Nemrut Dağı: An Amusing Little Place

Trip Start Feb 08, 2008
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Trip End Sep 11, 2009


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Flag of Turkey  , Adıyaman,
Monday, June 29, 2009

Nemrut Dağı is an archeological site, the images from which form some of the iconographic tourist pictures of Turkey. Basically, the big crumbly-looking heads. The site is a mountain top, and it is in a Turkish national park. It is not on a major highway route. And therefore it can only be approached from one side or the other. There is no through connection by road.

It is, however, possible to walk across the gap. And this is what I planned to do. The gap, from one parking lot across the site to the other parking lot is only about a quarter of a mile.

My guide book told that the City of Malatya arranged guided tours to Nemrut Dağı. So I chose that option as a way to approach the place; then take my chances on catching a ride down the other side.

In the previous blog I told of arriving to Malatya and meeting Kemal, the Malatya Tourist Office representative. He said that a tour went every day. So, after a couple of days of rest and recovery from a cold, I showed up for the tour to leave on the late morning of June 30.

In the summers Kemal holds his office in a tea garden. And there I met with others attending this days' tour, an Australian family of three from Tasmania. The mini-bus arrived and Kemal saw us off. On the bus already were a Turkish couple.

The 90TL ( US$58.62) price includes transportation to Nemrut Dağı, an evening meal at the nearby hotel, a night in the hotel, breakfast, and a return to Malatya. The schedule is that you arrive in the late afternoon, check into the hotel, have an hour or more to do whatever, then are driven the about 3/4 mile up to the site to have a look around until sunset, then return to the hotel for the evening meal.

The following morning you are awakened around 4am for a return to the top to watch the sunrise. Then return to the hotel for breakfast before the return to Malatya.

For my free time on the first day I chose to look for picture compositions and which included a climb up above the hotel. The Australian family chose to walk on up the road to the site.

All I can say is that on these visits neither the sunset nor sunrise were anything to get excited about. If you've ever seen a sunset or sunrise, well, there you are. The only value added were the brief color added to the site and the views of the dramatic scenery surrounding.

The site itself is amusing for its quirkiness. It is more chaotic than I had expected, not as neat as publicity pictures make it seem. And, judging by some pictures I have seen even more disrupted now than before, where some stelle were in place.  It is if they had restored things, then thought better of it and returned things, partially, to the originally chaotic tumbled-down condition that the site may first have presented. I don't know what the deal was.

Well, unlike the others, at the 4am wake-up call I had to pack my gear up and take it along to the top. I am traveling with a backpack, a day pack, and a rolling suitcase, which was my "library." It is now greatly lightened as I sent many of my books home from Konya. The ones I've read and those that delt with history and sites I've since passed.

But, the ground is rough. The Australian gent was kind to carry the suitcase up from the parking lot to the site platform.

After the sunrise there was naught to do but pack my gear over to the parking lot on the other side. Fortunately, the other, southern, parking lot was at a lower elevation. The evening before a young Turkish fellow had said hello to me. And again on this morning he again made contact. I found out that he was a friendly tout. And he offered me a ride down the other side.

What it turned out to be was a mini-bus hired by two young Turkish fellows on holiday. They were chemical engineers, and had been classmates at university. One spoke the better English. And I was amused that he worked for Georgia Pacific of Turkey. I told him I had many, many years ago worked in the Georgia Pacific corporate headquarters office building in my city of Portland, Oregon before they moved their offices to Atlanta Georgia.

Well, I at first thought we were headed directly down from Nemrut Dağı to the town of Kahta. We went to two sites of interest, one of which I had read about but didn't think I'd get to see, as I expected anyone coming up the other side would have seen on the way up. It was the site where there is the sculpture of King Mithradates shaking hands with the God Heracles. It is a marvelous site, overlooking a beautiful valley.

Then we drove down into the valley to view the Roman Bridge of Septimius Severus. And there my camera's batteries died.

It turned out that these two viewings were side trips. For we next drove back into the park. But instead of going on up, turned right and went down to some tourist facilities. On the north side there is only the one hotel. On the south side there are a number of number of campgrounds and pensions and the like. One of these businesses was that of the fellow driving the minibus I was riding in. At that point the two Turkish fellows were returned to their car.

It all happened so fast that I missed the chance to ask them for a lift to Kahta. Instead I got to pay the mini-bus guy his asking price, 50TL (US$32.60), and then being taken the rest of the short way by him on down to the bus station at Kahta. There another, regular dolmuş mini-bus soon left for the about 2 hour (12TL, US$7.82) ride to Urfa. Interesting how prices work when people have you in a pinch.

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Comments

geezergal
geezergal on

Good one!
When I read these entries I try to picture you sitting on your couch looking longingly out of the window in your condo in Portland in the middle of dark winter. I worry about the possible frustration. Your free self is now seemingly what you are. Love Sis

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