Friday, July 27, 2012

Turkey 21: Mount Nemrut

We've now traveled further east in southern Turkey to Mount Nemrut.  Mount Nemrut, at 7,001 feet, has a peak artificially created out of thousands of cubic yards of crushed rock.

It is thought the tomb of King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene lies under all the crushed rock. But, that isn't the only thing that makes this place interesting. Here, we see the peak in the distance as we hike to the summit just before sunset.

Looking back down the trail near the summit.  I thought, as I trudged up the trail in the thin air, about how much effort it must have taken back in 62BCE to have carried all those thousands of yards of crushed rock up to that summit.

Rounding a corner on the trail, we found these huge statues that at one time stood from 26 to 30 feet high.  The heads have obviously been knocked off and not restored.  Sadly, most of it was in deep shadow when we got there.

The site was rediscovered in 1881 by Charles Sester, a German engineer who happened across it while searching for transportation routes for the Ottomans.

Following the trail around the peak, we and found this line of fallen stones that had at one time been anchored upright with the tabs and slots seen here.

The trail continued around the mountaintop...

...where we came to another row of smaller statues that once stood with their backs to the peak.
The engineers among us said that this peak is an engineering marvel.  That something has to be supporting all of the loose rock that is seen here in order to keep it in place.  They claim that without some type of support, most of it would have slid down the mountainside by now.

A little further around the trail, we came upon another set of statues like the ones seen on the other side.  However, these statues were not nearly as well preserved.

An overview of the second area as the sun sets in the west.
The surviving heads were as tall as I am.
Light from the setting sun faded faster that I would have liked.

However, before it got too dark, I did manage to capture an image of this interesting relief that we found as part of the second site.  Notice the round object this individual is holding in his hand.

Electrical engineers among us reported that the circle with the point in the center of this object is exactly the pattern made when electrical plasma strikes an object.  There is way more to this discussion that I can go into here, but I did think the observation was interesting.

The parking lot and park buildings below us as we began our descent.  We made it back down there just as darkness fell.  The road up to this place is so steep that our large tour bus could not make the climb. 

Instead, they loaded us into several smaller ones.  Even in those, the engines strained to make the grade going up and burned up their brakes going back down.
Continue on to Post 22: Harran, by clicking here.


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