Nemrut Dağ (UNESCO/NHK)

Nemrut Dağ (UNESCO/NHK)

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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.

Source: UNESCO TV / © NHK Nippon Hoso Kyokai

Nemrut Dağ (UNESCO/NHK) - History



1. Introduction: Commagene Nemrut Management Plan

Commagene Nemrut Management Plan (CNMP) adopts the main principles as conserving and continuing the geographical, natural, historical, cultural, social integrity, and defines conservation as a regional fact starting from Nemrut. The plan also considers conservation as a part of the development procedure of the local community, thus it is prepared with the participation of all stakeholders who will have their contribution to the process.

CNMP is an integral plan comprising Mount Nemrut Tumulus with fourteen other sub-areas. The name of the management plan is chosen with reference to Commagene as the plan covers an area which took place within the borders of Commagenian Kingdom, and most of the chosen fifteen assets and areas belonged to the Commagenian Kingdom period.

CNMP is prepared considering that the conservation is not only a physical aspect but a social, communal and economical fact, it has aimed to assure sustainability in conservation, generate the social capacity and develop and maintain the region economically. In consequence the project will contribute to the social development requirements, development of organizational capacity, institutionalization, development of local production facilities, and by enhancing the production, local/social development and conservation process provide job creation.

2. CNMP Vision, Main Strategy Fields and Site Boundaries

The vision of CNMP is defined as conservation through cultural tourism, improvement, development and sustainability.

Based on the detailed analyses and evaluations about the fifteen places and the ownership statuses, new propositions for the protection boundaries are developed and these are shown on the 1/5000 and 1/1000 scaled maps of 2010. Also for the same fifteen places the buffer zones are determined and shown on the 1/5000 scaled maps.

The buffer zone belonging to the said fifteen places are determined and shown on the 1/5000 maps. The plan comprising the entire Commagene Nemrut Management Plan boundaries is prepared as a 1/100 000 scaled map.

3. Definition of CNMP Sub-projects and Action Plan “scenario”

The projects which are defined to evoke the vision and strategies for these fifteen places can be listed in three groups:

a. The projects which will be implemented in the whole area,

b. The projects which will be implemented in the sub-areas,

c. The projects to be implemented locally.

All the projects are entered into a table according to their relationships between the locality and strategy, and 1 st , 2 nd and 3 rd implementation periods are determined. According to this, the first period is between the years 2011-2015, the second period is between the years 2016-2020 and the third period is between the years 2021-2030.

According to the legislations, the CNMP will be updated every five years. The projects to be realized in the first five years are determined and defined in detail in the CNMP action plan.

In practice all projects defined in the CNMP Action Plan will be completed up to 2030. The projects which have a stronger pushing effect (like presentation, environmental design, restoration projects) are planned to be started or completed by the end of the first period.

CNMP Action Plan “scenario”

The projects planned to be implemented in the first five years are presented within a ‘scenario’. The spatial structure of this scenario is a ‘conservation-development road itinerary’. This road comprises the cultural assets to be protected and developed primarily.

The conservation-development road itinerary handles the problems in the CNM area (like very low number of visitors compared to the other world heritage sites etc) together with the mission of tracking the traces of Commagene where the Euphrates unites the east and west, nature and structure and local and global. It has a specific route scenario comprising the other cultural assets in Adıyaman together with Nemrut.

According to the results of this project, the management area can be enlarged towards other districts in Adıyaman or other cities in the vicinity (for example including Zeugma, Dülük/Doliche in Gaziantep) which were also Commagenian settlements.

Definition of CNMP Sub-projects

The priority projects planned to be realized in the first five years are defined using Project Follow-up Forms prepared one for each project. In this form:

2) Definitions related to the project targets and how to monitor for attaining these targets,

3) The project implementation processes, cost estimates, time table, measures to be taken for possible obstacles,

4) The problems in implementing the activities and reasons of failure if there are.

The distribution of all the projects in Adıyaman Province are shown on 1/100.000 scaled map: The Commagene Nemrut Management Plan – Spatial Strategy and Action Plan.

