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Nemrut Mountain National Park

 

Nemrut Mountain National Park is the landlord of a large legacy inherited from Commagene Civilization that was established in 100 B.C. at which current Adıyaman is located on.

Commagene Kingdom maintained its existence until 72 A.D. as an Eastern Roman State after having dominated for approximately 141 years. Meaning "Community of Genes" in Greek, in parallel with its name, Commagene was the ancient name of a fertile country lying between the right coast of the Euphrates and the Taurus Mountain range, in which belief, culture and traditions of the Greek and Persian civilizations have been intertwined. The most popular ruler of Commagene Kingdom is the King Antiochus I. Antiochus I who made the borders of his country to the largest extent in 100 B.C., had a monumental grave done for himself at the upmost point of Nemrut Mountain. The height of tumulus is 55 mm that takes part in the midst of East, West and North Terrace whereas its diameter is 150 meters. The grave is composed of a hill at which 30.000 m3 crushed stone are accumulated. Let us remind you that the grave of the King Antiochus has not been found as a result of the researches and excavations that have been made since 1881 until today.

The tumulus is surrounded by three terraces built for the ceremonies to be organised in honour of King Antiochus I. On East and West Terraces that are called as Eastern, Western and Northern terraces; there are tremendous statues, embossments and inscriptions at 8-10 meters that have been composed by putting eight dressed stone on end respectively. The statues start with a lion statue that is the protector of the country and an eagle statue that is the precursor of gods, and ends up in the same order.

Sorting of the statues that are located in Eastern and Western terrace is respectively as follows; father of gods, Zeus (Orasmasdes / Ahuramazda) in the middle; Goddess Commagene (Fortuna / Thyke) on his left and King Antiochus; Apollon (Mithras / Helios / Hermes) on his right and Heracles (Artagnes / Ares).

Antiochus who describes in his cult writings that he comes from Alexander the Great (Greek-Macedonian) from mother's side, and Darieos (Pers) from father's side, combined this ethnic variety inherited from his ancestors, and changed the face of god statues towards East and West as an indicator of transforming into a cultural wealth. The same reason applies to the fact that the names of the Gods are described both in Greek and Persian language.

You can climb to the East terrace that sees the sunrise first in Commagene country, by means of ladder roads carved with hard rocks. East terrace is composed of Gods Gallery, Ancestors Gallery and Fire Altar. Giant statues in Gods Gallery are placed as turned their back to the mausoleum. There are embossment stelas belong to Commagene Royal Family in North and South part of the terrace.

It is a ceremony road at 100 meters which combines North, West and East terraces. There are stela precepts at 80 meters of length that were not completed.

Western terrace has a similar structure with Eastern terrace, in which a magnificent sunset can be watched, and they have the same details except for the sorting of statues and cult writing behind the statues.

As distinct from East Terrace, there are five embossments made up of sandstone having the figures of greeting/handshaking of King Antiochus with gods, and lion figure on the North of Gods Gallery.

Lion Horoscope that is known to be the oldest horoscope of the world, at 1.75 meters and at 2.40 meters of wideness. The scripture of “July 7, 62 (BC)” carved on the lion embossment, walking towards right on a bloc, with a crescent necklace on his neck and stars (Jupiter, Mars and Mercury) on his chest, symbolises the succession of King Antiochus to the throne or the luckiest day of the country according to some historians. On this date, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury lined up to the same alignment.

A cult writing Nomos (Sacred rules of Antiochus) composed of 237 lines that was written with Greek letters between stone blocks constituting the thrones of the God statues in both East and West Terraces.

In addition to its natural beauties, Tumulus (Mausoleum) of Antiochus I who is one of the most powerful kings of Commagene Kingdom and sacred area, the oldest and largest horoscope (sky map) having an artistic style and reflecting the East-West synthesis that composed of Anatolian-Macedonian and Persian impacts.

Nemrut Mountain National Park

Nemrut Mountain National Park comprising 13.850 hectares of area, hosts the present day with works of art such as Nemrut Mountain Tumulus remained from Commagene Kingdom until today, Old Kahta Castle, Arsamiea, Cendere Bridge and Karakuş Tumulus.

Old Kahta Castle (Yeni Kale)

The castle which was built by Commagene Kingdom, has been used with Arsamiea on opposite side. Most of the ruins that have the impact of Medieval Age belong to Islamic Period. There is an area in the castle involving water cisterns, Turkish bath, mosque,             dungeon, a secret waterway towards Kahta Watercourse, and in which messenger pigeons are cultivated.

Arsameia Excavation Site (Nymphaios's Arsameia)

Arsameia is the capital and administrative centre of the kingdom settled acros the Old Kâhta Castle, east of Kâhta watercourse, by the ancestor of Commagene people Arsames in early 3rd century BC.

Arsameia is hosting the largest Greek inscription of Anatolia. Furthermore, the embossment stela of Mithras on South at the ceremony road, and relief at 3.34 meters of length involving the handshaking scene of Antiochus-Heracles on the same platform are also in Arsameia. There are grave temple and palace belong to Mitridathes Kallinikos on the platform above the hill.

Moreover, a lot of statue pieces, heads of queen and Antiochos have been revealed in the excavations made.

Karakuş Tumulus -Black Eagle Tumulus (Women's Mausoleum)

This mausoleum was built by Commagene King Mithradates II for his mother Isas, his sister Antiochia and his nephew Aka that is located on Southeast part of the National Park and in the entrance of Adıyaman-Kahta road. The mausoleum is called as Karakuş Tumulus because of the black eagle that is on the pillar.

There were four pillars on each East, West and South parts but today, there are only two pillars today, located on West and South. There are ruins of lion and eagle on Eastern pillar and handshaking relief on the pillar on West and lion statue piece on the ground.

Cendere Bridge

Cendere Bridge that is known to be the best works of art of Roman architecture, and that is still open to pedestrian traffic, is located on Northeast of Karakuş Tumulus and 55 kilometres away from Adıyaman.

The bridge which was built between 198-200 A.D. by Roman Legion 16th (Legio XVI Flavia Firma) who established a military quarters, and it has been composed of 92 large cut stones on two main stones where Kahta Watercourse tightens the most.

Corinth headed pillars that were erected nearby Kahta on the bridge, have been dedicated to Emperor Septimus Severus and Julia Domna who is mentioned as 'Mother of Soldiers'.