Nemrut Dagis’ Western Terrace at Sunset: Heads of Deities Built by Antiochus I

The unique mountain top shrine of Nemrut Dagi was known before 1881 only to local herders before being discovered by a geologist. Archaeological excavations took place in 1953 by the American School of Oriental Research. They conducted surveys of the site and began a preservation program, but this has provided little insight into the either the methods of construction or use.

The Western Terrace has statues of the same deities along with reliefs showing King Antiochus shaking hands with Apollo, Zeus and Heracules. One other statue is unique known as the “Lion of Commagene”; it bears  significant astronomical information with different theories.  Oz did not point this stone out. But to give him the benefit of doubt, he may have, when I wasn’t standing next to him at that moment.

Even on the Western Terrace with sun bathing the faces, I didn’t find it as impressive as I had hoped. High expectations in travel are not a good thing and this was one that was not met.

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walking towards the Western Terrace of Nemrut Dagi, Turkey
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all tourists trying to capture that perfect picture on top of Mount Nemrut, Southeastern Turkey


Again, the five statues represent: Apollo also called Mithra/Helios/Hermes…View image; Tyche, the fertility goddess of the Commagenes; Zeus…View image; Antiochus; and Hercules/Artagnes/Ares.

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head of King Antiochus on the Western Terrace of Nemrut Dagi, Turkey
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the famous heads of Nemrut Dagi on the Western Terrace, Turkey


Oz brought wine up to the hilltop for this special moment. The group sat, and sipped…View image. Other tourists climbed the higher rocks for better views…View image, walked from one side to another trying to find the perfect photograph by sticking themselves right in front of the heads…View image.

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ex-Marine and Explore group sipping wine on the Western Terrace of Nemrut Dagi


Feeling I had taken enough photos, Steve and I didn’t wait for the last rays of sun but began walking down what I thought was the correct path. Wrong. Carefully sidestepping through the rocks down the incorrect path, we saw the main trail in the distance and made our way towards it…View image. Almost at the bottom, still more tourists raced and panted their way past us, heading up as the sun set over the horizon…View image. Psst: They missed the so-called “golden” moment…

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tourists heading up to the Western Terrace of Nemrut Dagi for the long-gone sunset, Turkey



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