Other documents like all project definitions and technical specifications for the documentation, restoration, environmental design projects, Project Follow-up Forms, the definitions and criteria that the CNCMP staff has developed specific to each place and terms of references are also prepared by the

CNCMP staff and submitted as annexes.

4. Operation and Management Model

The main criteria in the ‘Commagene-Nemrut Management Plan – Site Management Project’ are stated so that the CNMP should constitute a participatory management mechanism which will permit all stakeholders in Adıyaman to implement, follow and evaluate the management.

The Legal/Conceptual Ground: All actors who will involve in the CNMP are determined as defined in the related laws and regulations of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. According to this, the Ministry will assign a site manager, his staff, and constitute a Coordination and Control Commission as defined in the legislation of site management.

Again, according to the same laws, within the body of Adıyaman Special Provincial Administration, a Project Office will be established which will prepare and implement the measured drawings, reconstitution and conservation projects of the cultural assets, and an Educational Unit which will train certificated craftsmen.

In addition to this, as decided in the local workshop held in October 2010 in Adıyaman in order to develop strategy/action plan, a local participatory platform will be established with the participation of local administrative officers and NGO’s which will form a basis to the Coordination and Control Commission, monitoring/evaluation and project planning/implementation processes and legal affairs.

Main organs of the Management Plan Structure: The MP structure is composed of three main organs. The Commagene Nemrut Area Management Unit (CN-AMU) which is the local unit of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, working attached to the Governorship of Adıyaman, Adıyaman Special Provincial Administration, Project and Training Unit (ASP-PTU), and the Participatory Platform of Adıyaman (PP-A) which is composed of the representatives of Adıyaman Province and villages.

5. Working Program

All the projects defined under three sub groups are planned to be realized in the next twenty years. The priority is given to the activities which will provide the realization of the scenario of the action plan other projects are divided to three periods for the next five, ten and twenty years. The division of the periods according to the years is as:

The priority projects are determined according to the relations among one another and their power of impact and multiplier effects.

134 projects will be realized in the first five years of the 20 years Working Programme of CNMP.

Number of the first five year projects

All projects in the area

Sub-region projects

Local projects (Total)

2. Arsemeia archaeological area

8. Haydaran archaeological area

10. Adıyaman centerz: Tuzhan (caravanserail) and Otrakçı Market

The projects to be prepared and completed by CN-SMU Action Plan in the first 5 years :20

Total of the projects defined by CNCDP

The environmental design projects which will have a strong multiplier effect are planned to be implemented in the first five years period of the CNMP. These projects are planned together with the Culture Villages projects aiming to raise awareness and increase the number of tourists.

After this, the projects concerning agriculture and livestock take place. These projects aim to increase the variety of the products, develop suitable marketing and selling strategies, increase the production, thus create jobs in the region. In this way not only a tourism oriented development will be achieved but the protection and continuity of the local savors and specialties and a well-balanced development will be obtained by supporting the local production and related fields (like packaging, presentation and marketing).

One of the priority projects of CNMP is the monitoring and training activities. These projects are important for tourism aimed services and production, and raising awareness. As is the case for Mount Nemrut Tumulus, in many other places also there is a need for qualified trained staff for various services and implementations. These projects comprise the training for the field guides, the staff who will work in the Visitors Houses and other tourism activities, and in more specialized areas like stone conservation. By this way the local staff will work with the specialized technical staff for five years and realize the monitoring of conservation implementations as well.

In this framework, the 114 of the 134 projects are defined and the action plans are prepared. In some of the projects, the main approaches to the project, preliminary design decisions or some documents like technical specifications are prepared and presented in addition to the project follow up forms.

The cost estimates of the 114 projects to be completed in the first five years of the management plan are prepared and possible funds are indicated for the realization of these projects.

6. Definition of Monitoring, Evaluation and Training Procedures

A monitoring/evaluation mechanism is prepared for the CNMP which propose a process composed of different phases for different levels that will follow and control the application procedure.

