Mount Ara is located on the border of Kotayk and Aragatsotn regions, between the Kasakh and Hrazdan rivers. It is an extinct volcano. The height is 2605 m. In the western part, it is adjacent to the Kasakh gorge. Due to its isolated location, the mountain peak can be seen in its entire surface and beauty from many places and high peaks in Armenia.

It is the richest in the diversity of flora in Armenia. About 650 types of unknown plants are registered here, which make up 20% of the flora of Armenia. Mount Ara occupies a large area, which is why the relief is also diverse. Steppes follow the half-walls, and wooded areas are found in the fragmented valleys.

The ascent to Mount Ara is carried out by different routes. The majority climb to the top of the mountain on the southern slope and descend through a rocky, wooded ravine to Tsaghkevank. The snow-covered Aragats mountain can be seen very beautifully from the Ara mountain.

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Mount Ara and the Kasakh Gorge from the satellite

THE LEGEND ABOUT MOUNT ARA

The mountain also has another name: The Lying Giant of Armenia. The latter is associated with Ara the Beautiful, and it is said that the mountain resembles Ara lying down. Movses Khorenatsi in his “History” perfectly told about the Armenian king Ara the Beautiful and the Assyrian queen Shamiram who fought for his love. Shamiram, having heard about the charm of Ara the Beautiful, sent a special delegation to Armenia to convey his love to Ara the Beautiful. The latter, despite all Shamiram’s attempts, had rejected the Assyrian queen.

Offended, Shamiram stood at the head of the Assyrian troops and made a strong attack towards Armenia. The Assyrian troops were gradually advancing towards Armenia, leaving only casualties on the way. Shamiram, however, ordered his generals to bring Ara alive to him. Shamiram was horrified to learn that Ara was mortally wounded while fighting on the slopes of this very mountain against Shamiram’s troops. At Shamiram’s wish, Ara’s body was found on the battlefield and brought to her. The Queen ordered that Ara be revived. The latter’s body was taken to the top of Mount Ara and tried to bring the king back through the valleys. Armenian troops themselves marched against the Assyrians to avenge the memory of the king, to which Shamiram replied that he had ordered the gods to lick Ara’s wounds to revive him. Ten days later Shamiram realized that the king would not wake up again. Desperate, Shamiram left Armenia, convinced that Ara’s soul had gone to Babylon to be reunited with the queen after Shamiram’s death. 

On the slope of Mount Ara there is now a village named after the king himself, the village of Ara.

TSAGHKEVANK

The monastery on the slopes of Mount Ara

Few people remember the first name of this mountain – Tsaghkevank. Now that’s the name of the monastery on the slope of the mountain, which is dug in a cave. The latter is famous for the water flowing continuously from its cave, which has healing properties. Usually, Tsaghkevank is the end point of the Ara mountain route. During the ascent, the quadrangle was gradually revealed in all its beauty from the northwest. Tegenyats mountains could also be seen from the top.

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Tsaghkevank
THE TRAIL TO MOUNT ARA
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The article was compiled based on observations and materials collected by the ArmLand club.

Author of photos: Artyom Martirosyan

CANYONS OF ARMENIA
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