Mount Nemrut, Turkey

Mt. Nemrut, Turkey

Mt. Nemrut, Turkey

Among Ya’lla destinations, Nemrut Dagi (Mount Nemrut) ranks with Egypt’s pyramids and Petra for mysterious awesomeness. It’s often compared to Easter Island.

In the 1st century BCE, in what is today the Adiyaman province of south-central Turkey,  the grandiose king of a tiny but rich kingdom built this mortuary temple complex and shrine to the gods 7,000 feet up in the eastern Taurus mountains. Antiochus I was the king and Commagene was the kingdom, a Greek/Armenian/Persian kingdom in the area between the Taurus mountains, the Euphrates river and Syria, after the Greek and Seleucid Empires fell apart and before the Romans took full control.

Visit late May-mid October, July-August if you want to be sure to avoid snow (pretty sure). Whenever you go, dress warmly. Travel from Adiyaman (about 2 hours), Kahta (about 1.5 hours), or the village of Karadut (about 30 minutes). Adiyaman and Kahta have more tourist infrastructure but if you can find a spot in Karadut, the proximity to the site is a big plus. The walk from the parking lot to the summit is about 1/3rd of a mile and gets pretty steep towards the end. Donkeys are available if needed. Most people visit at sunrise or sunset for the added drama. I would recommend either (or both!) If you have to choose, pick sunrise. Words can’t begin to convey the sight of the mountains and valleys materializing below and out to the horizon with the rising light, like the world is being created before your eyes. To find yourself witnessing the earth’s unfolding in the company of a bunch of giant, disembodied heads is spine-tingley good. If you’re sharing the sunrise mountain with a crowd, hang around, most people leave within the hour.

sunrise view from Mt. Nemrut, Turkey

sunrise view from Mt. Nemrut, Turkey

What you’ll see in the light of day is a manmade conical peak, which is assumed to be the tomb of Antiochus I, although his body has not been located. Around this, colossal statues of Greek/Persian gods, Antiochus I, and a few lions and eagles. Most of the statues are seated and headless and range from about 25 to 30 feet tall. Heads loll about below, as if to escape the winds up top. Most likely they were toppled by earthquakes. They look pretty content there, gazing out at the view.

Nemrut Dagi (Nemrut Dag, Mt. Nemrut), Turkey

Nemrut Dagi (Nemrut Dag, Mt. Nemrut), Turkey

Nemrut Dagi, Turkey

Nemrut Dagi, Turkey

Click here and here to see a tours that include a visit to Nemrut Dagi.

4 thoughts on “Mount Nemrut, Turkey

  1. Pingback: NAME THAT COUNTRY Episode 12 | The Ya'lla Blog

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