The realization and continuity of the CNMP will be achievable only if the monitoring and evaluation mechanism act together.

During the monitoring and evaluation process, based on the problems occurred during the application, new paths will be determined and new targets and activities will be planned. In this way while assessing the application state, experience will be obtained for the next steps of the management plan.

All CNMP projects are completed and submitted to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in January 2011, and the revisions requested by the Ministry are completed in 2012. After this step, all digital maps showing the updated boundaries of the 15 zones forming CNMP were approved by the Şanlıurfa Conservation Council later on CNMP borders have been submitted for the approval of the Ministry (7.06.2013 / 111 983). Afterwards, all documents related with CNMP and the boundaries approved by Ministry of Culture and Tourism were sent to the stakeholders and the institutions for their proposals and approvals.

During this process, a Site Director is assigned and afterwards Commagene Nemrut Advisory Board and Commagene Nemrut Coordination and Supervision Board were constituted respectively. After a comprehensive assessment, CNMP was first accepted by the Nemrut Advisory Board in April 29, 2014, and then finally in June 25, 2014 was approved by the Commagene Nemrut Coordination and Supervision Board.

Thus since June 2014, Commagene Nemrut Management Plan (CNMP) has been put into action, and as METU CNCDP Team we are proud to announce that the Commagene Nemrut Conservation Development Programme (CNCDP) which is the result of a comprehensive, detailed and long-term work is completed as a whole.

For the CNMP Scenario, and more information about the work carried out under CNCDP, please see the following publications:

ŞAHİN GÜÇHAN, N., 2014. &ldquoConservation of relationship between &ldquoplace&rdquo and &ldquocontext&rdquo: Commagene Nemrut Conservation Development Programme&rdquo, Heritage in Context, DAI & KOÇ University, İstanbul, in print. (PDF)
ŞAHİN GÜÇHAN, N., 2013. &ldquoNemrut Dağ&rdquo in: Unesco World Heritage in Turkey, Eds: G. Çulcuoğlu, Y. Erkan, Ö. Karakul, UNESCO & Turkish National Commission for UNESCO, Grafiker LtD., Ankara, pp:128-159. (PDF)


The name ‘Nemrut Daği’ is Turkish for Mount Nimrod (Mount Nemrut) and refers to both the mountain itself, and the fascinating ancient site which sits at its summit. Which is basically a grandiose and self-important mausoleum.

Situated in the Anti-Taurus mountains, Nemrut Dağı is famous for its ancient stone heads on a remote site atop Mount Nemrut (Nimrod), the highest in the area.

It was built in 62BC by Antiochus I Epiphanes, son of the founder of the Commagene kingdom in the 1st century BC. Never heard of the Commagenes? Nope, me neither.

The Commagene Kingdom was briefly (163BC-72AD) a small buffer state between the Seleucid and the Roman Empires and occupied a small independent territory between the Taurus mountains and Euphrates River.

But anyway, Mount Nemrut was all the more alluring for its mystery.

Intended to be a religious sanctuary as well as a tomb for its creator, two terraces of stone statues were built to be illuminated by the light of the golden house. One terrace faces east, one west. The statues represent Antiochus himself, as well as eagles, lions, and various gods from different religions of the area.

It’s an astonishing site, but remote and of (comparatively) little historical significance. Mount Nemrut isn’t exactly undiscovered, it gets its fair share of tourists. But miles from anywhere, you have to be relatively determined to get to Mount Nemrut– or at least prepared to sit on a bus for a long time.

Nemrut Dağ (UNESCO/NHK) - History

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T.C. Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığı
Ministry of Culture and Tourism

T.C. Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığı tarafından desteklenen Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi tarafından gerçekleştirilmekte olan Nemrut Dağı Tümülüsü odaklı Nemrut Koruma Geliştirme Programının sitesine hoşgeldiniz.

Welcome to the website of Commagene Nemrut Conservation and Development Programme Supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture nd realized by Middle East Technical University.

Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi
Middle East Technical University

USA and Australia - 01-Nov-13 -

In 1962 I drove from Beirut to Nemrut Dag in a VW camper. We parked in the dusty remote primitive village, having used as a guide, the pointed mini mountain made of the chips left over from the caving of the extraordinary images. Our Turkish was not fluent, so when the mule drivers came up to us, we followed as they took us into their house above the animals for breakfast. It was a huge platter of eggs and flies. we did not know that the left overs were for the drivers, so we regretted eating to be polite

We mounted donkeys and rode to the top to find the awesome heads and enormous still standing stone bodies. A German Archeologist was there. He had covered many of the heads with rocks, but removed some for us so we could view them. We were invited for lunch ,out of guilt perhaps, and had the most delicious yogurt I have ever encountered.

This place where East met West is very special. have a photo of me sitting at the feet of Apollo to give it scale. Not a tourist was in sight aside from us. I wonder what it is like now.

2000 World Monuments Watch

The harsh climate at the summit of Mount Nemrut has eroded the stones that compose King Antiochus’ burial monument. At the end of the 20th century, the complex was in dire need of a drainage system, materials conservation, and a tourism management plan. The Mount Nemrut Archaeological Site was listed on the Watch in 2000, calling attention to the urgency of the situation and noting the efforts of the Turkish Ministry of Culture to improve the site. The Ministry and the International Nemrud Foundation, a Dutch non-profit organization charged with the stabilization, conservation, and presentation of the site, jointly undertook surveying and conservation work. INF and its local partner, the Turkish Democracy Foundation, solicited WMF to lead the stone conservation and structural consolidation initiatives and to participate in drafting a comprehensive management plan. Two roundtable symposia were held, one on site and one in Amsterdam, resulting in a complete agenda for restoration. The University of Amsterdam Archaeology Center, Turkish geologists, conservators, and engineers from Middle Eastern Technical University, Ankara, all contributed to the work at the site. Due to this shared effort, the major threats to the site have been addressed.

King Antiochus I of Commagene ruled at a critical time for the Late Roman Republic he was intimately involved with its politics and interacted with several of its legendary leaders, including Pompey the Great. Antiochus’ funerary complex, now known as the Mount Nemrut Archaeological Site, is a giant and spectacular tribute to its builder, with statues that rise over nine meters high on an immense burial mound. Indeed, the body of King Antiochus is thought to have been buried in chambers beneath his man-made mountain, though his tomb has yet to be found. The sculpture, temples, inscriptions, and reliefs at Antiochus’ sacred mortuary complex are highly significant to archaeologists and scholars of Roman, Persian, Hellenistic, and Anatolian history. A sandstone relief found at the site depicts two people shaking hands, the earliest known image of this now ubiquitous gesture. Mount Nemrut Archaeological Site was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1987 and was established as a National Park the following year.

Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape

The extraordinary ruins at Pergamum. Photograph courtesy of Wiz tours

Pergamon is, for the most part, a site of quiet classical splendour. Its ruins – especially the Asklepion and Acropolis – are so extraordinary that they were inscribed on Unesco’s World Heritage List in June 2014, the 999th site in the world (and the 14th in Turkey) to be so honoured. The thermal springs of Pergamon made the city one of the principal centres of healing and beauty. One of the major thermal spas of Pergamon is within the Sanctuary of Asclepius (Güzellik Ilıcası). It is believed to have been commissioned by King Euamens of Pergamon, and its healing and beauty properties were enjoyed by Cleopatra.

World Heritage in Turkey (sites that are on the UNESCO World Heritage List)

This is one of the main tourist attractions in Turkey: Cappadocia, located in central Turkey. By eroding soft stone a unique, whimsical, and above all wonderful area emerged. One of the main features are the famous rock formations, also known as “Fairy-chimneys’. The former inhabitants of the area have contributed to the wonderful development of Cappadocia by carving out homes, churches and entire underground cities of the rocks.

2) Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 1985

The Great Mosque of Divriği with adjacent hospital (Turkish: Divriği Ulu Cami ve Darüşşifa) was built in 1299. It is renowned for its building technique, which is a unique example of Islamic architecture.

