An autumn holiday presents distinctive experiences, particularly in Turkey, where each region blooms in color during the season. For more ideas on great fall destinations, please see our blog, An invitation to tranquility: Autumn holidays in Turkey.
Let us describe sunrise on Mount Nemrut, one of the most fascinating places in Turkey. Entered into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987, Nemrut is one of the highest peaks in the Eastern Taurus mountain range and features enormous statues built from colossal limestone blocks. If you haven’t yet decided where to go for your autumn holiday, consider an unforgettable trip to Mount Nemrut.
Getting to Mount Nemrut
Mount Nemrut, an extinct volcano, is located in Kâhta, Adıyaman. Part of the Taurus Mountain range, Nemrut is 2,150 meters high and accessible from Malatya or Adıyaman.
The ancient sculptures on Mount Nemrut are within the Nemrut Mountain National Park and located on the east, west and north mountaintop terraces.
Mount Nemrut is reached via the 100 km-long Malatya-Pütürge-Tepehan road and is approximately 85 kilometers from the center of Adıyaman. Start from Adıyaman if you wish to visit the Arsemia archaeological site, Cendere Bridge and Karakuş Tumulus on the way – visitors can drive up to the toll booths by car and continue, or park and take a shuttle the rest of the way.
Sculptures of Nemrut
Made from limestone blocks and measuring between 8 and 10 meters high, the sculptures atop Mount Nemrut were erected during the reign of Antiochos I, ruler of the Commagene Kingdom. Antiochos, the son of Mithridates I Callinicus, practiced a faith that incorporated elements of Zoroastrianism and Hellenism and these aesthetics are reflected in the monumental Hierotheseion, comprising a temple-tomb. The range of artistic influences – which include Hellenistic, Persian and Commagene traditions – have led researchers to assess Mount Nemrut as an early bridge between ancient eastern and western civilizations.
Erected on the east, west and north terraces of the mountaintop, the sculptures are considered to be among the most magnificent remaining from the Hellenistic period. As the east was considered sacred, the most important sculptures and architectural remains are found on that terrace. Although the actual tomb of King Antiochos I is also mentioned in the inscriptions, it has not yet been excavated.
On both the east and west terraces are statues of King Antiochos and the gods and goddesses who are now symbols of Nemrut. Set on a hillock, lion and eagle statues symbolize dominance of earth and sky. In addition, the oldest known horoscope in history is located on the western terrace. Carved into a stone slab, the Lion Horoscope depicts a lion covered with stars, signifying a future constellation.
A perfect experience: Sunrise at Nemrut
Sunrise at Mount Nemrut is justifiably famous. Being in the midst of a stunning combination of colors, mountaintop views and ancient structures is an unforgettable experience – and thousands of visitors come to the mountain each year.
As of October 8, 2020 – the date on which this blog was written – sunrise on Mount Nemrut takes place at 06:27. Most visitors will arrive from Adıyaman or Malatya, about a two-hour trip. The Nemrut Mountain Visitor Welcome Center is the last point accessible by car, although shuttles run up the last 1-1.5 kilometers. From that point, ascending to the summit, via a long series of stairs, takes around 25 minutes. Keep these figures in mind when planning your sunrise trip!
Another option is to spend the night in Kâhta, which will reduce the travel time to the mountain. Guides and tour services are also available in Kâhta.
Whether you visit Mount Nemrut in spring, summer or fall, the mornings are quite chilly. While blankets are available at the Welcome Center, it is recommended that visitors bring sweaters or jackets. The temperature rises along with the sun, so layers are suggested.
Summer mornings draw hundreds of visitors; you may find that an autumn trip will result in a less crowded sunrise and, thus, a better opportunity to catch the perfect sunrise photo! Have a lovely trip!
Stories knock at your door!
You can easily download images, and share on your social media accounts via your smartphone. Just press and hold the story, and save or share the image you have selected via the menu that appears.