Day 16 September 15, 2010                                                      Day 17    Table of content for Eastern Turkey Turkey tour Journal                  
Wednesday Mount Nemrut Kahta
Submitted by  Barbara Cutshaw

We left our beautiful hotel in Urfa at 08:00 AM to catch the 09:30 Ferry to go across the Ataturk dam lake over Euphrates. At one point Doris said, "will we be able to make it?" I guess we were all asking the same question was was not daring to think out loud. that question triggered the fear that we would miss the ferry and Cengiz our driver decided to turn off his tacometer and started going pass the speed limit. After all since we had started in Trabzon, we had not seen one traffic police so we were going to be ok for the next 15 km.  But no! few miles down the road, sure enough a traffic police was waiting for us with a big ticket. Not only did Cengiz paid for the ticket but also we were now for sure late for the ferry.
When we arrived at the bottom of the hill, we saw that the ferry was still there as if they were waiting for our bus to embark. We only had a short time to take the picture of the calm looking stork next to the ferry dock and we all climbed in the ferry which looked like could only go  for few more miles. But the speed was great. In half an hour we made it to the other side and drove 50 KM more to the hotel for a quick lunch before we head off for our mountain ride to Mount Nemrut.


  Our first stop on our way to see the tumulus of Antiochus was the site where his wife was buried. this was a smaller tumulus. A huge eagle  placed on a high pillar was still protecting the tumulus as it did 2000 years ago.

Then we stopped at the roman Bridge which was built to honor the Emperor Septimus Severus. For each one of his two sons, for his wife and for the emperor himself they had four pillars - two on each side of the bridge.
But when one of the sons had betrayed his father, one pillar was knocked down. We could see the majestic pillars still standing intact over the bridge which was being used by the cars only until five years ago.




The road meandered around the river for a while then we started climbing up the mountain where ancient Kahta was.  Like all the other old cities in Anatolia this town too had an eagle nest like fortress overlooking down to another creek two sides of which was connected by a beautiful one arched bridge. We then arrived at the capital of the Kingdom of Commagene. Ken and dick quickly explored the tunnel which led to the official "buildings" of the kingdom carved underground.

What interested us most was how Antiachos was announcing his megalomania by showing himself at the same height at Hercules carved on a huge stome. Jenifer was kind enough to climb up to give us a perspective for size.

Every one decided to walk up except Meli and Barbaras of our group. The climb is not dangerous. In fact the view was stunning. You can see Euphrates and all the dams which created serious of lakes. It took approximately 20 minutes to go up. However, the mule ride up was more comfortable for some of us.

When we reached up the top, there was still a huge man made hill above our head - the tumulus of Antiochus.
It was mesmerizing to see that tons and tons of rocks were brought up here to get the dream of this  man come true.



These heads had fallen down from the gigantic statues and yet they were all intact as if they were denying time.
They kind of say we have been here watching the sun rise and sun set for two thousand years and we will continue to watch the sun for ever.



When the sun was fading away in the horizon, the lion looked very proud saying "one more day is over". We started heading sown before it got too dark.  We have a long way to go tomorrow.

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