3) Historic Areas of Istanbul

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 1985

Istanbul is a city where already thousands of years civilizations follow each other. These different cultures have all left their traces in this magnificent metropolis where Europe and Asia meet. Therefore, at the World Heritage List under the heading “Historic Areas of Istanbul” the following masterpieces are added: The ancient Hippodrome of Constantine, the 6th-century Hagia Sophia and the 16th-century Süleymaniye Mosque.

4) Hattusha: the Hittite Capital

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 1986

The next added World Heritage in Turkey can be found near modern Boğazkale. They are the ruins of Hattusa, once the capital of the Hittite Empire. At its peak the empire included most of Asia Minor (now Anatolia), parts of the eastern Mediterranean region and eastern Turkey, northeastern Syria and northwestern Iraq. Before the excavation began, the only source of information about the Hittites has been the Old Testament in the Bible. For a long time even, there was doubt about the existence of the Hittite Empire. However, when archaeologists went to work in the area from the 19th century, the magnitude of the findings quickly became clear. Excavations in Hattusa have been in progress since 1907.

5) Nemrut Dağ

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 1987

On a barren mountain called Nemrut in eastern Turkey, lies one of the most remarkable sites of World Heritage in Turkey. Here, in the first century BC, King Antiochus of the Kingdom Komagene has built a monument. For himself. At an altitude of two thousand meters. It consists of a tomb surrounded by huge statues. By earthquakes that plagued the region in the course of centuries, the heads of the nine meter high statues rolled off and scattered all over the mountain. These statues are seen as one of the most colossal and ambitious constructions of the Hellenistic period. Obviously highly developed technology was neccessary to build the huge statues. For instance: some of the stone blocks that are found on the mountain roads weigh over nine tons.

6) Hierapolis-Pamukkale

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 1988

The ‘Cotton Castle’ as Pamukkale is called translated, is to put it mildly a strange natural phenomenon. Through the seepage of warm, calcium-rich water from underground sources for centuries, its white terraces of limestone where formed. At the end of the 2nd century BC the kings of Pergamon of the Attalids Dynasty built the thermal Spa of Hierapolis. The ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments are on the edge of the limestone terraces and can also be visited.

7) Xanthos-Letoon

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 1988

Xanthos is the capital of ancient Lycia, situated adjacent to the shrine of Letoon. The archaeological site is located in the province of Antalya. It shows the best of the architecture of the Lycian Civilization which was one of the most important cultures in Anatolia. According to UNESCO, the two areas show the remarkable continuity and the unique combination of the Anatolian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilizations. It was also in Xanthos-Letoon where the most important texts in the Lycian language are found that gave a better understanding of the history of the Lycians and their Indo-European language.

8) City of Safranbolu

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 1994

This beautiful town with its typical Ottoman architecture is named after one of the world’s most expensive spices: saffron, which was also cultivated in abundance there. From the 13th century until the arrival of the railway in the early 20th century, Safranbolu was an important trading centre located at the busy east-west trade route. In 1994 about 800 houses were placed on the World Heritage List because of their typical Ottoman architecture which was an example for urban development in the rest of the Ottoman Empire.

9) Archaeological Site of Troy (Truva)

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 1998

Most people will recognise this World Heritage in Turkey, Troy, from Greek mythology. In his Iliad, Homer describes the battle between the Greeks and the inhabitants of the settlement of Troy. The Trojan heroes Hector and Paris fought against the Greek heroes Achilles, Odysseus and Ajax. After ten years of war, the Greeks invented a ruse: they built the Trojan Horse in which they hid their soldiers. Then, they pretended they were going to leave the battle and Trojan territory.

Gift from the Goddess

The Trojans thought the horse was a gift from the goddess Pallas Athena and dragged it inside the city walls. After drinking and partying and when sleeping of their drunkenness, the Greeks came out from the horse and yet conquered the city. The Trojan War seems to have really taken place just not a beautiful woman has been the cause of the feud as in Homer’s Iliad, but economic rivalry. The archaeological site in the province Çannakale has over 4000 years of history and is extraordinary because it shows first contact between the Anatolian civilizations and the Mediterranean world.

10) Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 2011

The Selimiye Mosque in Edirne town – the old capital of the Ottoman Empire – was built by the famous architect Sinan in 1575. The impressive building including school, courtyard and closed marketplace is considered a masterpiece of Ottoman, Islamic architecture.

11) Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 2012

A Neolithic settlement in the region of Central Anatolia in the Konya plain, Çatalhöyük is known as the oldest city in the world. This Archaeological World Heritage Site is located on two hills, the eastern hill has 18 levels of Neolithic occupation in the years 7400-6200 BC.

12) Bursa and Cumalıkızık: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in:

The whole village of Cumalıkızık and some parts of the city of Bursa show urban and rural foundations of the Ottoman Empire in the early 14th century.

13) Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 2014

Above the Bakırçay plain lies ancient Pergamon and its multi-layered cultural landscape. The Acropolis forms the highest point of the city. It crowns a landscape with burial mounds and the remains of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. These remains lie around the modern city of Bergama on the lower slopes.

14) Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 2015

Diyarbakır is a city located in eastern Turkey above the river Tigris. The town is enhanced by a fortress and has been an important centre for centuries. The site which is counted as World Heritage in Turkey encompasses the Amida Mound, known as İçkale (inner castle). Also included are the 5.8km-long city walls of Diyarbakır. As well as Hevsel Gardens, a green link between the city and the Tigris that supplied the city with food and water.

15) Ephesus

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 2015

Ephesus or Efes is one of the most extensive archaeological sites in the world. There are many attractions including major monuments from the Roman Empire. For example: the Grand Theatre and the Library of Celsus. The Temple of Artemis, one of the seven ancient world wonders, has unfortunately remained little preserved.

16) Archeological site of Ani

Added to UNESCO World Heritage List in: 2016

This site is located on a secluded plateau of northeast Turkey overlooking a ravine that forms a natural border with Armenia. The medieval city combines residential, religious and military structures. It’s characteristic of a medieval urbanism built up over the centuries by Christian and then Muslim dynasties.

The World Heritage List was compiled by the Commission for the UNESCO World Heritage on the recommendation of the member countries. The Agreement for the World Heritage has been ratified by 191 of the 197 to UNESCO connected member countries.


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-metre high (26–30 ft) of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek and Iranian gods, such as Heracles-Artagnes-Ares, Zeus-Oromasdes, and Apollo-Mithras-Helios-Hermes. Ώ] ΐ] These statues were once seated, with names of each god inscribed on them. The heads of the statues at some stage have been removed from their bodies, and they are now scattered throughout the site.

The pattern of damage to the heads (notably to noses) suggests that they were deliberately damaged as a result of iconoclasm. The statues have not been restored to their original positions. The site also preserves stone slabs with bas-relief figures that are thought to have formed a large frieze. These slabs display the ancestors of Antiochus, who included Greeks and Persians. Ώ]

The same statues and ancestors found throughout the site can also be found on the tumulus at the site, which is 49-metre tall (161 ft) and 152 m (499 ft) in diameter. It is possible that the tumulus of loose rock was built to protect a tomb from robbers, since any excavation would quickly fill in. Α] The statues appear to have Greek-style facial features, but Persian clothing and hair-styling.

The western terrace contains a large slab with a lion, showing an arrangement of stars and the planets Jupiter, Mercury and Mars. The composition was taken to be a chart of the sky on 7 July 62 BC. Β] This may be an indication of when construction began on this monument. The eastern portion is well preserved, being composed of several layers of rock, and a path following the base of the mountain is evidence of a walled passageway linking the eastern and western terraces. Possible uses for this site are thought to have included religious ceremonies, owing 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 Mithridates I Callinicus, the father of Antiochus.

5 Great UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey

With a vibrant culture of food, sport, and religion, the growing country of Turkey that we know today is a fantastic tourist destination. It is Turkey’s history however, having been forged over thousands of years, which attracts an unprecedented number of people from the far reaches of the world. The country is well known for its significance during biblical times, but excavations and discoveries in Turkey have revealed monuments that, archaeologists claim, date back to 10,000 BC!

