Mount Nemrut (or Nemrut Dağ) is nothing less than a religious sanctuary that has hardly lost its glory. It’s an unadulterated mishmash of ancient Greek and Persian culture at their ambitious best. Intriguing carvings, larger-than-life figures of deities, and statues of Kings command a god-like reverence. Pyramid-shaped superstructures give an esoteric feel to the entire site that dates back to 62 BC. This World Heritage Site is certainly a well-preserved document of the “unerring pride” of the yesteryear kings.
Hellenistic King Antiochus I of Commagene built Nemrut Dağ – a Hierotheseion (tomb, temple, and house of Gods) – during his reign from 69 to 34 BC and dedicated the monument to himself. An engineer by the name Charles Sester discovered the sculptures in 1881 by chance, but the exploration of the monuments took place in 1953. The statues and sculptures of the deities stood the passage of time and were accorded the UNESCO Word Heritage Site status in 1987.
Things to do on Mount Nemrut
If you are visiting the Mount Nemrut, you are all set to travel centuries back in time. The place not only affords a spectacular view of sunrise, but also bears testimony to the artistic accomplishments of the Hellenistic regime. To explore and appreciate its legacies, travelers from around the world throng this mountain in Southeastern Turkey.
Piled-up pebbles and broken stones were used in making the ancient tumulus. Terraces surrounding the tumulus are worth observing for their Greco-Persian style and embellishments with the help of fire altars. You can never miss the heads of deities seated on close to 10-meter-high thrones at the eastern terrace. Interestingly, these heads face the direction of the sunrise.
On the terrace, you will get to see the guardian lion that represented the sovereignty of the kingdom of Commagene on earth. It is a terrific sight to behold the sculpture of the guardian eagle and statues of Apollo, Zeus, Hercules, and Antiochus (the kings of Commagene), especially at twilight.
The 237-line testament of King Antiochus, including religious and social content, also rests in this very section. The stile reliefs of the royal family of Commagene find place at the northern and southern parts of the terrace.
Attending the annual International Kahta Commagene Cultural Festival is always on the to-do list of the travelers for this is when they get to know about the rich cultural and historical values of the land.
This mountainous region has a number of tourist attractions in the vicinity. Some of the most frequented sites are Arsameia (Eski Kale), Karakuş, Cendere Bridge, Old Malatya (Battalgazı), and Diyarbakır City Walls.
Where is Mount Nemrut?
It is situated on Arsameia Antique Road and is a part of the Taurus mountain range in Kahta, Turkey.
Location map of Mount Nemrut, Turkey
How to Reach?
By Air – The Diyarbakir Airport in Siverek is the nearest airport from the Mountain. It is around 164 km from the site. A little longer than a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the airport will get you there.
By Road – The Mount Nemrut is well connected by road to the nearest city of Adiyaman. The city is only 73 km from this historic mountain and a journey by bus or cab will take just over an hour.
Since Mount Nemrut is in the middle of hilly locales, there are not many options for staying overnight near the Mountain. You will have to stay in Adiyaman. The Zeus Hotel, Nemrut Isik Pension, Hotel Antiochos, New Kommagene Hotel, Samos Otel, and Hotel Arsames are some of the comfortable accommodations to find at reasonable rates.
It is recommended to dine at any of the hotels in Adiyaman you have checked in. Moreover, for Southeastern Anatolian food (especially kebabs), you can try Papatya Restaurant in Kahta. The restaurants near the shore of the Atatürk Dam serve delicious fish delicacies.
Best time to visit Mount Nemrut
The best time to visit this wonderland is from March to May and from October to November when the weather remains somewhat pleasant and the region witnesses relatively less rains.
Facts about Mount Nemrut
- It is locally known as Nemrut Dağ, covers an area of 11 hectares.
- It is situated at around 2,206 m above sea level.
- Some of the stone blocks added to the structures weigh as much as nine tons.
- The original height of the tumulus is estimated to be close to 60 meters.
- It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
- The destination is also referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World by UNESCO.
Things to Remember
You can choose from the small, standard, or big tour to Mount Nemrut. If you venture out on a big tour, you will get to capture the breathtaking landscapes around the mountain during sunrise and visit the nearby monuments. Only a short trip to the mountain is included in the small tour.
Image Credit: Bjorn Christian TorrissenPublished On: Thursday, September 3rd, 2015