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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrRising over 6,562 feet above the curvy plains of Southeastern Anatolia Region , Mount Nemrut is probably the most mysterious and fascinating monument in the area, as well as a UNESCO Heritage Site and a refreshing overnight stop for those who like watching sunrises and sunsets.
HistoryKing Antiochus I Theos Dikaios Epiphanes Philorhomaios Philhellenos of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) had not just a very long name, but also a very mixed ancestry, both not quite unusual for his time. On his father’s side, he came from the lineage of Armenian and Persian kings, possibly the great King Darius himself, while his mother was Greek Princess, Laodice VII Thea of the Seleucid Empire , descendant of the generals of Alexander the Great. He also called himself Theos, ‘God’, possibly claiming divine nature of his rule and his ability of being on good terms with Gods of various pantheons – all of this apparently reflected in the monument complex of Nemrut mound.
In 59 BC, Antiochos was granted the title of king, ally, and friend of Rome by the senate, and all throughout his reign, assisted General Pompey in his military endeavors around the European and Asian lands. Antiochos noticed a precarious position of his kingdom that acted like a buffer state between different powers in the area, and used his diplomatic skills to form alliances and friendships on both sides and negotiate a prosperous future for his own country.
StructureAntiochos was not shy in showing his self-appreciation. As a posthumous monument to himself that would withstand centuries and outlive humanity itself, he commissioned the construction of a dozen statues depicting him, Antiochos, hanging out with the Gods.
At an elevation of about 6,890 feet, Nemrut artificial mound stands tall at 164 feet and spreads about 150 m in diameter. In 2012, ground-penetrating radar inspection showed that inside, right in the center of the mound, there might be a hollow, pyramid-shaped chamber containing a long object (supposedly a sarcophagus ). The chamber is yet to be excavated, although the fragile structure of the tumulus , composed of small rocks and pebbles, is making further digging quite a risky task.
The modern-day site consists of western and eastern terraces at the base of the mound, containing gigantic statues of various Armenian, Persian, and Greek Gods and heroes. Antiochos was not humble or shy, and was to commemorate himself as a divine being in the annals of history. Mount Nemrut complex features his own statue in the company of Zeus-Oromasdes, Apollo-Mithras-Helios, Hercules-Artagnes-Mars, and Goddess Fortuna Commagene, as well as two Eagles and Lions. Their heads used to be mounted on 7-meter bodies seated on their stone thrones, but at some point, the heads must have been taken down due to poor weather conditions and erosion.
Cold mountain nights and hot summer days, strong winds, frequent precipitation during all times of the year, and constant temperature contrasts do not create the best environment for the preservation of the statues, and much more should be done in the future to improve the conditions of the site.
TransportationUnless you organize a tour from Malatya or Adiyaman/Kahta, there is no direct public transportation to Nemrut. From Kahta town, there are minibuses going to Karadut – a small village about 7 miles away from Nemrut. From Karadut, it is possible to hire a car with a driver (60 TL) through one of the hotels, especially if you are planning to watch the sunset and sunrise on the top of the mountain. Otherwise, arrive as early as possible in order to catch some cars going to the site that can give you a ride.
AccommodationKaradut Pansyonu is definitely the best option of all. Located in Karadut village, this cozy and well-kept pension offers rooms, camping, breakfast and dinner, as well as a drive around the area and up to the mountain at sunrise.
It is possible to camp at the foot of the mountain. There are members of staff staying at the visitor center overnight and they can offer you dinner, coffee and tea, as well as a wide array of souvenirs and postcards.
AdmissionAs of now, admission to Mount Nemrut is 11 TL. Discounts for students are available.
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Author: wilhelminamurray. Last updated: Nov 01, 2014