Nemrut or Nemrud (Turkish: Nemrut Dağ or Nemrut Dağı) is a 2,134 m (7,001 ft) high mountain in southeastern Turkey, notable for the vast statues at a 1st century BC tomb on its summit.
The mountain lies 40 km (25 mi) north of Kahta, near Adıyaman. In 62 BC, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary flanked by huge statues (8–9 m/26–30 ft high) of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian and Persian gods, such as Hercules-Vahagn, Zeus-Aramazd or Oromasdes (associated with the Persian god Ahura Mazda), Tyche, and Apollo-Mithras. These statues were once seated, with names of each god inscribed on them. The heads of the statues are now scattered throughout the site; the pattern of damage to the heads (notably to noses) suggests that they were deliberately damaged because of belief in iconoclasm. The site also preserves stone slabs with bas-relief figures that are thought to have formed a large frieze. These stones display the ancestors of Antiochus, who included both Macedonians and Persians.
The same statues and ancestors found throughout the site can also be found on the tumulus at the site, which is 49 m (161 ft) tall and 152 m (499 ft) in diameter. The statues have the likeness of Greek facial features, in conjunction with Persian clothing and hairstyling. The western terrace contains a large slab with a lion, showing the arrangement of stars and the planets Jupiter, Mercury and Mars on 7 July 62 BC, the possible time when construction began on this monument. The eastern portion is well preserved, being composed of several layers of rock, and there is evidence of a walled passageway linking the eastern and western terraces, from a path below at the foot of Mount Nemrut. Possible uses for this site might have included religious ceremonies, due to the astronomical and religious nature of the monument.
The arrangement of such statues is known by the term hierothesion. Similar arrangements have been found at Arsameia on Nymphaios at the hierothesion of the father of Antiochus, Mithridates I Callinicus.
This tomb was excavated in 1881 by Karl Sester, an engineer from Germany. Subsequent excavations have failed to reveal the tomb of Antiochus. However, this is still believed to be the site of his burial. In 1987, Mt. Nemrut was made a World heritage site by UNESCO. Tourists typically visit Nemrut during June through August. The nearby town of Adıyaman is a popular place for car and bus trips to the site, and one can also travel by helicopter. The statues have not been restored to their original position, although this would not be difficult to do.
Mount Nemrut is part of a geographic area named the Armenian highlands by Russian and Soviet geographers.
Created: Apr 1, 2009
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