Watch the sunrise amid monumental sculptures on Mount Nemrut

 The summit of Mount Nemrut is one of the most beautiful places in Türkiye to watch the sun rise and set, with panoramic views of the vast plains and the Euphrates River. What makes this majestic 2,150-metre-high mountain even more extraordinary are its monuments to the Commagene Kingdom – towering limestone-block statues that have stood there for two millennia. Erected by Antiochus Theos I (69-36 BC), a king who successfully fought the Roman empire and sought immortality, these sculptures have inspired legends since antiquity. Now among the most popular routes for adventurers, Nemrut, the mysterious summit of Adıyaman, never fails to captivate visitors.

The Magical Heritage of the Ancient World

Mount Nemrut, included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987, is one of the most impressive peaks in the world. Mount Nemrut is an extinct volcano in the Kâhta district of Adıyaman, a south-eastern Anatolian province in Türkiye that has been home to civilisations and cultures throughout history. Standing at 2,150 metres, Nemrut offers stunning vistas from Malatya and Adıyaman. The journey to Nemrut holds its magic, and once you reach the summit, a mesmerising scene unfolds. Enormous sculptures ranging in size from eight to 10 metres are made of limestone blocks, some weighing up to nine tons. Approximately two thousand years old, the statues were erected by Antiochus within his funerary sanctuary, grouped around the entire area above his burial chamber. As an ancient world project unparalleled in scope and design complexity, these colossal stone monuments mark a tribute from Antiochus, expressing gratitude to the gods and his ancestors, including his Persian father and Hellenic mother.

 

On the path to Mount Nemrut’s summit, visitors are welcomed by sculptures in three groupings: east, north and west. While the northern tumulus was not fully completed, the terraces in the east and west have been preserved. The eastern terrace houses the Gallery of the Gods, the Gallery of the Ancestors, and the altar. At the same time, the central sculpture group consists of five deities representing the pantheon of his newly established religious cult, a blend of his ancestry. A lion and an eagle stand to either side of these figures, protecting them. The lion, the king of animals, symbolises earthly power, whereas the eagle, the gods’ herald, represents heavenly power. The sculptures on the west terrace are almost identically arranged. While the thrones on the east terrace are more intact, the heads of the statues on the west terrace are better preserved. This terrace also houses a statue of Antiochus I, King of Commagene, statues of various deities, particularly Zeus, and relief steles of Persian kings. Although the inscriptions state that Antiochos’ tomb is also here, the king’s tomb has not yet been found. The western terrace of Mount Nemrut houses the relief steles of the Macedonian kings of the Commagene Kingdom, as well as the relief of the lion’s zodiac sign, which is believed to be the world’s oldest astrological calendar.

 

A Perfect Experience: Sunrise and Sunset

This summit is one of the most beautiful places on the planet and a one-of-a-kind location for watching breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Every year, during the most beautiful hours of the day, tens of thousands of visitors ascend the summit to observe the entwining of gold, crimson and azure hues against an infinite horizon line. Remember that whatever the season, the summit of Mount Nemrut is often chilly at sunrise and sunset – it is advisable to wear warm clothing.

 

More from Adıyaman…

While visiting Mount Nemrut is one of the most unique experiences of a lifetime, Adıyaman also has other charms. The region’s unique natural and cultural heritage presents an exceptional travel destination. Among the historical sites in the area are the Karakuş Tumulus, Cendere Bridge and Arsemeia Ancient City.  Other significant points are the Gerger Castle on the west bank of the Euphrates River and the ancient city of Perre, one of the five principal cities of the Commagene Kingdom and north of the Adıyaman city centre. Due to its distinctive culinary culture, Adıyaman is one of Türkiye’s most preferred gastronomic destinations.

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