Interesting Facts About Mount Nemrut: An Awe Inspiring And Enigmatic Place

Mount Nemrut ( Nemrut Dagi in Turkish) is a monumental site belonging to the Kingdom of Commagene, a small, independent Armenian kingdom that was formed in 162 B.C.  This was a period during which the once mighty Seleucid Empire was beginning to disintegrate, allowing certain areas of its empire to break free from the centralised control of the Seleucids.
Located in the eastern Taurus mountain range in southern Turkey, near the town of Adiyaman, Mount Nemrut is home to an ancient complex built by the fourth, and arguably the most famous, king of Commagene, Antiochus I Theos (the ‘God King’).
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.
We know this ancient place as Nemrut Dagi – the Hierotheseion (temple-tomb and a house of the gods) built by the late Hellenistic King Antiochos I of Commagene (69-34 BC) as a monument to himself.
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.
Let’s now look at some interesting facts about Mount Nemrut:
1. In 1987, UNESCO made Mount Nemrut a World Heritage Site. 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.
2. The unique mountaintop shrine was completely unknown to all until its discovery in 1881. Archaeological excavations began for the first time in 1953 when the American School of Oriental Research conducted precise surveys of the site.
3. Since it was first discovered, Mt. Nemrut has undergone various archaeological excavations and also suffered from tourism and exposure to the elements after being partially buried and left undisturbed for centuries (on the summit it can get very cold, with substantial snowfall during the winter, yet reach high temperatures during the summer).
4. 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.
5. A highly developed technology was used to build the colossal statues and stelae, the equal of which has not been found anywhere else for this period. The syncretism of its pantheon and the lineage of its kings, which can be traced back through two sets of legends, Greek and Persian, is evidence of the dual origin of this kingdom’s culture.
6. 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.
7. The height of the tumulus has been reduced from its estimated original 60 m due to weathering, previous uncontrolled research investigations and climbing by visitors.
It is also important to remember that the magnificent Nemrut statues are located within a first-degree earthquake zone very close to the East Anatolian Fault, which is seismically active.  Therefore, the tumulus, statues, and stelae are vulnerable to earthquakes.
8. With a diameter of 145 m, the 50 m high funerary mound of stone chips is surrounded on three sides by terraces to the east, west and north directions. Two separate antique processional routes radiate from the east and west terraces.

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