Conqueror of Mt. Ararat (eng)

Johann Jacob Friedrich Wilhelm Parrot










Johann Jacob Friedrich Wilhelm Parrot

(14 October, 1792 – 15 January, 1841)

Parrot was born in Karlsruhe, Germany. He studied medicine and natural science at the University of Tartu in Estonia and, in 1811, he undertook an expedition to Crimea and the Caucasus with Maurice Engelhardt. There he used a barometer to measure the difference in sea level between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.

Upon his return, he was appointed an assistant doctor and, in 1815, surgeon in the Russian army. In 1816 and 1817, he visited the Alps and the Pyrenees.

In 1821, he became a professor of physiology and pathology, then in 1826 a professor of physics at the University of Tartu, and in 1828 Parrot undertook another voyage to Kakheti and Armenia. In 1837 he went to Tornio in northern Finland to observe the oscillations of a pendulum and terrestrial magnetism. He invented a gasometer and a baro-thermometer. He popularised the Catalonian sundial, a small, cylindrical, pocket-sized instrument, approximately 8 cm in length and 1.5 cm in diameter.

On 9 October 1829, whilst a professor of physics at the University of Tartu, Parrot, a pioneer of scientific mountaineering, reached the summit of Mount Ararat (5 137 m) along with Khachatur Abovian (who later became an iconic Armenian poet) and three other students. This event is also remembered as the beginning of the Estonian alpinism tradition. His ascent to mythical Mt. Ararat raised great interest in all of Europe. At that time it was believed that the remains of Noah’s Ark can be found on top of the mountain, and that was definitely one of the main reasons that motivated Parrot to go there. His book about the expedition and the conquest of Mt. Ararat, Journey to Ararat (Reise zum Ararat) was published in 1834. From 1831 to 1834 he was the rector of the University of Tartu.

Parrot died in Tartu and he is buried there in Vana-Jaani Cemetery. He was survived by his daughter, Anna Magaretha Parrot, who married Conrad Jacob Strauch. Their descendants now reside in Australia.[edit]

Compiled by Vahur Luhtsalu


2 Responses to “Conqueror of Mt. Ararat (eng)”

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