Artos is a mountain in the Taurus mountain system. Its highest peak is at 3550 meters. Its slopes are covered with mountain and subalpine vegetation. Its mountaintop offers a beautiful view of the village of Guayash (formerly called Vostan), Mount Sipan, Lake Van, and the latter’s islands Aghtamar and Arter.
Many legends associated with Mount Artos exist.
Artos is considered one of the horns of Taurus, while the other is Arnos. It is thought that when Noah’s ark sailed to Artos, he teared up, hence the name Artos. The name of this mount derives from the Armenian word “artsunk”, meaning “tear”.
The Church of St. Zarahan Surb Nshan is lying on one of the slopes of Artos. Here, Armenian historian Yeghishe, a disciple of Mashtots, is buried.
The Red Gospel of Shahpag
At the foot of the mountain, there used to be the Shahpag village. A girl from this village once saw a dream – in this dream, she saw a woman in a red dress sitting on a red horse. The woman pointed at the foot of Mount Artos, telling the girl about the gospel located there. The woman instructed the girl to find the gospel and preserve it for future generators.
The girl’s brother went to the foot of Artos to find the gospel. There, he found a deserted house with a red rooster in the corner of one of its rooms. He perceived this as a sign of God and began digging around the rooster. He soon found the gospel and brought it home. The gospel would be put in a red box, and a candle would be lit near it, turning the house into a place of pilgrimage.
Sometime later, the spiritual ruler of Van moved the gospel to Nshan Church in Van. However, after complaints from villagers, the Red Gospel was returned to the village and placed in its central church.
In 1915, many Armenians from Shahpag participated in the self-defense of Van. The remaining population was forced to leave the village and move to Eastern Armenia. Unfortunately, most of them would be caught, tortured, and killed on the way.
Climbing Artos mountain – Armenian Highland / Վերելք Արտոս լեռ – Հայկական լեռնաշխարհ