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Mount Nemrut

Kayseri, Turkey


Mount Nemrut is a 2150 m high mountain positioned in the middle of Taurus Mountains in Southeastern Turkey. It is precisely located in Commagene of the province of Adiyaman. Commagene is situated around the city of Adiyaman in southeastern Anatolia. The mountain lies 40 km (25 mi) north of Kahta, near Adıyaman. In 62 BC, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary flanked by huge statues (8–9 m/26–30 ft high) of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian, and Iranian gods, such as Hercules-Vahagn, Zeus-Aramazd or Oromasdes (associated with the Iranian god Ahura Mazda), Tyche, and Apollo-Mithras. These statues were once seated, with names of each god inscribed on them. The heads of the statues have at some stage been removed from their bodies, and they are now scattered throughout the site.
The pattern of damage to the heads (notably to noses) suggests that they were deliberately damaged because of belief in iconoclasm. The statues have not been restored to their original positions. The site also preserves stone slabs with bas-relief figures that are thought to have formed a large frieze. These slabs display the ancestors of Antiochus, who included both Greek and Persians.
The same statues and ancestors found throughout the site can also be found on the tumulus at the site, which is 49 m (161 ft) tall and 152 m (499 ft) in diameter. The statues appear to have Greek-style facial features, but Persian clothing and hairstyling.
The Commagene region has seen many rulers. The Persians, Alexander the Great and Seleucus I Nikator ruled, until it was established as an autonomous empire by Mithradates I Kallinikos. Commagene reached its golden era during the reign of his son Antiochos I Epiphanes. This dynasty flourished until AD 72 after, which Commagene was occupied by the Romans and was regarded as a part of Syria. 
Dawn is the best time to visit Mount Nemrut and the sunrise is breathtaking. A striking contrast is formed between the ruins and the natural beauty, no wonder it is regarded as the 8th wonder.
n 1987, Mount Nemrut was made a World heritage site by UNESCO. Tourists typically visit Nemrut during April through October. The nearby town of Adıyaman is a popular place for car and bus trips to the site, and one can also travel from there by helicopter. There are also overnight tours running out of Malatya or Kahta.
The main attractions in Mount Nemrut are the East and West terraces, tumulus, the statues, and the relief. 
On the top of Mount Nemrut, lies the Hierothesion, which is the sacred resting place built by Antiochos himself. The whole structure consists a tumulus and three terraces. The tumulus is actually a structure created by piling up pieces of stone and is 50 m in height and 150 m in diameter. Though many discoveries suggest that the Hierothesion was Antiochos` burial ground, yet scientific research proves the absence of any sort of chamber or a cavity in the tumulus. 
Three terraces on the east, west and north side, flank the Hierothesion. The east and west each contain a similar row of statues and three rows of relief. The terrace also has a large altar meant for sacrifices and offerings and measures about 13.5x13.5m. On the other hand, the north terrace is void of any statues or relief. 
The statues that were a part of the east and west terrace consisted Zeus, Apollo, Hercules, Tyche (Fortuna) and of Antiochus himself. Finally, a lion and an eagle were placed beside them as guardians. These huge statues made of stone now lie in a destructed form with heads of the deities lying on the ground. 
The relief on the terrace depicts the ancestors of Antiochos I and is in an incomplete form.
Adiyaman offers excellent lodging facilities from where you could take a leisurely tour of Mount Nemrut. 

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