(high or holy ground), a mountainous district of Asia mentioned in the Bible in connection with the following events: (1) As the resting-place of the ark after the deluge (Genesis 8:4). (2) As the asylum of the sons of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:37; Isaiah 37:38). Authorized Version has “the land of Armenia.” (3) As the ally, and probably the neighbor, of Minni and Ashchenaz (Jeremiah 51:27). The name Ararat was unknown to the geographers of Greece and Rome, as it still is to the Armenians of the present day, but it was an ancient name for a portion of Armenia. In its biblical sense it is descriptive generally of the Armenian highlands—the lofty plateau which over looks the plain of the Araxes on the north and of Mesopotomia on the south. Various opinions have been put forth as to the spot where the ark rested, as described in Genesis 8:4 (but it is probable that it rested on some of the lower portions of the range than on the lofty peak to which exclusively). Europeans have given the name Ararat, the mountain which is called Massis by the Armenians, Agri-Dagh, i.e. Steep Mountain, by the Turks, and Kuh-i-Nuh, i.e. Noah’s Mountain, by the Persians. It rises immediately out of the plain of the Araxes and terminates in two conical peaks, named the Great and Less Ararat, about seven miles distant from each other, the former of which attain an elevation of 17,260 feet above the level of the sea and about 14,000 above the plain of the Araxes, while the latter is lower by 4,000 feet. The summit of the higher is covered with eternal snow for about 3,000 feet. Arguri, the only village known to have been built on its slopes, was the spot where, according to tradition, Noah planted his vineyard. “The mountains of Ararat” are co-extensive with the Armenian plateau from the base of Ararat in the north to the range of Kurdistan in the south. We notice the following characteristics of that region as illustrating the Bible narrative. (1) Its elevation – It rises to a height of from 6,000 to 7,000 feet above the level of the sea. (2) Its geographical position – Viewed with reference to the dispersion of the nations, Armenia is the true centre of the world, and at the present day Ararat is the great boundary-stone between the empires of Russia, Turkey and Persia. (3) Its physical character – The plains as well as the mountains supply evidence of volcanic agency. (4) The climate – Winter lasts from October to May and is succeeded by a brief spring and a summer of intense heat. (5) The vegetation – Grass grows luxuriantly on the plateau and furnishes abundant pasture during the summer months to the flocks of the nomad Kurds. Wheat, barley and vines ripen at far higher altitudes than on the Alps and the Pyrenees.
Smith's Bible Names Dictionary (1866)