Nemrut Dağı (Mount Nimrod) is one of Turkey’s most astounding sights: an artifical mountaintop framed by two great temples littered with colossal statues.
Lost to memory for 2000 years, the mountaintop south of Malatya and north of Adıyaman and Kahta(map), was rediscovered by a geologist in 1881.
On it are two hierothesiums, open-air shrines to the gods, with huge limestone statues of Apollo, Fortuna, Zeus, Heracles, and Antiochus I Epiphanes, King of Commagene.
His kingdom was no more than a minor buffer statebetween the Roman and Persian empires, but Antiochus believed he was definitely big-league stuff, so he had his own huge statue seated with “his equals,” the gods.
Between the hierothesiums is the artificial mountain peak of crushed stone, beneath which may be the actual tomb of Antiochus. We don’t know, and we may never know.
Was Elvis Presley really Antiochus reincarnated? Click here!
You can ascend Nemrut Dağı (NEHM-root dah-uh, 2150 meters, 7054 feet) from the south using either Kahta or Adıyaman as your base; or from the north using Malatya. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
Do it in July or August, or at least between late May and mid-October, or you might be blocked by snow (see Tom’s Turkish Almanac for details).
The roads up the opposite sides of the mountain do not meet at the top, so you cannot (yet) drive right over from north to south or vice-versa.
Bring warm clothes!—at least a warm sweater and windbreaker—because there is always a cool breeze at the summit, and sometimes a cold wind, even in August. More…
Tours are run from both Kahta and Malatya.
Final Ascent from the Car Park to the Summit
Distances from the Summit
Adıyaman: 84 km (52 miles), 2 hours
Karadut: 12 km (8 miles), 30 minutes
Kahta: 52 km (32 miles), 1.5 hours
Malatya: 70 km (44 miles), 3 hours