Dramatic, spectacular and mysterious Mount Nemrut

Each day of our tour in South-East Turkey was simply amazing. Every place we visited was fascinating, beautiful, or spectacular – usually all three.

Every place we visited was
fascinating, beautiful,
or spectacular – usually all three.

In addition, we managed to tick off several places on our bucket list – one being Mount Nemrut, surely amongst the most dramatic ancient sites we have ever visited.

On top of this 2,134-metre high mountain sits a mysterious mausoleum scattered with massive stone heads.

On top of Mt Nemrut mysterious mausoleum scattered with massive stone heads.

Fortunately we didn’t have to walk all the way up from the bottom of the mountain – there is a car park about 750 metres from the summit! Nevertheless, the climb was steep and quite rugged in places.

The climb was steep and quite rugged in places

Our lovely guide Baran joined me at the tail of the group and we took the precipitous path in a sedate manner.

We took the precipitous path in a
sedate manner.

The steep climb was absolutely worth it! That first glimpse of the magnificent stone heads was breathtaking.

The steep climb was absolutely worth it!

So what were these heads doing there? Apparently they were built by King Antiochus l of the Kingdom of Commagene in 62 BC as a “very modest”enhancement to his tomb and a “gentle” reminder of his greatness and power after his death.

That first glimpse of the magnificent stone heads was breathtaking

This ambitious construction included statues of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek and Iranian gods such as Heracles and Zeus, Apollo and Hermes.

The construction included statues of the King, two lions, two eagles and various Greek and Iranian gods

At some point in the long and distant past the heads had been knocked off their eight or nine-metre-high seats. How the statues lost their heads remains an unsolved question, although the most popular suggestion is that it was a result of natural causes – a combination of earthquakes, snow and strong winds.

At some point in the long and distant past the heads had been knocked off their eight or nine-metre-high seats

The magnificent heads have remained “knocked off their perches” and never restored to their original positions.

The views were spectacular!

Another unsolved mystery is what lies under the 50 metre tumulus – the artificial embankment made from crushed rock sitting on the peak of the mountain?

Another unsolved mystery is what lies under the 50 metre tumulus

It is possible that the tumulus of loose rock was built to protect what was underneath from robbers, since any excavation would quickly fill in.

Despite extensive excavations conducted since the beginning of the 1880s, the actual burial site of King Antiochus l has never been found and the mystery of what lies beneath the loose stone tumulus still remains unsolved.

Despite extensive excavations conducted since the beginning of the 1880s, the actual burial site of King Antiochus l has never been found

After soaking in the magnificent sight of the heads and the tumulus from the East terrace, we walked round to the West terrace where there were more heads – bathed in the last vestiges of the golden sunlight.

We walked round to the West terrace where there were more heads – all bathed in the last vestiges of the golden sunlight
What a magnificent sight
The massive heads gaze out towards the
setting sun
The heads looked particularly striking in the glow of the setting sun

It was really, really, icy cold but fortunately we came prepared with red wine to help warm us as we watched the sun sink lower and lower over the horizon.

Baran found us a great spot to
watch the sunset from
It was really, really, icy cold but fortunately we came prepared with red wine to help warm us
Our yachtie tour group
Baran our wonderful tour guide
We watched the sun sink lower and lower over the horizon in the company of the massive stone heads
It was a magnificent sunset
We’ve seen plenty of sunsets at sea but very few from mountain tops!
Farewell to the sun

After the magnificent sunset we walked back down to the car park on a different route. It was rather rough in places but perhaps a little shorter.

After the sun set we walked back down on a different track

We slithered and slid down the uneven slippery path and soon were in the minibus heading for our hotel for the night.

We slithered and slid down the
uneven slippery path

The mountain lodge we stayed at was fairly basic but the room we ate in had a cosy fire and the meal was warming and substantial.

We stayed at a mountain lodge

After we had finished dinner we sat round the fire chatting and exchanging stories.

The best bit about the lodge was the open fire

A perfect end to an incredible day.

Sitting round the fire chatting – perfect!

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

2 thoughts on “Dramatic, spectacular and mysterious Mount Nemrut”

  1. Absolutely stunning…fantastic photos and descriptive wording.
    Happy Christmas (tad late) and many more wonder filled travels to you guys in 2022 XX

    Like

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