By Philip Ernest Williams of the Mount Ararat Discovery Foundation
Ahmet Ertugrul, better known to the world as Parasut (pronounced “parachute”) was born in the beautiful Isaak Pasha Palace, built under directions of the Ottoman Sultan to guard the southern pass of the Silk Road. Son of the superintendent of this famous palace situated just south of Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey, love of his exotic land and acquainting visitors with local culture runs in Ahmet’s blood. Hosting visitors from every nation, Turkeys famous explorer speaks fluent Turkish, Kurdish, English, Farsi, and has a moderate proficiency in French, German, and Russian.
Generations of Parasut’s ancestors lived in a village on Mount Ararat. From childhood, Ahmet heard stories of their visits to an ancient ship visible at certain times on the mountain but eventually becoming buried by rocks that constantly fall from the mountain. Fascinated by their accounts, Parasut trained to become a mountain climber and tourist guide. Serving as a guide for Ark Searchers, Parasut devoted himself to locating and uncovering the ancient ship that his ancestors had often visited.
Parasut came to the attention of the world in Bruce Feileffs 2001 NY Times bestseller Walking the Bible as the unofficial mayor of Dogubayazit, the town where most climbs of Mount Ararat begin. In the 2005 PBS mini-series adaptation of Walking the Bible, Parasut refuses Feiler’s earnest pleas to show him Noah’s Ark. But Ahmet had yet to access the interior of the famous ship. That happened in 2008 after teaming with Hong Kong-based Noah’s Ark Ministries International (NAMI). In April, 201 0, NAMI announced Paras0t’s discovery to the world.
When not taking archaeologists and documentary makers to the famous site, Parasut busies himself constructing Noah’s Village, a visitor center and museum complex, complete with hotels, cabins, and restaurants planned to accommodate visitors expected to be drawn to the famous mountain by his remarkable discovery.