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John Fitzgerald Kennedy, often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963 (read more)

Featured Article: Amaterasu

Amaterasu
Amaterasu (天照), Amaterasu-ōmikami (天照大神 or 天照大御神, Japanese: “Great Divinity Illuminating Heaven”) or Ōhiru-menomuchi-no-kami (大日孁貴神) is in Japanese mythology a sun goddess and perhaps the most important Shinto deity (神 kami). Her name, Amaterasu, means literally "(that which) illuminates Heaven." Her myths are the most important of the indigenous Japanese faith, Shinto, "the way of the gods," a set of ancient beliefs and observances which have remained comparatively unchanged over the past millennium, despite the importation of Confucianism and Buddhism.

Amaterasu is seen as the highest manifestation of Kunitokotachi, the unseen, transcendent yet immanent, spirit of the universe. Amaterasu was born from the left eye of Izanagi, as he purified himself in a river, and went on to become the ruler of the Higher Celestial Plane (Takamagahara), the abode of all the kami (gods). Her triumph over the storm god, Susano-O, secured her place as ruler of the world. The Kojiki, compiled in the fifth century as a means of legitimizing the rule of the Imperial family of Japan, gave an account of their ancestral descent from a great-grandson of Amaterasu. Worship of the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, has survived for thousands of years in Japan as part of the Shinto faith. Amaterasu is credited with inventing the cultivation of rice and wheat, the use of silkworms, and weaving with a loom. Her most important shrine, the Grand Shrine of Ise, is in Ise, Mie, in western Honshū.

Popular Article: Mount Ararat

Satellite picture of Mount Ararat
Mount Ararat is the tallest peak in modern Turkey at 5,137 meters (16,854 ft). This snow-capped, dormant volcanic cone is located in the Iğdır Province, near the northeast corner of Turkey, 16 km west of the Iranian and 32 km south of the Armenian border. The name Ağrı in Turkish is said to be derived from Agir in Kurdish meaning fire, referring to Ararat being a volcano. This derivation is uncertain, since there is no historical record of when the volcano was last active and which tribes lived in the vicinity at that time.

Technically, Ararat is a stratovolcano, formed of lava flows and pyroclastic ejecta. A smaller (3,896m) cone, Mount "Sis," also known as "Little Ararat," rises from the same base, southeast of the main peak (Armenians sometimes call the higher peak "Masis"). The lava plateau stretches out between the two pinnacles. Its northern and eastern slopes rise from the broad alluvial plain of the Aras River. The last activity on the mountain was a major earthquake in July 1840 centered around the Ahora Gorge, a northeast trending chasm that drops 1,825 meters (6,000 ft) from the top of the mountain.

The Book of Genesis identifies the "mountains of Ararat" as the resting place of Noah's Ark after the Great Flood described in its text. The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2000 B.C.E.) also describes a great flood, as does the later record of Berossus (3rd century B.C.E.) and the Koran.