An excerpt from this fantastic NG article on Armenia is available online. Unfortunately the photo from pp. 30-31 is not online.
Discussions of Mount Ararat seem to naturally invite discussions about Noah’s ark. This document from the “Museum of Unnatural History” has some interesting ideas I had not read about before– I have followed Ballard’s excavations of the Black Sea area and read about his hypothesis of a Noah-era flood in the Black Sea region — interesting stuff. A summer 2004 expedition to search again for Noah’s ark on Ararat is being planned for July and August. How cool is this– when searching Google for some additional photos of Yerevan, I found this live webcam page from Yerevan of Mount Ararat. This is so cool I should probably move this blog entry to the “edtech” category– but I won’t, because what I want to reflect on has more to do with history, culture, and politics than about technology. Still, this is so captivating I am including the webcam photo I just viewed.
When I traveled to Turkey in 1984 our group never got further east than Konya… but knowing Ararat lay out to the eastern horizon was a tantalizing fact and something I have often thought about in later years. Until reading this NG article about Armenia, I didn’t realize how Ararat really belongs historically and culturally much more to Armenia than it does to Turkey.
I also had never heard of the Armenian diaspora. Generallly when I think of “the diaspora,” I think of Africans taken away from their continent during the heyday of the international slave trade and scattered across the globe: principally the Americas. I vaguely remember reading something at some point about a Turkish genocide of Armenians in the early 20th century– but this article contains some startling statistics about these events. According to the article (pp 40-41), in 1913 the “empire” of Armenia was estimated to have a population of about 2 million people. By 1920 (following the Ottoman empire massacres of Armenians started in 1915) less than 100,000 Armenians were estimated to still be alive. We hear a great deal about the genocide and holocaust perpetrated against the Jews and others by Nazi Germany during WWII, but precious little about this Armenian tragedy. The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response by Peter Balakian looks like an excellent book on this topic.
When I was accepted into the US Foreign Service as a Political Officer in the mid-1990s (but turned down the appointment to become a public school teacher in Texas), I know I had aspirations of traveling to Central Asia. While my language background is Spanish and my undergraduate international studies focused predominantly on Latin America, for some reason the nations of Central Asia have always held a great deal of mystique and appeal for me. I include Middle Eastern countries like Turkey, Iran, and Armenia in this group as well. Perhaps someday I will travel there in person and blog with my own photos of Ararat.
This historical overview of Yerevan is a worthwhile read. If I had the spare cash, I would order a copy of Armenia: A Historical Atlas to better understand the geographic historical perspective of this region.
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