The region's most famous mountain is actually an extinct volcano covered with snow even in summer, soaring dramatically 16,850 feet above the arid plateau and dominating the landscape. According to Genesis, after the Great Flood, "the waters were dried up from off the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry." The survivors, as the story goes, had just landed on top of Mt. Ararat. Many other ancient sources—Chaldean,
Babylonian, Chinese, Assyrian—also tell of an all-destroying flood and of one man who heroically escaped its consequences. The mountain can be easily viewed from Doğubeyazıt, although actually climbing it requires a permit that can only be obtained by a licensed agency and usually takes a few days to acquire it. Be prepared for a lot of walking on gravel, and be forewarned that the summit is often shrouded in clouds. Local tour offices will take you on a day trip that includes a visit to a village at the base of the mountain, which is the closest you can get to Ararat without a permit.
Mt. Ararat, Doğubeyazıt, Turkey