The March 2004 issue of National Geographic, now on newstands, is featuring a special 22 page story and photo essay on Armenia, entitled “The Rebirth of Armenia.” The story is by Frank Viviano with photographs by Alexandra Avakian.
Excerpts from the story by Frank Viviano:
“You are looking at the great Armenian paradox,” Jivan Tabibian said. We stood at the second-floor window of the Foreign Ministry building in Yerevan, watching clouds scuttle across Mount Ararat’s ice-capped 16,854-foot (5,137-meter) crown. Tabibian, a diplomat whose portfolio includes ambassadorships to four countries and two international organizations, was discussing a policy initiative when he abruptly fell silent, gazing at Ararat. It’s impossible not to be distracted by Ararat in Yerevan. Despite its enormous mass, the great peak seems to float weightlessly over the city, engaged in permanent dialogue with Little Ararat, its 12,782-foot (3,896-meter) neighbor.
The vast snowy brow of Ararat glowers, pronounces, with hallucinatory power. Its name is derived from that of a Bronze Age god, Ara, whose talismanic cult of death and rebirth mirrored the seasonal transitions of Ararat from lifeless winter to fertile spring. Little Ararat, by contrast, is an exercise in calm, rational idealism, a volcanic cone so perfectly shaped that it suggests not so much what a mountain is as what a mountain ought to be. You can’t ponder the two Ararats for long without drifting into philosophical reflection, and the Armenians have been pondering them since the birth of civilization.”
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