An Amazing Place and Several Roads to Nowhere

Turkey's flag
Middle East » Turkey » Southeastern Anatolia » Mount Nemrut
September 26th 2013
Published: September 28th 2013
Edit Blog Post

It was a good start to the day, the previous night Ian had given one of his lighters to the Manager at the site (certain colours on it which the Kurd’s have a link to, we have given away a few of these in the past!) and we were offered a free breakfast.

Woolly says – I was straight to the buffet table to collect my hard boiled eggs, bread, melon and grapes, I left the salad for someone else. Fed and watered we finished packing up and hit the road. Ollie would need some fuel but we decided to leave it for a bit, that was the first mistake of the day. After trying several petrol stations with each telling us ‘No Benzene’, we carried on for a while but realising that we were heading upwards and into the mountains. We became a little concerned that no more fuel pumps would be forthcoming (this proved to be true!) Turning Ollie round we thundered back through the 35KM we had already covered to the petrol station next to Hotel Camping.

With Ollie full we headed off again back through the roads already seen that morning before picking up the signs for Nemrut Dag or Mount Nemrut to us. Since viewing this place online we had been very excited about visiting it.

Woolly says - One of the highest peaks of the Eastern Taurus mountain range Nemrut Dag is a temple-tomb and house of the gods, built by the late Hellenistic King Antiochos I of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) as a monument to himself. I think there should be a monument to me!

As Woolly sat planning his monument we wound higher and higher towards the mountain top, tarmac gave way to a brick road and with the altitude Ollie was making slighter heavy weather of the climb. Up and up we went, the landscape became rocky and the views showed miles and miles of the surrounding regions. We spotted the car park from below and were very grateful we didn’t have Georgie (our old Motorhome) as she would never off made it. And still we climbed, we arrived at a barrier and paid our 9TL each (approximately £3.00 GBP)…..and still we climbed!

Woolly says – at last we made it to the car park, Jo got out of Ollie to get her trainers and promptly jumped back in again to get her hoodie, the wind was blowing well and the temperature had dropped 12 degrees to 17, I knew I should have got my scarf out. Booted and huddled in winter tops we started our ascent to the peak. This was no mean feat, we climbed step after step after step before moving onto a rock and gravel base path, it was a hard climb and we stopped five times just to catch our breath.

I’m not sure why Woolly thought it was a hard climb he got carried!! We could see a large mound of stone chips and as we paused one last time peaking over the top was the West Terrace and the Stone Heads of Nemrut. Words fail to describe our first view, mega awesome is probably the closet. We sat down on one of the rocks and surveyed our surroundings. Five giant bodies of seated limestone statues stood behind their dismembered heads, they represent King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian, and Iranian gods. Each would have stood at over 9 feet high when completed.

Woolly says – they were incredible and it was easy to identify which statue was which as they have stayed so well preserved since the 1st Century BC when they were constructed. We made our way round the shale mound wondering what lay beneath to the Eastern terrace where even more heads awaited us along with carved pictures depicting the wonderful things that the King had achieved in his lifetime. I was almost sorry to leave and could have stood for much longer just looking at the wonders in front of me.

Making our way back down was far easier and a lovely cup of coffee and a chat with the manager of the site was a lovely end to this UNESCO site. All we can say is if you are ever in Turkey make the effort to go and visit, it’s worth every last breath. Having shed our extra layers we set off back down the windy roads and headed off to what we thought was the road through the mountains, second mistake of the day.

Woolly says – we arrived at a ferry point, Jo went and asked about the times and came back with the information that yes there was a ferry and it would arrive….sometime. Not helpful and rather than waiting an indefinite amount of time we decided to try going over the mountains, that was our third mistake of the day. The road started well with tarmac on it, I like tarmac, quickly changing to gravel Ollie kept going, I closed my eyes to avoid looking at the eye watering drops on Jo’s side of the car. The road got thinner and the bends tighter and tighter, hair pins were easy compared to this. We paused for a quick photo of Yeni Castle perched high on a rock above us, no chance of the enemy invading there! Up and up we went. The road was dropping away in places and silence rained heavily in the car. We spotted a signpost for Matalaya our destination and took the sheer incline that it directed us to.