Turkey is rich with magnificent landscapes, and an unparalleled wealth of historical treasure. Here are 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that have to be seen, to be believed.

1. Nemrut Dağ

The heads of these statues of Gods have broken off and tumbled to the lower terrace.

This incredible site is reminiscent of the stone heads found on Easter Island. This awe-inspiring location however, is in fact the mausoleum of Antiochus I. Invested as a king by the Romans, Antiochus I had dominion over the kingdom of Commagene, which was founded north of Syria and the Euphrates after the breakup of Alexander’s empire.

Nemrut Dag is an amazing construction to behold on the upper level, a row of five colossal seated figures (7 m high) represent deities from Greece and Rome. Each statue is accompanied by two pairs of equally intimidating statues, comprising of a lion and an eagle. It would seem that the ruler wanted his tomb to be very well guarded!

Three brilliant reliefs show Antiochos exchanging a handshake with the Gods, and visitors can also see an astrological relief called ‘the king’s horoscope’. While the fallen king has had his future inscribed in stone, this remarkable mausoleum truly is a window into the past.

2. Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia

If there was ever a place that was created to leave visitors speechless, this would be it. The Goreme valley is a spectacular landscape that, without a shadow of a doubt, has no equal. Towering monoliths of rock have been erected by the valleys occupants thousands of years ago, and can be seen scattered throughout the National Park.

The valley has been beautifully sculpted by natural erosion, and decorating its hills and surroundings are the remains of human habitats. Dwellings, troglodyte villages and underground towns can be found hewn into the rock. These early sanctuaries of our ancestors date back to the 4th century, and also provide unique evidence of Byzantine art in the post-Iconoclastic period!

3. The Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex

The Selimiye Mosque stands in the sun, against clear blue skies.

Considered by the most famous of Ottoman architects in the 16th century to be his best work, the Mosque and its surrounding complex reigns supreme over the skyline of Edirne.

The square Mosque, with its single great dome and four slender minarets, is renowned as the most harmonious expression ever achieved of the Ottoman külliye. Külliye is a group of buildings constructed around a mosque and managed as a single institution. This particular Külliye includes Islamic schools (called madrasas), a clock house, library, covered market and an outer courtyard.

If the splendour of the Mosque’s exterior was not breathtaking enough, the interior decoration testifies to an art form that remains unsurpassed. Delicate, yet striking, the stunning Iznik tiles inside the structure are from the peak period of their production.

4. Hierapolis-Pamukkale

At the end of the 2nd century B.C. the kings of Pergamon established the thermal spa of Hieropolis. The second half of its title, Pamukkale, literally means ‘Cotton Palace’, and the ruins of Greek temples, baths and monuments can be seen at the site. These amazing ruins are, however, not nearly as impressive as the natural wonder that they rest upon.

The unreal landscape, made up of mineral forests, waterfalls and terraced basins, have been created at the site by calcite-laden waters. These waters derive their source from springs in a cliff almost 200m high that overlook the entire plain.

Hierapolis-Pamukkale is the perfect example of natural beauty, complimented by fine Greek architecture and cultural history.

5. Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği

The Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi are considered to be a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. The region of Anatolia, where this site can be found, was conquered by the Turks at the beginning of the 11th century. The Mosque and its adjoining hospital were built simultaneously by the same architect, Khurramshad of Ahlat, and were founded by Emir Ahmet Shah in 1228-26.

While the walls of the interior are plain and unadorned, the decorative sculpture on the three doorways to the buildings are a vision of unbelievable detail and beauty. These three high, recessed gates display exuberant decor which is both floral and geometric.

Turkey offers its visitors a vast abundance of architecture and artistry, shop around and you should also be able to find cheap holidays to Turkey. The country is filled with incredible monuments and landscapes that span a history of over 10,000 years equal sights and wonders cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Watch the video: Nemrut Dağı. Mount Nemrut