Mount Nemrut, Turkey

This view from the top of Mount Nemrut gives an idea of how high it is.

We, literally, made a flying visit to Mount Nemrut, in Southeastern Turkey, with friends Jan and Tim. We flew into nearby Adiyaman on Saturday, and out again on Sunday. At the airport, we hired a car and began our drive to one of the most spectacular monuments of the ancient world.

At the top of the 2150 metre Mount Nemrut, is the burial mound of King Antiochos 1 of Commagene, which dates back to 62 BC. It is surrounded by 7 metre-high statues of Greek gods, and sacred animals. Unfortunately, all the heads have been toppled off, and stand like the Easter Island statues on the ledge below.

David and Tim walking over the ancient Roman Cendere Bridge

On the way to the mountain, we stopped off to see the humpback Roman bridge over the Cendere River. Built in the 2nd century AD in honour of the Emperor Septimius Severus, his wife and sons, the bridge, although renovated in places, stands as a monument to Roman engineering.

Looking out from the bridge

Kahta Castle

Another stop was to look at the old castle, perched high upon a hill. This was the fortress of the kings of Commagene. It was later added to, and houses dwelling places, shopping areas, a bazaar, a mosque, cisterns, a jail and a dungeon. Unfortunately, much of the castle is being renovated, so is off limits to tourists at the moment.

Finally, we started the approach to Mount Nemrut. The road was steep, and winding, and still being built, so there were some tricky moments as the car made the climb.

The long hiking path to the top of Mount Nemrut

Once at the car park, we were confronted by a 600 metre mountainous path to the top. I realised that I would struggle to reach the summit, so I asked a waiting man how much was the donkey ride to the top. "It's not a donkey, it's a taxi", he said emphatically. So I booked my "taxi" to the top, and began my perilous ascent. Of course, I realised that it wasn't even a donkey, it was a mule, so it was able to bear my  weight. Fortunately, the man clung to my arm all the way up, so I didn't feel unsafe, even though the "taxi" teetered on the edge of the slippery, stony cliff face from time to time. (I might add that the "taxi" didn't follow the steps up, but stayed on the rocks! You can just imagine how slippery the terrain was!)

Tim took this photo of me on a Mount Nemrut "taxi"!

The headless statues on Mount Nemrut

Intrepid travellers! They all managed the climb to the top!

King Antiochos 1 of Commagene

Sacred Lion

The head of Zeus

We decided against crossing this frozen snowfield

Finally reaching the top, we admired the statues and heads on the first terrace, but had to cross a snowfield to see the other terraces. Just in front of us, some boys slipped on the icy track and tumbled down. Due to advanced age, we felt we wouldn't risk damaging ourselves by falling down on the lethal ice, so we didn't get to see the rest of the statues. Never mind! We will just have to go again when the ice has melted!

At the end of the day, we found our hotel, The Kervansaray.

The next morning, we breakfasted on the terrace, with the most amazing view

View from the terrace

Our typically Turkish breakfast. This was followed by omelettes, then fruit.

...and all around, the wild poppies were in flower.

Such a fun weekend. Thank you Jan and Tim, you were great travel companions!

Elizabeth Coughlan


  1. Great photographs! Congrat... Additionally what a taxi! :) Özlem RODOPLU

    1. Thank you, Özlem! Yes, the taxi was hilarious! Lovely to hear from you We must catch up again some time soon. By the way, I love seeing your photos on Facebook.


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