Best Place to Watch a Sunrise: Eastern Turkey’s Nemrut Dağ

Best Place to Watch a Sunrise: Eastern Turkey’s Nemrut Dağ

More than just a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nemrut Dağ is one of the world’s best places to watch the sunrise. It’s an awe-inspiring sight to see the sun’s rays touch the mountaintop; out of the gloom appears a glowing host of mammoth carved stone heads that have been guarding the eastern Turkey hill for over 2,000 years.

Stone head at Mt. Nemrut, TurkeyPhoto credit: Paul Schwartz

Stone head at Mt. Nemrut, Turkey
Photo credit: Paul Schwartz

Royal BeginningsThe origins of Nemrut Dağ can be traced back to the first century BC when Antiochus I, king of the Commagene kingdom, re-contoured the remote mountaintop to demonstrate his power. Believing he was descended from the heavens, he sought to immortalize both himself and his relatives – the gods Apollo, Hermes, Fortuna, Tyche and Zeus.

Mt. Nemrut, Turkey<br>Photo credit: Paul Schwartz

Rubble of the gods at Mt. Nemrut, Turkey
Photo credit: Paul Schwartz

Set in StoneAtop the mountain, he erected a symmetrical dome of small white limestone rocks. At its base he placed the monumental statues of himself and his godly relatives. Over the years, the sculptures suffered from earthquakes, and the beautifully carved heads now sit below their bodies. At sunrise and sunset the mysterious heads pick up the luminous glow of the sun; the Euphrates far below is a river of molten silver.

(click on photo for larger version)


Travel to Turkey with MIRYou can see the ancient stone heads on MIR’s small group tour, Eastern Turkey & Georgia: Legacy of Empire, traveling from the Anatolian Plateau to the Caucasus Mountains.

MIR has been designing unforgettable custom private itineraries along the coasts and through the hills and dales of Turkey for over two decades.  Let MIR’s Private Journeys Department know your interests, travel dates and pace and a trip can be hand-crafted just for you, your family or your group.

(Top Photo: Mt. Nemrut at sunrise. Photo credit: Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture & Tourism)

PUBLISHED: March 2, 2015

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