The road went to dirt track and was so steep that even our faithful 4 x 4 was struggling, the sat nav told us we had seven and a half kilometres of this, we said no way and headed back down. Back through all the twists and turns clinging onto the side of the mountain we made it back to the main road and set off down the next road James gave us. The road led us straight to Septimus Severus Bridge, a beautiful Roman construction with columns at each side of it. Having taken a few shots we climbed back into Ollie when a man approached us, asking where we were from and the usual types of questions we get. Asking where we were headed he told us that the road behind us would lead us straight there and only take an hour, fourth mistake of the day.

Woolly says – off we went, even Ollie was getting a bit tired of the mountains now, but we had a lovely tarmac road which went on and on and on, oh yes we thought, at last we might make it in time for tea. We reached a small town and the road stopped except for three narrow dirt tracks! We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, Jo went for both, Ian sat there looking glum and I didn’t think it was a good moment to mention that I was rather hungry!

Ignoring Woolly we trundled back the way we had come, enough we said and headed straight back to the road by Hotel Camping where we had started our day. We had been on the road since 9am and by 4.30pm we had driven nearly 400KM and not got anywhere! We decided to be brave and travel an extra 30KM to Aniyaman and settle on a room for the night, enough is enough for one day. The Somas hotel is very modern and for 150TL (approximately £50 GBP) we had a lovely room with breakfast and dinner included, that was the last mistake of the day.

Woolly says – we caught the lift to the eighth floor restaurant at 7.30pm for dinner as instructed by reception and were seated at a table for 50! Maybe we had been invited to a party! While I was wishing for my bow tie, ten minutes ticked by and then another ten so Jo asked if we could have our dinner, the waiter looked surprised and indicated the other empty seats. Jo smiled sweetly and indicated her stomach, the waiter didn’t look impressed but disappeared returning with some soup for us, we had no idea what it was but it tasted quite nice. As they were collecting the bowls Jo told them that she was a vegetable and had told reception, ‘ah yes’ said the young waiter. Our plates arrived with rice a rather large chilli and lamb stew for me and Ian, Jo received the same but was told it was meatless. Once she had poked and prodded around for a moment or two she found meat (go on you knew that was going to happen), calling the waiter back she explained again that she is a vegetarian and off went the waiter with her plate. A few minutes later and what appeared to be the same meal arrived back, Jo explained again and pointed out that removing the meat did not make it edible for her and asked vey politely if they would cook food for Muslim’s in pork juices! Communication ceased at this point while the waiter went round the now 40 plus table telling everyone.

The floor opening up would have worked well at this point and with everyone pointing at me embarrassment was a plenty. Finally a young man came over and between us and our Turkish phrase book we managed to ascertain that mushrooms were good. A mushroom and onion dish arrived and bolting it down as quickly as possible we made a run for it.

Woolly says – I didn’t even get pudding! I tried sulking but they ignored me, hopefully tomorrow will bring the joy back into our lives!

Additional photos below
Photos: 36, Displayed: 28


28th September 2013

I am so envious right now. I so want to go there! Next year I hope I can go too. /Ake
28th September 2013

It's a must see
It was worth every breath to get there, definitely one of the best places I have been to. Would be great to see you get there.
29th September 2013

Thanks Woolly!
I was in Turkey in 1992, but travelling to Nemrut Dag was not recommended by the Kurds due to the kidnappings in the area at the time. Thank you for showing me a part of Turkey that I missed. Did you see any camel statues? If not, my favourite is the eagle one - very noble looking.
29th September 2013

My Pleasure
Glad to be of help Travel Camel, I didn't find any camels on that day but I posted some which were on the day before's blog. I liked the Lion best!

Tot: 1.861s; Tpl: 0.028s; cc: 14; qc: 33; dbt: 0.0276s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb