From where it is better to admire Ararat? The monastery Chorus Virap ofto see it it to what it is known around the world come to Armenia. Some, perhaps, will answer: it is better to admire Ararat from the territory where the mountain is located. However from there this bible mountain looks not really nicely: from that party it is rather huge heap of stones of a volcanic origin, Ararat - the fallen asleep volcano.
So it developed i that nowadays Ararat in the territory of the neighboring state - Turkey, but at the same time is turned by the person to Armenia. The person, with what know Ararat around the world, it looks at the child - Armenia. Since ancient times Armenians call this mountain the father.
For each Armenian irrespective of where he was born and lives, Ararat - a symbol of Armenia. Many who for the first time personally see Ararat have some trembling and concerning feeling. In 2001 Armenia was visited by the Pope John Paul II. Having gone out of the plane on a ladder, he pointed by a hand to Ararat. This gesture is involuntarily repeated by everyone who for the first time arrives to our earth. To see Ararat it is considered a great luck, but not all are given such happiness. The Russian emperor Nicholas I on the way to Kars through Erivan (Yerevan) waited two days for a meeting with Ararat, but did not wait - more he could not wait.
Ararat is beautiful in any weather, at all seasons of the year, if it is not hidden behind clouds or a haze. In hot weather in the morning on that, Ararat is how well visible, it is possible to determine the air temperature which is expected in the afternoon: if the mountain completely disappears in a haze, then temperature will rise higher than +38, and in frosty cloudless day Ararat is visible ideally. The reason is that during a heat extent of evaporation of water from the rivers and bogs located at the foot of the mountain is high. So at a temperature of +35 Ararat seems a mirage.
So from where Ararat is visible better? From the hill of the monastery Chorus - Virap. From there to the foot of the mountain of only 300 meters, and in a clear weather Ararat is so close that it seems, it is possible just to rise easily and uphill. The monastery - fortress Chorus Virap is located in 40 km from Yerevan and is on ruins of ancient Artashat, the former capital of Great Armenia.
In 190 g BC Artashes I became the tsar of Great Armenia. The same year on the place of the ancient urartsky settlement he began a city building and called it Artashat - “Artashes`s pleasure“. Artashat was about 500 years the capital of Armenia.
The city was located on a joint of the Araks and Metsamor Rivers at Mount Ararat foot on the left river bank Araks. Greeks called his Artaksat. Plutarch and Strabon considered Hannibal involved in the basis of Artashat: Hannibal, after Antiochus lost war with Romans, passed to Artashes`s yard. It very much liked this place where there passed trade ways, and he advised Artashes to build the city. As if he even drew city map and took part in its construction. But the Armenian historians consider that this opinion is wrong and arose from - for the fact that Artashat was called by the Armenian Carthage.
“Artaksat`s near Araksena`s plain is a well-planned city and the capital of the country. It is located on a ledge, similar to the peninsula, and before its walls around there passes the river except for space on an isthmus which is fenced with a ditch and a paling “. (Strabane, Geography)
Movses Horenatsi in “the Stories of Armenia“ in detail describes construction of Artashat, mentioning an interesting detail: Jews from Ervandashat - the previous capital of Armenia were the first residents. Writes about Artashes Movses Horenatsi: “ They say that at Artashes there was no plot of the untilled earth in Armenia, neither on the mountains, nor on valleys. Such is there was a prosperity of our earth “.
Artashat had all conditions for development of trade, crafts and agriculture, was surrounded with the irrigated lands with villages and settlements. Through Artashat there passed the Great Silk way on which the Persian and Roman caravans went. At walls of Artashat two navigable rivers flew. On nine hills the rich city was scattered. There was the Armenia`s first theater. The territory of Artashat made 400 hectares, length of defensive walls - 10 km, the population - 150 thousand people.
Artashat was repeatedly destroyed: in the 1st century BC - parthians, in 58 g AD burned the city Romans. In the 66th year Neron gave Trdatu of money for restoration of the city. In 163 the Roman troops destroyed the city again. In 164 the capital of Armenia declared Vagharshapat.
At the end of the 3rd century Grigory Parfyanin (Educator) returned to Artashat from Cappadocia and began to preach Christianity. It was an imperial sort. On the hill where palaces towered, there was an imperial prison Chorus Virap (a deep hole) filled with venomous snakes and reptiles where threw convicts to death. According to the historian Agatangelos, in Artashat Grigory was subjected to tortures for refusal to worship pagan gods and for the fact that he was a son of Anak who killed the tsar Hosrov, the father of the tsar Trdat III. The tsar threw Grigory into Chorus Virap where he spent 13 long years. According to a legend, the tsar Trdat III fell into madness, but was cured by Grigory then in 301 it was christened. Grigory, having got support of the tsar, turned Christianity into the state religion. Gregory the Enlightener became the first bishop.
The monastery Chorus Virap became the known place of pilgrimage. In 642 the Catholicos Nerses of III over a hole constructed a chapel which on the design reminded Zvartnots Cathedral. The chapel was destroyed by Tamerlan`s hordes. On the place of ruins of a structure in 1662 St. Grigory`s basilica was constructed. To the right of an altar there is an entrance to that hole Chorus Virap where nowadays conduct metal steps. The hole has depth of 6 m and diameter of 4,4 m. In the yard of the monastery the church St. is located. The Mother of God (Astvatsatsin) with a belfry (the 17th century), externally revetted with red plates, has bas-reliefs and inscriptions. The fortification with round towers on which all length the dining room, cells and utility rooms are located remained.
You want to see majestic, extremely beautiful Ararat? Visit the monastery Chorus Virap. In a clear weather, it is desirable early in the morning, rise by the hill above the monastery to see as sunshine light top of the bible mountain and fall to its foot.