Nemrut Dağı is known for its temples and the carved heads of the statues of gods which now lay at the base of a funerary mound from a Commagene king of two thousand years ago. We thought it would be a nice place for a hike in the mountains.
The weather had other ideas.
After negotiating a couple of seats in a minibus to get us to the mountain from the local Tour Guide Cartel, we arrived at the visitor centre as the rain hammered down and the mountain was shrouded in cloud. The driver, and presumed head of the cartel, didn’t understand why we didn’t want to carry on the tour & then stay in his hotel. “There is nothing else to see here, and nowhere to stay, and it is going to rain for three days” he told us.
He was right about the rain, but we managed to get a couple of beds in the dormitory beside the visitor centre, which is habited by the Turkish staff selling Kurdish trousers & miniatures of the Gods’ heads to tourists.
Going out for a hike was off for the day: it was cold, we were already soaked from having visited the temple ruins at the top of Nemrut, and visibility was down near the non-existent mark. Once all the tour-groups had left, there was only Tony & I, with the six guys who occupied this brick shack, its blankets reeking of stale smoke. The evening was spent trying to understand the rules of tavla, which they played with wild gestures and occasional strong words.
At 4.30am our alarms reminded us of our cold surroundings, and we were pulling on boots and jackets to watch the sunrise up on the mountain. The cloud was coming back after a clear night, but we did have ten minutes of unhindered sunshine before the mist rose up, producing a very eery atmosphere.
We negotiated another ride back to Kahta from a driver bringing up another group. After passing by the statues at Arsemia and its castle ruins sitting atop the cliff-face opposite, a Roman Bridge of Septimius Severus and another burial mound, we were back in Katah, catching a bus to Şanlıurfa, which swept past the lakes of the Ataturk dam project.
(More photos of Mt Nemrut.)