The Nemrut mountainside with the tumulus containing the tomb of King Antiochus of the Commagene Kingdom and several giant statues was inscribed to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1987.
Nemrut Mountain is also known as the highest open-air museum in the world. With its enchanting statues standing ten metres high, and meters long inscriptions and the ancient Commagene sanctuary, it is situated in the Kahta county of Adiyaman province.
Nemrut Mountain was one the most majestic place of worship in ancient Anatolia. According to the inscriptions, Antiochus built a monumental tomb, a tumulus of cut stones built over the tomb, and terraces along the three edges of the tumulus.
Those terraces are known as the East, West and North Terraces. On the East and West Terraces are giant statues, inscriptions and reliefs. Five statues depict the gods, and, among the deities, the figure of Antiochus.
The East and West terraces have five statues of gods, set in the same order on both terraces. The statues made of stone blocks, each weighing 7-8 metric tons, sit on thrones about seven metres above the terrace floor. The heads of the statues have toppled down and are scattered on the terraces.
The row of statues starts with a lion and eagle statue. The lion, the king of animals, represents earthly power, and the eagle, herald of the gods, represents heavenly power.
The East Terrace contains the Gallery of Gods, the Gallery of Ancestors and the Altar. The West Terrace was built similarly, however it has been far better preserved. The North Terrace was used as a passageway between East and West Terraces, and it was surrounded by a sandstone wall. Behind the stone blocks making the thrones of the statues of East and West Terraces there is a cult inscription of 237 lines, written in Greek letters. The inscription was the will of Antiochus, and contains information about the sanctuary as well as rituals that should be used for practicing the cult.
The Nemrut Mountain, with the most majestic panoramas of sunrise and sunset in the world as well as Its giant statues and monumental tomb, is waiting for its visitors.