A mountain with eyes
At the junction of the Eastern and Western civilizations, Nemrut Dagi (Mount Nemrut) is one of the most astounding sites in Turkey: A collection of colossal statues on a remote mountain 2150m high, adorning the temple and tomb of King Antiochus. Unknown until 1881 when an Ottoman geologist discovered these 10 meter-high stone heads, archaeological work began in 1953 to uncover their history.
Nemrut Mountain has since been a significant attraction, with thousands of sunrise and sunset visitors to see the stones in the best possible illumination. It has been designated a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO, and is one of the most important National Parks in Turkey. In addition to the statues, the entire site includes art from the Commagene civilisation, the Eskikale (Old Castle), Yenikale (New Castle), Karakus Hill and Cendere Bridge. Most people use the nearby towns of Malatya, Kahta or Adıyaman as a base, the road to the summit is only open from mid-April to mid-October because of heavy snow the rest of the year.
When the Romans defeated the Seleucid Empire in the Battle of Magnesia in 189 BC, many smaller kingdoms rose in the empires place, one of which was the Kingdom of Commagene. Ruling the area between the Taurus Mountains and the Euphrates River, its sovereign, King Antiochus I, led a religion that incorporated aspects of both Greek and Persian gods, and also deified himself and his family, presumably in an effort to unite these diverse people.
The crown jewel of the religious monuments Anitochus constructed in the area was his tomb/temple, built at the peak of the mountain on top of an additional terrace made of small stones. He considered this construction an act of faith that would secure his position among the gods after death. His tomb is thought to be located here, but has never been found. Many of the statues have fallen into disrepair, both because of the harsh weather and iconoclastic periods.
Fishing experience on the dam lake (Atatürk Barajı).
g2o Cultural Tip
King Antiochus who was known to be an art lover, decided that his grave should be at the summit of Nemrut Mountain and said, “Those who come to visit my grave should wear their most beautiful clothes and the most fragrant perfumes. I will give them happiness and prosperity for generations on these lands.”
g2o Hot Table
Eat at Papatya Restaurant in the city centre – Try Tarhana Soup (a product made from various forms of wheat mixed with yogurt or sour milk and dried) is made from hulled wheat.
Do not forget to eat grilled Yayın (a fatty freshwater fish) and Sarıgöz at the restaurant Zeynel’in Yeri at the shore of the Atatürk Dam.