Guide to SKOPJE

Our beautiful mountains: seven similarities between Korab, Ararat and Olympus

The mountains of Ararat, Olympus and Korab are national landmarks. What Ararat is to Turkey, Korab is for Macedonia not in just one way but in seven of ways. That is how many similarities we managed to find between these two mountains. If you think of a few more feel free to add them to our list.

Korab posledna ugornica

-Highest peaks. This is the most obvious similarity. With 5,137 meters above sea level Ararat is the highest mountain in Turkey and Korab rising to 2,764 meters above sea level is the highest mountain in Macedonia.

– Size of the massif. Mount Korab stretches about 40 km from north to south. It starts where Mount Shar ends and continues to the Crn Drim river. Ararat, in turn, is a volcanic mountain and viewed from above it is in the shape of a circle with a diameter of about 40 kilometers.

Korab vrvot

– Small and large peak. Ararat has two peaks: Great Ararat (5,137 meters) and Lesser Ararat (3,896 meters) and the area between them seems like a gateway. Korab also has two main peaks: Golem Korab (Big Korab) (2,764 meters) and Mal Korab (Little Korab) (2,683 meters), and has two passes in the ridge: Big Korab Gate and Little Korab Gate.

– International character (border zone). Korab is not only the highest peak in Macedonia but also in Albania. The highest point is the border between the two countries with a boundary stone that marks the location. Mount Ararat is in the border zone too. Although the two peaks and the bulk of the massif are located on Turkish territory, the foot of the mountain covers parts of Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia. The snowy peak can be seen from all four countries and is also part of their culture and traditions.


– Limited movement. As they are in border area, both Korab and Ararat cannot be climbed freely. Traditionally, several thousand climbers conquer Korab on 8th September when Macedonians celebrate Independence Day, and the event is held on the Sunday before the public holiday. For other organized climbs you should contact Macedonian border authorities. On the Albanian side there are no restrictions but it is a difficult terrain for climbing. If you want to conquer Mount Ararat you need to have a climbing permit and you must hire a certified Turkish tour guide. The procedure can last for up to two months. Climbing season is from June to September.

Ararat kacuvanje

– Easy climb. Any office worker whose only exercise is walking from his desk to the coffee machine and back and has had almost no physical activity for a year will need about six hours to reach the top of Mount Korab, starting from Strezimir border post (where you can arrive by car). The best climbers can boast with a two-hour climb to the top. Ararat, on the other hand, is no joke. The climb can take about four days spending the nights in tents on the mountain. Still, both mountains can be climbed by inexperienced climbers because special climbing skills are not required. All you need good physical condition and willingness to endure the frequent change of seasons (from summer to winter and vice versa) which will probably happen on Korab and it is guaranteed to happen on Ararat.

Ararat kamp

– Myth of Noah’s Ark. We all know the story of Noah. Since people had become sinners God decided to flood the earth. Noah built a ship to save himself, his family and he also collected a pair (a male and a female) of each animal species, from insects to large beasts. After sailing for a long time he landed on Mount Ararat. It was high enough to stay above water level when the earth was flooded. Mount Korab has got the name according to the same legend and the word “korab” means a ship. This is the closest connection between the two mountains. Their height looked so impressive to the peoples of the past that they connected them with the biblical narrative.

Korab 2 Korab 3

Olympus is a different story. It is not in the border zone and you don’t need a special permit to climb it, but it is recommended not to do it during winter. Also, the Olympus massif stretches for about 80 kilometers, as Korab and Ararat together. Still, is this mountain completely different from the other two? NO. Differences end here and similarities begin.

Olimp znak

– Olympus, like the other two, is the highest mountain in Greece rising to 2,917 meters above sea level. Its height is literally above sea level because it rises directly from the Aegean Sea and its peaks are visible from the beaches in Leptokaria and the surrounding areas.

– The top of the highest Greek mountain is also composed of two peaks: Skala (2,911 meters) and Mytikas (2,917 meters). The highest peak is reached through the lower one. Mount Olympus has 52 peaks in total.


– Mountaineers can climb to the top of Olympus on foot with no additional equipment; they just need to be enthusiastic and fit. The last meters of Mytikas peak are classified as a difficult climb but even amateur climbers can conquer it. You can go up and down in one day, although many mountaineers choose to spend the night in the mountain hut at the height of over 2,000 meters.

Korab pocetok Olimp od daleku

High mountains cause admiration around the world. Myths were told that they are home to gods or superior beings. The most famous of such mythologies is the Greek mythology with the 12 gods of Olympus, Zeus and Hera, then Apollo, Athena, Demeter, Poseidon, Dionysus, Aphrodite, Hermes, Hestia, Hephaestus, Artemis, Ares… Mount Ararat and Mount Korab have Noah but Olympus is perhaps the most mythical mountain on earth.

Goce Trpkovski