Nemrut Dagi, Turkey Week 120 July 14th 2013
Another 5 am start.

Places to go, things to see!

A bit hazy as we passed through a variety of towns.

Every size from 4,000 to 300,000.

What do all those people do?

Some of them get up early (though a bit later than us) for another day of grain harvest.

New Holland seems to be the harvester of choice.

Finally we see some grain infrastructure.

There's a railway line.

Though the trains are quite short.
We are at about 1700m.

Still growing grain.

First we went up.

Then we went down.

Trains of course prefer flat.

Somehow the line follows us.

Hydro lake. 

Karakya Baraji.

Lots of apricots on the trees.

And drying.

We passed through Malatya about midday.

After about 400 km on good roads.

Malatya has a population of about 450,000.

This is their new stadium. Seating for 25,000.

We had a range of mountains to cross before driving up Nemrut Dagi.

The bonnet of this truck hauling timber up the hill was open for ventilation.

We had a similar problem. The new radiator cap has solved the leaking water.

I suspect the fan isn't being driven when required.

Now how to test it?

We were approaching Nemrut Dagi from the north.

Just after the village of Tepehan it looked a bit narrow, but widened shortly after.

We have one gps saying 9 km, the other 69 km.

We will soon be nearly the highest thing in the mountains.
And they are limestone.

We haven't seen any between Hattusa and here.

Looking as if eroded by ice.

And this mountain is snow covered for 6 months of the year.

In 62 BC King Antiochus I Theos of Cammagene had a tomb sanctuary built.

So far in Turkey we've seen Greek, Roman, Ottoman, and the earlier Hittite influence.

We are in Asia Minor.

Here we are seeing Persian influences.

A sense that at last we are crossing between Europe and Asia.

And of course we remember "the Persian Man" from the "Tea Horse Route".

The tumulus is 152m diameter, 49m tall.

These seated statues, or at least statues of seated gods, are on the eastern side. 

The only missing bits are heads.

Legs, feet, arms, etc, plus the seats, are all there.

The heads were probably felled due to some disagreement with what they represented.

Some have been damaged.

They've been stood upright as part of preservation.

Just in case you missed the boots.

The Gods are various Greek, Armenian and Persian.

There are also lions and eagles.

Plus of course a representation of the king.

Around the base of the tumulus is a walkway.

There are rectangular holes cut in the stonework.

To the western side.

The seats and statues aren't as obvious.

Though the heads are easier to see.


Greek features with Persian dress.

The Seleucid Empire was defeated by the Romans in 190 BC.

Commagene was a state which then emerged between the Taurus Mountains and the Euphrates.

The problem for Antiochus was to unite various ethnic groups.

So the imperial cult attempted to please all.

The bas-relief slabs depict the Greek and Persian ancestors of Antiochus.

Strangely reminiscent of Han Solo in Star Wars - or where did they get the idea from?

The base is like a Tee. This one has the leg broken.

It looked like they would stand vertical in the square holes.

A sort of freeze, or wall of figures.

There are more holes than slabs.

We couldn't find the slab depicting various celestial objects as they would have been in 62BC.

This car park is to the south.

There's a cafe.

And a walk up the hill.

Our car park is to the north. At 2,125m (about 7,000 ft).

Ne'er the 'twain shall meet.

Which explains the 180 km difference between the gps units.

When we leave we will have to find a way round to the south.

At least one of the gps knows the way.

The tomb of Antiochus hasn't been found.

We are left with the visible bits.

And some interesting shaped stones.

We are camped in the car park (normally forbidden and we don't know why we are allowed but are grateful). We'll be able to catch the sunrise.

Since we enjoyed 5am starts so much we thought we'd try another one.

A quick trip up the hill to watch the sun rise.

And look for the tablet with the celestial bodies again.

At least another look at the pedestals.

There are about 30 people waiting for the sun with us.
And eventually it obliged.

All a bit odd really, though I guess in the days the monument was built it was still thought that the sun revolved around the earth.

Slowly the western monument was lit.
Then a bit more.
Then the heads of Antiochus, the gods, the eagle, and the lion.
And as we beat a hasty withdrawal the tumulus was lit.
So down the narrow track.
We are headed north rather than south.

We'll drop down in to the valley then up and over the next range.

There's little surface water but the valley floors support trees and agriculture.
As do some of the hillsides.
The valley we cross has a flat gravel bottom with signs of a braided river.
And things growing.
Quite spectacular in the early morning light.

We aren't used to seeing surface water.

So we drove up the other side.

Sadly, the road we thought went over the top doesn't exist.

So we are on a road which stays at the same altitude round the edge of the range.

But did get to look back at Nemrut Dagi.

About 25 km away.

The valley has been flooded through damming.
And our road deteriorated.

One gps thinks its a dead end.


We can see the road along the mountainside.

Kale (and the main road) is just around the corner.

Down at lake level.

As the lake fills part of the plain.
Tortum Golu, Turkey Week 120 July 14th - 17yh 2013

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