Giant statues in Mount Nimrod National Park, Türkiye
Mount Nimrod National Park
Mount Nimrod National Park stands as one of the most captivating historical attractions in southeast Turkey. Amidst the grandeur of this mountain, visitors can marvel at the stone heads of Greek and Persian goddesses, ancient inscriptions, and tombs that bear witness to the artistic splendors of the Hellenistic era. The colossal stone statues and other relics found on Mount Nimrod trace their origins back to the era of the Commagenian kings. Originally serving as satraps of the Seleucid Empire, the Commagens later asserted their independence. The rich historical tapestry of Mount Nimrod unveils a fascinating chapter in the region’s past, reflecting the artistry and cultural influences of the Hellenistic period.
Join Manolya Tour to delve deeper into the wonders of Mount Nimrod, where history and art converge to offer a captivating journey through Turkey’s cultural heritage.
Where is Mount Nimrod?
“Mount Nimrod is situated in Kahta city, Adiyaman province, Kurdistan, Turkey. To reach this captivating destination, travelers can opt for direct flights from Istanbul or Ankara to Adiyaman. Upon reaching Adiyaman, a convenient option is to take a bus or taxi for a journey of approximately 43 kilometers to Kahta. Once in Kahta, the final stretch involves a 600-meter walk from where you disembark to reach the base of Mount Nimrod.
This travel route promises not only convenient access but also an opportunity to soak in the beauty of the surroundings. As you embark on this journey, the rich history and cultural significance of Mount Nimrod await exploration.
Features of Mount Nimrod National Park, Türkiye
- Province: Adiyaman
- City: Kahta, Karadut
- Area: 13,850 hectares
- Height: 2150 meters
Türkiye’s Mount Nimrod, the treasure of stone goddesses
Turkey’s Mount Nimrod National Park stands as a treasure trove of stone goddesses, boasting impressive and colossal stone statues depicting Greek and Persian gods and kings. Constructed between 69 and 34 BC by Antiochos I, the fourth king of Commagene, Mount Nimrod holds a pivotal place in the history of the Commagenian Kingdom—a Hellenistic-era Armenian kingdom that transitioned from being a satrap of the Seleucid Empire to gaining independence.
The stone gods of Mount Nimrod, some reaching an impressive height of 10 meters, are crafted from stone blocks weighing up to 9 tons. The park’s terrace hosts statues of revered deities such as Hercules, Zeus, Hermes, Mithras, as well as depictions of lions and eagles. Notably, in the northern part of the mountain, a statue of the ancestors of Antiochus, the king of Commagene, stands tall, while the number of statues gradually diminishes towards the western side. The eastern part of Mount Nimrod has been well-preserved, revealing stone layers and a path created beneath the mountain, forming a walled passage between the eastern and western terraces.
Mount Nimrod, with its ancient shrine and colossal statues, holds immense historical value. The inscriptions and statues on this mountain conceal countless hidden stories, and archaeologists continue their endeavors to unravel the secrets concealed within this ancient and enigmatic site.
History of Mount Nimrod National Park, Türkiye
To delve into the history of Mount Nimrod National Park in Turkey, an understanding of the Kingdom of Commagene is essential. The rulers of the Commagenian dynasty held sway over the Adiyaman province from 80 to 72 BC. Their kingdom extended from the Taurus Mountains to the Euphrates River in the east and southeast, encompassing the city of Gazi Antep in the south and Pazarcik in the west. Mehrdad I, the father of Antiochus, was the founder of this kingdom.
The construction of the stone statues, tombs, and other remnants on Mount Nimrod occurred during the reign of Antiochus I, spanning from 69 to 34 BC. An inscription at the site attests to King Antiochus dedicating many years and generations to the creation of this monumental place. Notably, the western terrace of the mountain features an inscription with a lion, showcasing the arrangement of stars and planets—Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars—on July 7, 62 BC. Archaeologists believe that this date marks the commencement of construction on Mount Nimrod.”.
How to form
The construction of Mount Nimrod unfolded in a meticulous process, beginning with the carving of a main tomb and two prototype tombs from stone. Subsequently, tunnels were excavated, supporting numerous small stones. In the following phase, two worship areas adorned with maternal and paternal symbols were established on the east and west sides of these stones (tumulus). The monumental figures and massive stones were then meticulously carved and positioned, culminating in the placement of a god-like representation of King Antiochus atop Mount Nimrod. While speculation persists that King Antiochus I may be entombed within the mountain, no excavation has uncovered his burial site.
The discovery of Mount Nimrod dates back to 1881 when a German engineer, commissioned by the Ottoman Sultan for the construction of new transportation routes, stumbled upon the imposing stone sculptures and inscriptions. Formal archaeological excavations commenced in 1953 under the supervision of the American School of Oriental Research.
Since its discovery, Mount Nimrod has faced various challenges, including excavation activities, extreme weather conditions, and the impact of tourism, leading to the deterioration of some valuable structures. Despite these factors, the stone sculptures of Mount Nimrod continue to stand with grandeur, captivating and astonishing visitors.
Recognizing its historical significance, Mount Nimrod was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987. As summer arrives and brings favorable weather, a multitude of visitors from around the world embark on a journey to experience the awe-inspiring wonders of Mount Nimrod.
The best time to travel to Mount Nimrod National Park in Türkiye
Given that Mount Nimrod is nestled in a mountainous region and experiences snow cover for much of the year, choosing the right time to visit is crucial. The optimal period to explore Mount Nimrod National Park in Turkey is during July to August. Despite being summer, the mountain maintains a cool climate, prompting a suggestion to pack warm clothing for the journey.
Additionally, Mount Nimrod offers a captivating setting for observing both sunrise and sunset. Many visitors plan their trips to reach the mountain either before sunset or ahead of sunrise, enhancing the overall experience of this historic and scenic site.
Tips for traveling to Mount Nimrod National Park, Türkiye
Tips for traveling to Mount Nimrod National Park in Türkiye include the following:
- It doesn’t matter whether you use a vehicle or go to Mount Nimrod on foot, the shortest route to the mountain is the route to Karadut village.
- In summer, the temperature difference between the lower elevations of Mount Nimrod and its peak surprises tourists. The bottom of the mountain is usually hot and the top of the mountain is cool. Also, most of the time you will see the wind blowing at the peak. Therefore, we recommend that you wear cool clothes on your trip to Mount Nimrod, but be sure to bring warm and windproof clothes.
- When visiting Mount Nimrod, you can also see the green slopes and hills around.
- If you plan to stay overnight in the area during your trip to this mountain, go to nearby cities such as Kahta, Adiyaman and Malatya. You can also stay in local houses in Karadut village.
Summary about Mount Nimrod National Park, Türkiye
In this article, we have explored the captivating Mount Nimrod National Park in Türkiye. Rich with stone sculptures dating back to the Hellenistic era, this site beautifully melds Iranian and Greek cultural influences. The historical significance of the artifacts found on Mount Nimrod makes it a compelling destination, drawing in numerous tourists. Furthermore, the breathtaking views of sunrise and sunset amidst ancient statues and tombs add an extra layer of allure to this remarkable area.
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