Nemrut Dagi (Mount Nemrut)

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September 19th 2011
Published: September 30th 2011
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The next day Mehmet had a trip organised for us to Nemrut Dagi (Mount Nemrut). It turned out to be a 450 km round trip, which was a long day but truely well worht it. Mehmet's car is Air Conditioned so the driving was fine. It was the hiking to and walking around the sites in 38 - 40 deg that got to us.

Nemrut Dagi is in Nemrut Dagi National Park and to get there we had to cross the Euphrates River by Ferry Boat. I remembered the Euphrates River from my Sunday School teachers as it was one of the 4 rivers that flowed out of the Garden of Eden.
I am not particuarly religious but it made me think as we chugged across the river on the ferry boat, that the countryside around us didn't look much like the Garden of Eden I had read about. We were surrounded by high barren, dry mountains.

The roads were busy as it was a holiday weekend and families were out for picnics. The Ferry was running an hourly schedule and we were lucky that the boat was just coming in as we approached the road end, we were the second to last vehicle to make it on. Mehmet stayed in the car on the deck as we were so jammed in that he couldn't get out of the car

Sheryll and I went upstairs and sat with the mainly local travellers as we slowly chugged towards the far bank of the Euphrates River

From here we travelled on, climbing most of the time until we approached Nemrut Dagi, then the road rose steeply, most of the mountain roads we have travelled on are paved with modern cobble bricks not like the old fashioned cobble stones that have been in most of the villages we had travelling through

We parked at the very high tea house at the end of the road, we were there quite early in the day so there wasn't too many tourists around.
Nemrut is 2150 meters high and I am sure we had to climb the last 1000 up a goat track, well that's what it felt like. After leaving the tea house we came across two donkeys saddled and tied up at the rear of the house.

I couldnt find where to put the coin in so left it and decided to walk (Just kidding). You are probably saying what is so great about Nemrut Dagi, to do a 450 km round trip, hardly Mt Ruapehu type stuff eh.

I will quote a few facts fron various travel guides:

King Antichus the 1st who was a ruler of this Kingdom between 64 and 38 BC had statues of himself and vaious gods made on the top of this mountain, then ordered an artificial mountain peak of crushed rock 50 meters high to be piled between them. It is believed that the Kings tomb lies beneath the crushed rock.

Big deal, I thought but then you look at where you are and try to imagaine how on earth they managed to do this. Unfortunately the heads have falledn off the bodies of the statues so you dont get quite the impression of the size of the statues.

Sheryll and I stayed at the site for an our or so scrambling over the parts that were open and taking in the endless views across this barren countryside that one of the rivers of the Garden of Eden flows through.

On the way home we called into a couple of other sites, The photo of the bridge is Cendere Bridge a humpback bridge buit in the 2nd century AD, The road bypasses it now but is truely an amazing piece of engineering, families were picnicing and swimming under the bridge.

Our next stop was at Karakus Tumulus which is a burial mound and there is several columns.

We stopped for a drink at the tea house and I noticed that the owner had a pommegranite tree in his garden, I asked him about it and he offered to pick a fruit for Sheryll, I felt bad as it was only one of two on the young tree but he insisted all the time Mehmet was translating back and forth. The pommegranite was cut open and the sweet seeds removed to be crunched and sucked on.

Next on the list was Arsameia, we walked to a stone relief that portrays Mithridates 1 shaking hands with the God Hercales, this is in perfect condition consideraing it was made around 80 BC.

On our return to the village we were suprised to find Alison at the homestay waiting to meet us. We had corresponded with her many times by Skype but up till now had not actually met her, so it was good to put a face to the voice, her two children India and Lulu were with her, Lulu was asleep but India enjoyed the extra company.

You will note that we are getting way behind with our blogs as there is not enough time in the days, especially the evenings to get them finished, so the next few areas we passed through were not as noteworthy as where we had already been so I might just add a few photos and a small amount of text

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