Mount Ara, named a er the mythical Armenian hero Ara the Beautiful, is an extinct volcano located northeast of Ashtarak, on the border with Kotayk. From a distance, the outline of the mountain resembles a man lying with the hands folded on his chest.
According to legend, it is the body of King Ara, slain by the Queen Semiramis (Shamiram in Armenian), who magically transformed the top of the mountain into his sarcophagus.
Worth to Explore
The irregular sunken cone is open on several sides, allowing melted snows to form the mountain streams that feed into the Kasakh and Hrazdan Rivers. Mt. Ara has a very rich ecosystem, combining mountain highlands and steppe with traces of the native forests on its northern side. With 650 registered species of vascular plants, it encompasses an amazing concentration of 20 percent of Armenia’s flora. The mountain is recognized as a globally important habitat for the conservation of bird populations, due to its rich wildlife. Mt. Ara has excellent options for day hikes, a favorite destination for mountaineers who are rewarded with a breathtaking 360° degree view from its top.