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A new travel website is now promoting summer tours to a Turkish site near Mount Ararat believed by many to be the fossilized remains of Noah’s Ark.
Many believe this is Noah’s Ark, already found on a mountain next to Mt. Ararat (courtesy: wyattmuseum.com)
Noah’s Ark Holidays, which bills itself as an “ethical travel referral website” is behind the offer, with a pitch for the location in Dogubayazit, Turkey, reading:
You will be awe-inspired, whether you have a personal faith or not, when you visit the National Park of Noah’s Ark. Many experts have examined, tested, researched, taken radar scans and recorded lengths of this incredible boat-shaped object that many people, both non-experts and scientists, believe to be the fossilized remains of Noah’s Ark. Read what others have said about it and make your own mind up. It really is a mind boggling story! If it is not Noah’s Ark, then what are, what look like the fossilized remains of a boat, the same lengths as the lengths detailed in the Book of Genesis for Noah’s Ark doing in the “Mountains of Ararat”?
While the website itself is not a travel agency, it does provide a link to one that is conducting the tours embarking from London for a price of about $1,500 for a 10-day excursion. It has already slated three departure dates of July 5, Aug. 5 and Sept. 6.
“You can literally stand and smell the history around you in your nostrils,” the site maintains.
The project partnership between Noah’s Ark Holidays and the Dogubayazit Council came about after Mukaddes Kubilay, the mayor of Dogubayazit, visited London in March.
The story of Noah’s Ark is one of the best-known portions of the Bible, and while the Book of Genesis does not pinpoint the location of the vessel, it does say the ark rested “upon the mountains of Ararat.” While some believe this phrase suggests Mount Ararat itself, others say the use of the plural word “mountains” means the ark is in the general region of Ararat.
Among the regional proponents was the late Ron Wyatt, whose Tennessee-based foundation, Wyatt Archaeological Research, purported the ark is indeed located at Dogubayazit, some 12-15 miles from Ararat.
Is this a hair from a large cat aboard Noah’s Ark? (photo: Richard Rives, wyattmuseum.com)
Wyatt’s website is filled with on-location photographs and charts promoting its case with physical evidence including radar scans of bulkheads on the alleged vessel, deck timber and iron rivets, large “drogue” stones which are thought to have acted as types of anchors, and even some animal hair inside, possibly from a large cat like a lion or tiger.
A flood of doubt
However, there’s been no shortage of critics from both scientific and Christian circles who think the Dogubayazit site is erroneous.
Lorence Collins, a retired geology professor from California State University, Northridge, joined the late David Fasold, a one-time proponent of the Wyatt site, in writing a scientific summary claiming the location is “bogus.”
“Evidence from microscopic studies and photo analyses demonstrates that the supposed Ark near Dogubayazit is a completely natural rock formation,” said the 1996 paper published in the Journal of Geoscience Education. “It cannot have been Noah’s Ark nor even a man-made model. It is understandable why early investigators falsely identified it.”
The Answers in Genesis website provides an in-depth report attempting to debunk any validity the Dogubayazit site has, and concludes by stating:
“[A]s Christians we need to always exercise due care when claims are made, no matter who makes them, and any claims must always be subjected to the most rigorous scientific scrutiny. If that had happened here, and particularly if the scientific surveys conducted by highly qualified professionals using sophisticated instruments had been more widely publicized and their results taken note of, then these claims would never have received the widespread credence that they have.”
Officials with Wyatt Archaeological Research remain unfazed in the face of such criticism.
“The site … is actually something that you can look at. Not some made up story that no one is quite able to reach but something that is really there,” said president Richard Rives. “It is a ‘boat-shaped object’ composed of material containing organic carbon, which is what is found in petrified wood. …
“While there is more research that needs to be done at the site, there is a substantial amount of evidence that would indicate that the Wyatt site is not a natural object. …
“Today, everyone wants to tell us how to think. We, at Wyatt Archaeological Research, do not do that. We just present the evidence that we have and let each individual make his own decision.”
Meanwhile, as WorldNetDaily reported in March, others who believe the vessel is on Ararat itself became excited with the release of a new, high-resolution digital image of what has become known as the “Ararat Anomaly.”
Satellite image of ‘Ararat Anomaly,’ taken by DigitalGlobe’s QuickBird Satellite in 2003 and made public for the first time in March 2006 (courtesy: DigitalGlobe)
The location of the anomaly on the mountain’s northwest corner has been under investigation from afar by ark hunters for years, but it has remained unexplored, with the government of Turkey not granting any scientific expedition permission to explore on site.
“I’ve got new found optimism … as far as my continuing push to have the intelligence community declassify some of the more definitive-type imagery,” Porcher Taylor, an associate professor in paralegal studies at the University of Richmond, said at the time.
In both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible speaks of Noah and the ark, and Jesus Christ and the apostles Paul and Peter all make reference to Noah’s flood as an actual historical event.
‘Noah’s Ark’ by Pennsylvania artist Edward Hicks, 1846
According to Genesis, Noah was a righteous man who was instructed by God to construct a large vessel to hold his family and many species of animals, as a massive deluge was coming to purify the world which had become corrupt.
Genesis 6:5 states: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Noah was told by God to take aboard seven pairs of each of the “clean” animals – that is to say, those permissible to eat – and two each of the “unclean” variety. (Gen. 7:2)
Though the Bible says it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, it also mentions “the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days.”
The ark then “rested” upon the mountains of Ararat, but it was still months before Noah and his family – his wife, his three sons and the sons’ wives – were able to leave the ark and begin replenishing the world.
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