Nemrut Dagi

Trip Start Mar 26, 2011
Trip End May 01, 2011

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Flag of Turkey  , Adiyaman,
Friday, April 15, 2011

After breakfast today we left Urfa and went to Gobleki Tepe, the site we saw last night on the video in the bar in Urfu.  We drove out into a great landscape:  green valleys dotted with rocks and mountains with their folds visible in layers.  We came to the grassy hill with outbuildings for the archeological digs.   This is the site of the oldest neolithic temple on earth-11,000 years old.  Some of our group questioned how the archeologists could determine this.  There were pillars standing and propped up so that you could get some idea of the size of the temple, or temples, since there were over 9 different sets of pillars.  Most extraordinary were the carvings.  There were some quite sophisticated carvings of foxes...I could see the drawings of them even if I couldn't actually make them out in the distance.  We couldn't get close to the pillars. 

It was a great site..with the temples, the landscape, the wind...and we felt special to be there.  It was discovered by a farmer whe he was digging in his field.  The land is owned by three families and Kamil thought that they have gotten wealthy through this discovery in the 60's.  We didn't get to see them, but there are over one hundred carved statues from the site in the Urfa museum.  I would have loved to see them.  This is a YouTube video describing it:
12,000 Years Old Unexplained Structure

After this we drove back toward Urfa and headed to Nemrut Dagi and the Taurus Mountains where we are staying at the Hotel Euphrat.  It is perched on the mountain leading to Nemrut Dagi.   From here we took a minibus to Nemrut Dagi national park.  We walked the last 45 minutes or so up the mountain to the tumulus of Alexander the Great's successor general Antiochus, or rather the mountain is the man-made is believed.  Erwin kept saying that he wanted a memorial like this when he dies.  As we walked first on a stone path, then a narrower gravely path and finally on the snow-covered path, there was an old gentlemen who kept urging us ahead and he would offer to help me ... especially over rocky parts and the snow which was slippery.  I had no idea who he was or why he was acting that way. 

First we got to the east terrace that was mostly shaded as we had timed our walk to be there for the sunset.  We snapped some photos and tried to avoid the other people up there.  There was some American journalist with Al Jazeera who was talking to some of our group.  After a bit, we were urged to go to the west terrace.  There were more heads of gods and goddesses (Demeter included), Antiochus, some lions and an eagle or falcon....these looked good in the dimming golden light.  Of course, there was a chain obstructing the heads that made our photos less photogenic and the American journalist made suggestions as to how to avoid it.  To get to this side, Betty had been adopted by the old gentleman.  I took a photo of them smiling!   Later Betty and I decided he wanted to get to the US so he was trying to marry one of us to get into the country.

We tried to wait until sunset but people were starting to get antsy.  Claire was ready to go down.  Brave Betty was willing to wait, so I decided to wait as well.  Then Kamil or someone said it was going to rain so we headed down.  It was so hazy that there never was a real sunset so we didn't feel we missed anything. 
We ate indoors next to the fireplace where they were burning scraps from the remodeling project.  Adrian and Martin thought we were going to die from the toxic fumes but we survived.  The dining room had benches covered in kilim type seat cushions and there were lots of rugs on the even had a chicken design.  Our room wasn't nearly as cold as I would have thought it would be.  I think Catherine only had on 4 blankets.  My two were enough.  I finally found someone who gets colder than I do.

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