at night. Probably predating even the Zoroastrians, legends of night lights on mountains, (especially volcanic mountains) are easy enough to trace. The legend continues that the light still burns, seen only by those who are consecrated (i.e. the true believers).

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