It is so fascinating to stroll around in Anatolia – all regions have their fantastic natural environments , each of them different from each other and Anatolia is the cradle of mankind as we say . All very important civilizations passed through here since 10.000 years and left their traces behind- some are discovered but many are still under the earth . The Eastern and South Eastern part of Turkey therefore is also a very important path of civilizations passing by .Thousands of years ago this is the place where important events for mankind have taken place – it is the heart where the European culture was born and moved westward , it is the place where Mesopotamia , the Middle East and Egypt also got influenced by the Indian culture and it was hosting different folks and cultures and historical events .The script , the wheel and many others were developed in this part of the earth.
This time we are traveling to Adiyaman as a part of our South Eastern tour through Turkey in Urfa , Gaziantep and the surroundings.
Adiyaman is very well known for its Nemrut ( Nemrod ) Mountain with its royal tomb or also called Mausoleum and Holy Seat of the Kommagene King Antiochos I and its terraces around with its antique fire place and its giant Greek – Persian God sculptures and stels that we would like to see. Nemrut Mountain is about 87 km from Adiyaman and we pass by the ancient historical path of Arsameia via Kahta . Moreover we also pass by the ancient Roman bridge of Septimus Severus or also called the Cendere Bridge , 120 m long , under which the waters of Cendere are flowing with two corinth pillars at the south entrance of it .The bridge was built in 193 -211 AC by the XVI Roman Legion and is still standing here in full beauty and stability .
We are here with a group of world traveling friends and enjoying the trip .
A little further is the Karakus Tumulus which means the Black Bird Tumulus due to the pillar with the eagle symbol on top of it which the local people call black bird.
This Tumulus which has a height of about 20 m , is also part of the Kommagene Kingdom , being dedicated to the royal women .
We drive with a little bus the very steep roads up the hill – the curves are sharp here on the Eastern Taurus Mountains . Some younger students sitting at our side are really getting scared as the steep curves seem to have no end and the higher we get the more beautiful but more scary it gets since the roads are not fixed . We just trust the driver who is using this path every day.
The views are outstanding – down there are the Euphrates River and the Mesopotamian valleys .
You have an endless view , life is very slow here – time stands still.
Nemrut Mountain is about 2200 m high and people are climbing up there either in the night and settle down , wrapped in wool blankets as it is very cold and wait for the sunrise or they drive to the mountain in the late afternoon to see the historical site and watch the sunset. Both natural events are spectacular on this beautiful top of the mountain with the historical remains behind.
We arrive with our little bus at the top but there is still some way to go by feet .It is late in the afternoon and we need to speed up – otherwise we will be too late and miss the sunset.
Since the path is very steep I am looking around and see one mule (mix of a horse and a donkey ) with its owner waiting for a customer .I take the chance and sit down on the mule and we are riding the path upwards . It is so unbelievable as I really feel like in the ancient times.
The owner of the mules , a young farmer in traditional clothes is holding my hand for not falling down as it is very difficult for the mule to walk on the little sharp and pointed stones and not easy for me to keep the balance as the mule is shaking heavily from one side to the other while walking. On the other side the view on the horse is spectacular as we are high in the mountains and can see the clouds very closely – you have the feeling that you are riding on the clouds – it is unbelievable !!! So beautiful , so unreal !!! The colors are awesome , the beauty of the valleys down there , the color of the sky and the grey of the stones of the historical site that is in front of us .As it is in the late afternoon the colors are not bright but very sophisticated and the shades are very dump – it is a if you are moving in a hand painted picture – it is really difficult to describe.
Finally we arrive at the very top , at the royal tomb.
We are at the Eastern terrace and here are the thrones , 10 m high , with the giant god figures sitting on them in front of the tumulus .The site was excavated in 1881 by a German engineer , Karl Sester and in a later period Theresa Goell worked at this place for a lifetime to reveal the tomb of the king but failed .Once the statues sitting on these thrones were complete and their names were subscribed on them but later at a stage the heads were removed from their bodies and are since then spread in the site . All of them are facing the direction of the sun.
There is the the EAGLE who is symbolizing the Dominance of the Sky , there is the LION symbolizing the Dominance of the Earth, there is the Kommagene King Antiochos I , Kommagene , Zeus , Appolon and Herakles.
At the back side of the thrones there is the testament of King Antiochos , 237 lines with social and religious content . At the south and the north part of the terrace there are stels of the royal family . In front of the thrones there is an altar , an ancient fire place with a lion sitting at its side.
This is the place of the Eastern Terrace , called the Throne of Gods , where people are waiting every day for the sun to rise .
At the Western Terrace there are some reliefs of the king and the gods sitting on their thrones and King Antiochos shaking hands with the gods.
There is also a relief with the astrological symbol of the lion . On this symbol there are the stars and the moon showing the date of the 07th of July 62 BC. This was the date of the coronation of Antiochos as a king.
At this location all the people are around and they begin to prepare to watch the sun going down . I am so impressed by the historical site – as we are high in the mountains it feels as as if we are in a location in the sky .The twilight of the dusk gives the historical site , the thrones and the sculptures an outstanding coloring and effect – my goodness what a place !!!
Between the eastern terrace and the western terrace at the north cliff there is also a 180 m long path which was used for ceremonies in these ancient times .
I am so excited and try to catch each and every detail before the sun will have gone down and the whole site will disappear in front of our eyes into the total dark of the night .
The twilight is changing very fast – I am sitting there together with many people who are holding their breath to watch the natural beautiful ceremony of the sun that is a little bit hiding behind the clouds . People are so fascinated and excited and enjoy the beautiful view and take their pictures with their cameras .
The sun sets so fast – just very few minutes until the sun disappears at the horizon.
What a unique event on top of these beautiful mountains !
All of a sudden it is really dark and we take our way down the ancient path to arrive at the point where I took the mule .People are full of energy by this natural ceremony , they are laughing and talking about their impressions.
Emotionally it is not possible to drive down at this moment as we all need to enjoy our impressions and let them sink down our souls and mind.
We can sit here in the dark in front of a little tea house and have some tea or some warm wine – yes , that is just what we need .
We order some drinks , suddenly it becomes also very cold with the darkness.
It was so worth to come up the long and steep way – what a gorgeous place where I also wonder how they could build up this place , here at the top , more then 2000 years ago and how impressive !
Our trip took actually place in 2013 and I was so happy when our daughter had the opportunity to go to Nemrut for her first time in 2019 in April as well .
Though it is springtime , there is still winter on the Nemrut Mountain and the historical site is covered with white snow.
It is again a late afternoon before sunset but the whole coloring is different – all the colors are in snow white , grey , blueish and stone type of sophisticated colors mixing with the blue grey sky .
The beauty of the Tumulus and the magnificence of the thrones is just the same – really impressive .
The endless view above the mountains this time is just wide snow covered hills and valleys.
In 1987 this unique historical site in Adiyaman on Nemrut Mountain , the Mausoleum of king Antiochos , King of Kommagene became UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE .
( Reconstruction of the ancient site of when it was built )