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Shmuel Halevi | profile | all galleries >> Eastern Turkey - An expedition into history >> Nemrut Dagi (Mt. Nimrod) tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Nemrut Dagi (Mt. Nimrod)

Nemrut Dagi (Mount Nimrod), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Turkey’s most breath-taking sights. Rediscovered by a geologist in 1881, and impressively located in a region that lies between the Taurus Mountains and the River Euphrates, Nemrut Dagi was built by narcissistic Antiochus II (69 to 34 B.C.), the king of a minor buffer state called Commagene between the Roman and Persian empires. Nemrut Dagi comprises a colossal funerary sanctuary dedicated to the megalomaniac king and two hierothesiums (open-air shrines) dedicated to numerous gods in statue-form including Apollo, Fortuna, Zeus, Hermes and Hercules. The heads of the gods (which have since toppled from most of the statues thanks to earthquakes) are outstanding works of art, and in their setting seem as mysterious as the figures on Easter Island. The peak of Nemrut Dagi itself is capped by the great shrine and what is rumoured to be the undiscovered tomb of Antiochus I and three female relatives. Attempts to penetrate the secret of this great tumulus pyramid where it is believed his burial vault lies have been in vain.