Mouradian: The Two Sides of the Mountain

Paintings of Mount Ararat hang in the homes of many Armenians, and photographing (or posing with) the mountain is ever popular with visitors of the homeland.

I have often reflected on its never-eroding magnetism for generation after generation of Armenians. Thousands of paintings, writings, and songs later, our journey with this beloved rock still offers twists and turns worth exploring.

Mount Ararat (Photo: Rupen Janbazian)
Mount Ararat (Photo: Rupen Khajag)

Sitting at the base of the mountain one evening a few years ago, the obvious suddenly dawned on me: When Armenians look at Ararat from Yerevan, they are not just staring at the mountain itself, but beyond it—they are, indeed, looking at historic Western Armenia.

Yet the view from the Turkish side—the heart of the Armenian homeland—is no less symbolic of the journey that lies ahead of us as a nation.

Standing here, in what is today’s Turkey, among ruins of Armenian cultural heritage, and looking at Ararat, I was not merely gazing at the mountain; I was looking at the republics of Armenia and Artsakh.

I was looking at a portion of the homeland where the schools and churches were not in ruin, where the nation thrived, and where we are more than tourists.

And the message was right there, imposing and overwhelming like Ararat on a clear day: Without bolstering the homeland east of the mountain, we will never achieve justice west of it.

Without a strong, prosperous, and democratic Armenia and Artsakh, there is little to look forward to on either side of the mountain.

That is what the mountain, if it could speak, would whisper in our ears as it poses with us for a photograph.


Dr. Khatchig Mouradian

Dr. Khatchig Mouradian

Khatchig Mouradian is the Armenian and Georgian Area Specialist at the Library of Congress and a lecturer in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. He also serves as Co-Principal Investigator of the project on Armenian Genocide Denial at the Global Institute for Advanced Studies, New York University. Mouradian is the author of The Resistance Network: The Armenian Genocide and Humanitarianism in Ottoman Syria, 1915-1918, published in 2021. The book has received the Syrian Studies Association “Honourable Mention 2021.” In 2020, Mouradian was awarded a Humanities War & Peace Initiative Grant from Columbia University. He is the co-editor of a forthcoming book on late-Ottoman history, and the editor of the peer-reviewed journal The Armenian Review.
Dr. Khatchig Mouradian

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  1. Very good article. To me the mount Ararad is like our godess given to us by our Creator and the Creator of the univers.

  2. If and when Turkey cleans out their corrupt government, only then will things possibly change and Western Armenia will be on a slow road to being lived in by Armenians again and to have the beautiful view of Mount Ararat seen from the other side.

    • Turkey’s government might not be perfect, but doing business in Turkey is MUCH easier and MUCH less corrupt than in Armenia. This is a tragedy.

  3. We are in Armenia now for our daughter’s baptism – leaving our successful jewelry business in Istanbul at a critical time. All we think about every time we visit Armenia is “Why don’t we manufacture here? Why can’t we support Armenians in Armenia with jobs in a historically Armenian field?” We are told over and over the immense barriers to manufacturing – from importing raw materials to exporting goods. This is a real problem. It is a disgusting problem actually. Why are there so many barriers to helping MY own people?
    Armenians – whether diaspora, living in The Republic of Armenia, Artsakh, or Turkey need to bolster Armenia proper with jobs – with support for transparency in government.

  4. Vow to Mount Ararat
    by: Antranig Zarougian, (22 years old then)
    Translated: Vahe H. Apelian

    We will reach, Holy Mountain, your Summit,
    When the flood of bombs end,
and the sea of blood wears rainbow

When the slain dove of peace.

Returns from the abyss of horrors

    With the olive branch in its beak,

    We will reach your Summit….

    From cities, thoroughfares, plains,
    From the garish depths of exile,
    Will our daring ranks storm
    For the sake of our forefathers’ sacred vision
    Will tear down separating us
    All the black walls of fate
    We will reach our waters and soil
    Trumpeting the longing most sanctified
    We will reach, should suns crumble
    Should the paths be hellish and bloody
    We will reach your Summit

    See our ranks jubilant and brave
    See our longing sprinting like Vahakn
    See our soul, clean as your snow
    And our resolve, see, hard like your rocks
    And believe, Oh god of granite
    Holly Mountain, believe
    We will reach your mountaintop.

  5. MARIAM :

    There were dozens if not hundreds of Spuerka Hay and Armenia loving Europeans that also intended to support Armenia. A very few succeeded; the majority gave up totally disappointed. The problem is not the import of goods or raw material: The problem are the bribes you have to pay at every corner. This Clique of ruling Oligarchs is just too unintelligent to understand that building factories and organizing firms is supporting the whole Armenian people – INCLUDING the Oligarchs. Believe me it is easier to teach a pig to whistle than to change these Oligarchs.

  6. As long as blood suckers oligarchs, considered the ELITE of Armenia monopolize the economy there is no hope of succes in business for the Diasporan Armenians……..

  7. Viewing Armenia from both sides of Mt. Ararat is great, but when will the Armenian Government bring forth to the United Nations to return Armenia’s Historic Lands in Western Armenia. People forget that Kemal Attaturk & Lenin whom were illegal dictators that took over their governments illegally are never brought forward for serious discussion along with the Treaty of Sevres signed by Turkey, Armenia, & 16 other nations after the 1st World War which is still a valid treaty. The Diaspora Armenian Organizations from around the world should bring forth this serious issue before the Armenian Government to the United Nations. We are lacking help on this issue.

  8. I think the current government have too much on their plate at this time to formally ask that Sevres be honored. Plus Russia i’m afraid would discourage it as being ‘unnecessary’. That being said, if there was ever a country on God’s earth that should demand that a treaty be honored and the lands returned to them it is Armenia and the Armenians. I wish they would do it.

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