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Climb Mount Azhdahak, Armenia

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Azhdahak is the highest peak of the Geghama mountain mass, the height is 3597m. It is located on the border of Kotayk and Gegharkunik regions.It is an extinct volcanic cone with a crater with a depth of 50m and a diameter of 500m. There is a beautiful lake at the bottom of the crater. Azhdahak consists of slag, lapilli and volcanic bombs. Most of the year it is under the snow. Slopes are without any vegetation.

The Origine of the Name

Azhdahak, Azhi Dahaka, is an evil dragon from the Iranian mythology. “Azhi” means snake, dragon. The god of storm, Trayetaona struggled against Azhi. In “Shah-Name Azhi Dahak is represented as foreign tyrant king Zohak, who is defeated and chained by Hruden.In ancient Armenian tales this mythological dragon becomes the king of Media, who is defeated and killed by Armenian king Tigran.

The Story of Tigran and Azhdahak

As a basis for this story serves the legend of the struggle between the storm god and a dragon. During the time, in Armenian tales it started to be associated with the relationships between Armenian kings Yervandyan Tigran (560-524 B.C.), Artashesyan Tigran the Great (95-55 B.C.) and the king of Media. As a storm god or a hero is represented Tigran, who is Armenian. He is kind, handsome, brave, strong, with blonde curly hair, with vivid eves and face, he is just and fair. As an evil dragon is represented the king of Media, Azhdahak.

The legend of “Tigran and Azhdahak” is based on the confrontation and struggle of these two heroes. Azhdahak is afraid of Tigran, he sees himself defeated in the dream and to prevent it in real life he marries Tigran’s sister, beautiful Tigranuhi. Azhdahak organizes conspiracies against Tigran, but due to Tigranuhi the conspiracy is crushed. Tigran and Azhdahak struggle to each other with large armies. Tigran killes Azhdahak, liberates his sister, enslaves Azhdahak’s first wife, Anuysh, and let her live in Armenia, on the eastern slopes of Masis (Ararat).

There were many vishapaqars (stones for worship of water or dragons) in Geghama mountains, which were removed from there. During the time of Soviet Union some of the vishapaqars even were removed to Yerevan. There is a garden of vishaps (dragons) in Nor Norq district. One of this vishapaqars now stands in front of a governmental evening, near “Vernisaj””.

Now only two of these vishapaqars remained untouched in Geghama mountains, near Vanki Lake. While climbing Azhdahak, you should certainly visit vishapaqars and pietroglyphes.