Mount Nemrut

Mount Nemrut or Nemrut Dagi in Turkish, is a 2,134 meter (7,000 feet) high mountain in the Taurus mountain range of southeastern Turkey. Atop its summit is a massive mausoleum for Antiochus I (69-34 BC), the most famous king of Commagene (a kingdom north of Syria and the Euphrates river), that is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although it is believed that Antiochus’ tomb is concealed under a 50 meter high burial mound at the site, his burial chamber has not yet been found by archaeologists.

There are also spectacular terraces on the site that are littered with the toppled remnants of giant stone statues that depict the Hellenistic-Age kings of Commagene as well as various Greek and Persian deities. On the Eastern terrace are statues of Antiochus I, and the Greek gods of Zeus, Apollo and Hercules. Guarding the king and the gods are statues of animal heads, including a lion and an eagle. There is also an altar, which was likely used for sacrifices. A short pathway connects the Eastern terrace to the Western terrace, where one can find several seated statues as well as heads of statues. Perhaps the best preserved head is that of Heracles Artagnes Ares. Along with the statues, the oldest-known work of art depicting a handshake is shown in a number of reliefs around the mound as well, adding an eerie pre-modern political element to the sanctuary.


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