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| Updated on Aug 26, 2016

Carved in time

Like most of the jewels of the Earth,the great tomb and temple complex of Nemrut Dagi was the result of the megalomaniac desires of its leader, in this case King Antiochus I Epiphanes, son of the founder of the Commagene kingdom. Formed by a reduced extension of territory and surrounded by a convulse historical period, the Commagene dynasty is mostly remembered by this colossal monument which celebrates the divine nature of the king. The row of statues of the western terrace depict deities and heroes such as Zeus and Heracles. The heads of this magnificent statues have fallen to the ground, most probably as a result of the earthquakes that plague the region. In addition, great number of reliefs are conserved, portraying King Antiochus shaking hands with Apollo, Mithra, Hermes, Zeus and Ares. The statues appear to have Greek inspired facial features, although they also represent Armenian and Iranian gods.

Among the carved stones of the western terrace, one depicting a lion is easily identifiable. The Lion of Commagene bears significant astronomical information. Nineteen stars can be observed in the background, as well as the moon and three planets that are believed to represent Mars, Mercury and Jupiter. This stone has been used to date the age of the findings, 62 B.C. In 1987, Mount Nemrut was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The best time to visit is between april and september, when temperatures are not excessively low and there is a greater public transport offer. The nearby town of Adiyaman provides a diverse range of accommodation for all kinds of visitors and it is well connected to the temple complex.

Soon after the construction of the temple, the Roman Empire conquered the Commagene kingdom, which never emerged again. Built in thick stone and with outstanding talent, this sanctuary remained forgotten until 1881, when a German engineer located it while Although Turkey is considered an unstable country due to the recent threat of terrorism and its proximity to the Syrian conflict, the United Kingdom and the US have no warnings for visitors regarding the vast majority of the country although they have strongly advised against all travel to within 10km of the border with Syria and the city of Diyarbakir. Both countries recommend against all but essential travel to the areas of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Kilis and Hatay provinces, as well as Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari.

To enter the country as a short-term visitor you must have a valid visa for Turkey that can be purchased online at e-Visa. The fee for a Turkey e-Visa ranges from US$20 prior arrival to US$30 upon arrival. Regarding Turkish visa requirements, your criminal record will be looked at, and you will need to respect the deadlines of your visa. If you are planning to travel to Turkey for any other purpose other than a mere visit or a short business trip, you must obtain a Turkish visa in advance from a Turkish Embassy or Consulate. More information about how to get a Turkish visa and other Turkey related matters can be found at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

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