Looking back through my photos, now I can truly marvel at the vast beauty of the brilliant sun rising over the top of the Taurus Mountains.
But when I was actually there on top of Nemrut Dağı (Mount Nemrut) all I could think about was how freezing I was with my chattering teeth and huddled closer to my husband for warmth. Seriously, bring a winter parka, gloves and a hat if you brave the early morning trek – even in July!
|Hubby and me on top of Mount Nemrut in SE Turkey.|
Nemrut, a 2,134-meter-high (7,001 ft) mountain in southeastern Turkey, is topped with an unusual tumulus believed to be the burial grounds of King Antiochus I (64-38 B.C.), the ruler of the small Commagene kingdom.
During the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the region that lies between the Taurus Mountains and the Euphrates River was called Commagene, originally established as an independent kingdom in 162 BC by Mithridates Kalinikos I. The kingdom was at the height of its splendor during the period of King Antiochos I, who succeeded Mithridates.
The burial site, topped with man-made crushed rock, is surrounded by three spectacular terraces and a temple. The site was adorned with huge statues of various Greek, Armenian and Iranian gods, which were toppled to the ground by later earthquakes. The statues’ heads have become some of Turkey’s most iconic images, used heavily in tourism marketing, and are now secured behind a chained-off area on the site.
Unfortunately, it was difficult to capture any photos of these statues and beheaded heads without other tourists and their shadows being in them as well. Also, our hands felt nearly frostbitten and the wind gusts were so strong that it was hard to hold the camera steady.
|Here's a good view of the other tourists huddled under blankets on top of Mount Nemrut.|
Despite these difficulties, I thought it was remarkable to watch the sunrise surrounded by thousands of years of history on top of Mount Nemrut. A site not to be missed when traveling in southeast Turkey!
Few words are needed once you see the photos below.
|Finally, the sunrise over the mountains as seen from on top of Mount Nemrut.|
|Hiking down from the top of Mount Nemrut.|
|Just surrounded by mountains!|
After our trip to Mount Nemrut, now I can say that we have visited seven out of 10 of Turkey’s UNESECO Heritage Sites. We still have left to visit:
- · The archaeological site of Hattusha, former capital of the Hittite Empire, located near modern Boğazkale, about 200 km. east of Ankara.
- · The Great Mosque of Sivas and the Hospital of Divriği, 200 km. northeast of Kayseri.
- · The ancient ruins of Xanthos and Letoon near Antalya. These are two cities that made up the ancient federation of Lycia and provide excellent examples of Lycian tombs.
We stayed at the Hotel Grand Iskender in Adıyaman, which was an 1.5 hour drive away from Mt. Nemrut (GPS coordinates 37.981281, 38.740797). There also are several pansiyon located in the small town of Kahta and the village of Karadut which are closer to the site. British writer, Pat Yale, provides more info in this helpful article about how to explore Mount Nemrut.
Looking back, I’d recommend staying in the quiet village of Karadut, only 12 km. from the summit, just to save yourself from getting up so early.
Another option, recommended by my friend, is to do a homestay with a Kurdish family in the village of Yuvacali. This can be done by booking a tour through Nomad Tours Turkey. I had looked into this appealing option, but the timing didn’t work out with our schedule.