“One of the most spectacular mausoleums of the ancient world is 6000 ft up on the top of Mount Nemrut in Turkey. The top of the mountain was sliced off and the mausoleum of Antiochus I Theos of Commagene was built and covered with a loose stones that form a gigantic protective pyramid that caps the peak. To get up at dawn and see the sun rise on ancient statue heads high above the glistening Euphrates river below is a life changing experience. I hope you enjoy my photos”, Paul Williams.
See More of Our Photos of Nemrut Dagi and Turkey
Beautiful Art Photos of Nemrut Dagi Archaeological Site, Turkey
In the first century BC, the Roman-Persian king Antiochus I of Commagene decided to leave his mark on the world he created one of the most dramatically set tombs in the world. Mount Dagi was the highest peak in his kingdom so he had the top leveled. When he died he was buried in a mausoleum in the centre of this leveled area and then by decree everyone of his subjects climbed Mount Nemrut with a rock and placed it on top of Antiochus’s tomb. Crowning one of the highest peaks of the Eastern Taurus mountain range in south-east Turkey, Nemrut Dağ is the Hierotheseion (temple-tomb and house of the gods) built by the late Hellenistic King Antiochos I of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) as a monument to himself. The end result was an impenetrable vast pyramid of loose stones guarded by statues of the gods and Antiochus that are still there today. On two sides of the mountaintop terraces were set up for meters high statues of the gods and himself. The statues represent Apollo, Fortuna, Heracles and Zeus.
The mausoleum of Antiochus I (69–34 B.C.), who reigned over Commagene, a kingdom founded north of Syria and the Euphrates after the breakup of Alexander’s empire, is one of the most ambitious constructions of the Hellenistic period. The syncretism of its pantheon, and the lineage of its kings, which can be traced back through two sets of legends, Greek and Persian, is evidence of the dual origin of this kingdom’s culture.
With a diameter of 145 m, the 50 m high funerary mound of stone chips is surrounded on three sides by terraces to the east, west and north directions. Two separate antique processional routes radiate from the east and west terraces. Five giant seated limestone statues, identified by their inscriptions as deities, face outwards from the tumulus on the upper level of the east and west terraces. These are flanked by a pair of guardian animal statues – a lion and eagle – at each end. The heads of the statues have fallen off to the lower level, which accommodates two rows of sandstone stelae, mounted on pedestals with an altar in front of each stele. One row carries relief sculptures of Antiochos’ paternal Persian ancestors, the other of his maternal Macedonian ancestors. Inscriptions on the backs of the stelae record the genealogical links. A square altar platform is located at the east side of the east terrace. On the west terrace there is an additional row of stelae representing the particular significance of Nemrut, the handshake scenes (dexiosis) showing Antiochos shaking hands with a deity and the stele with a lion horoscope, believed to be indicating the construction date of the cult area. The north terrace is long, narrow and rectangular in shape, and hosts a series of sandstone pedestals. The stelae lying near the pedestals on the north terrace have no reliefs or inscriptions.
The Tomb stands on the top of Mount Nemrut at 2,134 m (7,001 ft) high. The top of the mountain was leveled then the Mausaleum built. All of the people of the kigdom were ordered to bring a small stone to the top of the mountain from which a loose stone tumulus was made 49 m (161 ft) tall and 152 m (499 ft) in diameter over the mausaleum of Antiochus. This has protected the mausaleum as to get to it the whole tumulus would have to be removed. This has remained a problem for Archaeologists who cannot excavate the Mount Nemrut Mauseleum easily.
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