In search of Noah’s Ark: Team begins excavation on Mount Ağrı

A team from Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ) and Ağrı İbrahim Çeçen University (AİÇÜ) has started works on a site at the eastern province of Ağrı’s Mount Ağrı, said to host the Noah’s Ark.

A large number of samples of soil and rock fragments taken from the field by the team, including geophysics, chemistry and geoarchaeology experts, were sent to İTÜ’s laboratories for examination.

“Laboratory examinations of experts will probably be concluded after one and a half to two months. Based on these results, we will determine a roadmap,” said professor Faruk Kaya, the vice-rector of the AİÇÜ, which has been continuing its work in the field since 2003.

Survey engineer İlhan Durupınar, who flew into the region in a bid to draw the map of the Eastern Anatolia Region on Sept. 11, 1959, on the land between Telçeker and Üzengili villages of Doğubayazıt district, discovered the ruins, which have become a center of attraction for both domestic and foreign tourists.

“The region has a very intense potential for faith tourism as most of the sources draw attention to Mt. Ağrı and its surroundings,” Kaya said.

Kaya pointed out that a group of researchers from Hong Kong climbed Mt. Ağrı in 2018. “They said they had found a cave and boards they claimed belonged to Noah’s Ark. Though the findings are controversial, they built the Noah’s Ark Museum in Hong Kong and welcomed over 7 million visitors,” he explained, referring to their aim in terms of faith tourism.

“We know that Europeans also show great interest in Noah’s Ark,” he added.

Europeans started the first studies in the area, Kara said, referring to Johann Jacob Friedrich Wilhelm Parrot climbing the mountain in search of the remains of Noah’s Ark in 1829.

“Our aim, as the university, is to reveal this potential, to turn this place into a faith tourism center and to revive the economy of Ağrı and our country,” Kara said.

Depending on the results, the research will continue on ruins in Mt. Ağrı, Telçeker and Üzengili villages, with new meetings between the two universities in the spring, he added.

The story of the great floods and Noah’s Ark has been mentioned in all Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

In the Quran, it is mentioned that Allah informed Noah about an impending flood that would engulf the entire Earth, and save him and all those who were with him in his ark. Noah then proceeded to build his vessel in which he stayed with members of his family along with pairs of all animals and birds.