Mount Ararat, located just south of Armenia's border in Turkey, is an impressive dormant volcano that rises from the valley floor around 3500 feet in elevation to a peak at almost 17,000 feet. This peak, on a clear day, dominates the landscape in Yerevan as one looks south, and shows up all over Yerevan and Armenia in various brand names, restaurants, and other images of Armenia. If you are familiar with mountains in the US, you usually don't see a mountain with a rise from the plain of more than about 5000 or 6000 feet. (Mount Wilson, to the North of Pasadena, rises from 300 feet to a height of 5700 feet. Pikes Peak, near Colorado Springs, rises from 6035 to about 14,000 feet for an impressive rise of 8000 feet over about 15 or 20 miles.) But Mount Ararat rises about 13,500 feet in the same distance, and so dominates the land the way no mountain you have ever seen in person dominates it. It is tremendously impressive sight, and no wonder that it takes an outsize place in the minds of Armenians and Armenia's national pride.
Until World War 1, Ararat was in the Russian Empire (which most of Armenia had been in for a century or more) but to make peace with the new state of Turkey, Russia gave Turkey the land that had been Armenian which included the mountains of Ararat. We heard (more than once) the story of the Turkish foreign minister who asked, "Why is Ararat on your coat of arms? You don't own it." To which the Armenian foreign minister said, "Why is the moon and star on your flag? You don't own them!" [Note the mountain with the ark sitting atop it in the center of the coat of arms.]
Rich and Lisa Lamb