The summit of Kuh-e Alvand, northwestern Iran.

Kuh-e Alvand: Searching for the True Mountain of Noah and his Ark

Kuh-e Alvand is Persian for Mount Alvand.  Located in the Zagros mountains near the city of Hamadan in northwestern Iran at map coordinates 34.664167, 48.486667, the elevation of Alvand is 3,580 meters or 11,750 feet, making it one of the tallest mountains in this ancient region.

Credit:  Google Maps

Credit:  Google Maps

The purpose of this article is to provide reasons why Alvand should be considered the modern name and location for ancient Ararat and Aratta—the probable landing site of Noah’s Ark.  

Early in the research process, "holy mountains" in Turkey and Iran were used in searches to filter possible locations.  The thinking here is that something as important and significant as where Noah's Ark landed and human civilization started (again) would permeate throughout history.  Almost every ancient culture maintains a flood legend.  In Turkey, both Ararat and Cudi are considered holy mountains.  Generally, Bible-believing Christians hold Mount Ararat in Turkey as the traditional landing site of Noah's Ark, while Muslims adhering to the Koran believe that Mount Cudi (pronounced Judi in Turkish) in southern Turkey is the location where Noah's Ark landed.  In Iran, both Damavand and Alvand are considered holy mountains.

Credit:  Google Maps

Credit:  Google Maps

Comparing the geography of the four holy mountains, Alvand best fits the description in Genesis 11:2 of people moving “from the east” into Shinar and Sumerian literature describing the location of Aratta.  

Tomb of Shem

Near the top of Alvand mountain, there is a local legend that the tomb of Shem is located just below the summit.  This would be consistent with the Book of Jubilees that states Noah and Shem stayed on or near the mountain after the Flood.  Jubilees also mentions that Noah was buried on the mountain the Ark landed.  

The following pictures show what is left of the claimed tomb of Shem.  In addition to the stone walls, there are traces of reddish-colored mud bricks that are said to have been used for the top portion in the past.

Photo by A. Mahdi Ahadian 2015

Photo by A. Mahdi Ahadian 2015

Photo by A. Mahdi Ahadian 2015

Photo by A. Mahdi Ahadian 2015

Photo by A. Mahdi Ahadian 2015

Photo by A. Mahdi Ahadian 2015

Shem’s grave is located approximately 20 meters (65 feet) below the summit rock formation.  The tomb dimensions are 5.5 meters (18 feet) by 2.5 meters (8 feet).  It appears there was a wall made of stones with the roof made of mud or red clay bricks.  Some climbers of Alvand say the roof was destroyed sometime around the 1980’s by treasure hunters, and the stone wall is now shorter.  It is common to see a candle lit near Shem’s grave, especially during the summer religious ceremonies in August.


The picture above shows the distance from the edge of Shem’s grave to summit.  The Book of Jubilees 10:15 “And Noah slept with his fathers, and was buried on Mount Lubar in the land of Ararat.” In 7:16 it states “And Shem dwelt with his father Noah, and built a city close to his father on the mountain”.  A legend of Shem’s grave on the mountain where the Ark landed is just what one would expect from reading the Book of Jubilees.  Noah was likely buried in this same tomb or nearby.  The legend of Shem’s tomb near the summit of Alvand gives credence that this is the mountain of Noah and where the Ark landed.

Summer religious ceremonies  

In addition to the legend of Shem’s tomb near the summit of Alvand, every August there are religious ceremonies near the summit.  This ceremony predates the Muslim conversion of Iran.  It is interesting that one of the first tasks performed by Noah after exiting the Ark was to build an altar and provide an animal sacrifice.  

King James Bible Genesis


And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.  

The following pictures taken by A. Mahdi Ahadian show the location of the religious ceremonies that still include animal sacrifice.  Another picture shows the distance between Shem’s grave and the stone altar for sacrifice.  

Having a local legend of Shem’s grave and annual religious ceremonies near the summit of Alvand provide clues this may be the mountain of Noah.  

Alvand on ancient caravan route

Hamadan or ancient Ecbatana at the base of Alvand mountain was a key stop on one of the oldest caravan routes connecting Babylon - Susa - Ecbatana.  See map below of the ancient near east provided by Bible History Online.  

Map credit:  Bible History Online

Map credit:  Bible History Online

This is an extract from ‘ Seven Mountains to Aratta: Searching for Noah’s Ark in Iran’ by B. J. Corbin.

Featured image: The summit of Kuh-e Alvand, northwestern Iran. (Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0 )

By: B. J. Corbin


Good article by B.J. Corbin and nice photos by Madhi.

I also suggest taking a look at Urartu kingdom.

Ararat: sacred land or high land; the name of a country on one of the mountains of which the ark rested after the Biblical Flood subsided. The mountains mentioned were probably the Kurdish range of South Armenia. The word is rendered Armenia in the Authorized Version but in the Revised Version Land of Ararat. In Jeremiah 51:27 the name denotes the central or southern portion of Armenia. It is however generally applied to a high and almost inaccessible mountain which rises majestically from the plain of the Araxes (Aras River).

This part of Armenia was inhabited by a people who spoke a language unlike any other now known though it may have been related to the modern Georgian. About 900 BC they borrowed the cuneiform characters of Nineveh.

bjcorbin's picture

Don, thanks for the comments and mention of Urartu.  I am familiar with Urartu and its changing boundaries over time.  I find it interesting that archaeologists have connected Early Transcaucasian Culture with the sites of Godin Tepe and Sangalan (near Alvand mountain in Iran). Thanks to April and Ancient Origins for posting the article.  There is much more in the book that I hope you would find interesting.


In my humble opinion there is a clear connection linking today Oman with hindu Noah, Manu.
I also believe Zagros mountain as being an inicial settling place, and after Abraham (Ibrahim / Brahma) and Sara (Ma Sarathi /Saraswati) an expansion by the time of Isaac (Y'Shak) culminating with the scythians / shakias / sakas and Khazars. Giving birth to the terms Kzar in Russia and ksathriya in India. Satrapas in portuguese and Strat-egos in greek. I do relate all this with Iranian primordial place Airyanem Vaejah.

Peace, chanti, salam, shalom.

Today, with this whole 'Global Warming' story we often see maps that depict what will happen if temperature rises with a number of degrees. We see that coastal ereas are mostly hit by rising waters and not mountainous areas. So even if there ever was a real big flood some time in history, it's not very logical that a boat ever would land in mountainous ereas.
Science thinks Noah never really existed and the story of Noah possibly only is a metaphorical story. So maybe it's a more interesting question why there are these flood stories and what were their real sources. Even if there were real floods.

Maybe the story of Noah started when people found structures in the mountains that looked like remainders of boats (as some structures have been found at mount Ararat) and those people concluded that only a HUGE flood could have lifted these structures up that high.
Maybe.... :P


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