Nemrut is the site of the eminently impressive first century BC mountain-top tomb of King Antiochus I Epiphanes. Also known as or Nemrud or as Mount Nemrut (Nemrut Dağı in Turkish), the site is famed for its 10-metre-high statues depicting various heads, both mythical and real in nature.
History of Nemrut
Mount Nemrut is located in the southeast region of Anatolia, Turkey. Crowning one of the highest peaks of the Eastern Taurus mountain range, the site is the Hierotheseion (temple-tomb and house of the gods) built by the late Hellenistic King Antiochos I of Commagene as a monument to himself.
A 50m high funerary mount of stone chips with a diameter of 145m is surrounded on three sides with terraces to the east, west, and north. Surrounding the tomb are a number of 8-9m high stone statues of the king himself, two lions, two eagles, and various Greek and Iranian gods. Many of the statues are now damaged, likely on purpose as acts of iconoclasm.
Antiochus may have been descended from Darius the Great and Alexander the Great, but his own Commagene kingdom is far less well known. Indeed, the grandeur of Nemrut has proved such a draw over the years that this UNESCO-listed site is often credited with putting his realm on the map.
The site was excavated in 1881, a German engineer assessing transport routes for the Ottomans. Further and extensive archaeological research has been conducted at the site, though the tomb of Antiochus itself has never been located.
Nemrut was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
Today, Nemrut is one of the most important and visited attractions in the country. A cold but sunny site, it is popular among visitors and locals alike. Nemrut is usually visited at sunrise or sunset, which are times considered best for admiring its still-life population.
It is important to bring walking shoes, water, and warm clothes; from the car park, it is a 600m climb to the top, either by foot or by a number of shuttle buses which depart every half an hour.
Getting to Nemrut
From Kahta, Nemrut is around an hour by car via the Adıyaman Diyarbakır Yolu/D360 roads. From the bottom of the mountain, it is best to take a sturdy car up to the carpark, and then catch one of the regular shuttle buses to the top. Again, it is best to visit the site at sunrise or sunset.