Mount Nemrut is among the most interesting historical places in Turkey. Climbing Nemrut in the morning and watching the sunrise is one of the unique things to do in Turkey. You can find facts about the history of Mount Nemrut in this article. In addition, Mount Nemrut entrance fee and opening hours are noted.
Mount Nemrut has a unique story. The mystery of the sculptures on the top of the mountain stems from the unique character of Antiochus I, the King of Commagene. In order to tell the history of Mount Nemrut properly, it is necessary to rewind a little and start from Ancient Greek period.
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History of the Mount Nemrut
What makes Mount Nemrut famous is the magnificent sculptures on the top of the mountain. These sculptures, which are a wonderful blend of ancient Greek gods and local religion, create a unique place of worship. We begin the history of Mount Nemrut from the end of the Ancient Greek period, namely the period of Alexander the Great.
1. Alexander the Great
Philip II, the king of the Macedonian Empire, was assassinated in 336 BC. His successor son, Alexander, was someone who would change the course of history. After crowned in Macedonia, located at the modern-day Greece, Alexander the Great kept the peace in his kingdom and started to campaign.
Entering into Anatolia with 32.000 infantry and 5100 cavalry, Alexander the Great eradicated the strong Persian Empire in Asia Minor. Greek City-States that had been occupied for many years by Persians gave Alexander the Great a hero welcome. Ephesus, one of the most famous ancient cities of our age, was among those liberated cities.
Determined to establish the biggest empire of the world, Alexander firstly marched on Persia, then Ancient Egypt and finally India. Capturing the large part of the known world at that time, Alexander syncretized the cultural heritage of the ancient civilizations with one another through his military campaigns.
The legacy of Ancient Greece spread around the world because of Alexander the Great and a cultural bridge between the West and the East was formed.
2. The Diadochi
After storming through for 14 years when he remained on the throne, Alexander the Great passed away because of an inflammatory disease at the age of 32. However, he achieved to fulfill his dreams in this short span of time. Following his death, his generals came to the throne and Macedonian Empire was divided into four. The generals named Cassander, Ptolemy, Lysimachus and Seleucus became the kings of Succession Period also known as The Diadochi.
Seleucus, one of the generals of Alexander, embodies Seleucid Empire in modern-day Southeastern Anatolia, Syria, Iraq and Iran regions. Founded in 313 BC, The Seleucid Empire ruled in this area up to 190 BC. However, the Seleucid Empire was defeated by the Roman Empire at the Battle of Magnesia that broke out in 190 BC. After facing a heavy defeat, the empire began to collapse.
After the decline of Seleucid Kingdom, a number of the kingdoms in that area declared their freedoms. One of those kingdoms, also the main subject of our article, was the Kingdom of Commagene. Founded in 163 BC, the Kingdom of Commagene embodied modern-day cities of Adiyaman, Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras.
3. The Kingdom of Commagene
The reason why we go back as late as to the period of Alexander the Great when we mention the Kingdom of Commagene is to emphasize the acculturation of that area. Apart from synthesizing the cultures of West and East, Alexander the Great also married to the daughter of the Persian King Darius III. The hero of our story King Antiochus I was inspired by those events, as well.
Antiochus I ruled the Kingdom of Commagene between 70-36 BC. He claimed that his maternal side descended from Alexander the Great while his paternal side descended from Persian King Darius the Great. It was for this reason that he wanted to syncretize the cultures of West and East.
4. Statue Heads of Mount Nemrut
King Antiochus wanted to establish a bond between polytheistic Greek mythology and Zoroastrianism. For that purpose, he built a magnificent temple in 2100-meter-high Mount Nemrut. He put 8-meter-high statues around this structure that functions as both a temple and a mausoleum.
The statue heads of Mount Nemrut are reflections of gods of Ancient Greek and Persian religions. If we interpret it with Greek Mythology to make it more familiar, the statues represent Zeus, Apollo and Hercules. On the other hand, these figures also symbolize equivalent gods in Persian religion, as well. In addition to them, there are two lion and two eagle statues, too.
The relief figures that represent Persian and Macedonian ancestry of Antiochus I are also quite impressive. The artistic exposition on the statues carries the influence of Greek, Persian and Armenian cultures.
The king of Commagene Antiochus I placed his own statue among these symbolic figures and emphasized his special relationship with all these divine characters. After declaring himself as a god-king, it is obvious that he wanted to be worshipped as a divine being after his death.
Mount Nemrut Entrance Fee 2024
Mount Nemrut entrance fee is 240 Turkish Lira as of 2024. Museum Pass Turkey is valid in Mount Nemrut, which is an archaeological site affiliated to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The information about the ticket price was last updated on December 1, 2023.
If you want to join the tour to Mount Nemrut from Istanbul, you can access the recommended guided tour from this link. Tickets are sold under the guarantee of GetYourGuide, an international travel site. You can cancel the tour up to 24 hours and get a full refund.
Mount Nemrut Opening Hours 2024
Mount Nemrut opening hours are between 04:00 in the morning and 17:00 in the evening. Please also note that ticket sales at the box office end at 16:30. The site can be visited every day of the week. Information on visiting hours was last updated on December 1, 2023.
There may be changes in the visiting hours of Mount Nemrut in Adiyaman due to various activities or restorations. Therefore, you are advised to visit the official website of the museum to see the latest status before you go.
Mount Nemrut has also found a place in popular culture in recent years. For example, some scenes of the recently released Netflix series The Gift took place where the mythological statues of Mount Nemrut are located. In the same series, we also saw the Gobekli Tepe, which is considered to be the oldest temple in history.
On this site, I try to introduce the most important museums in Turkey, primarily in Istanbul. If this article has piqued your interest, you can access the articles of other museums and discover their mysteries from the links highlighted in blue on the top lines
Written by Serhat Engul