As 2012 wraps to a close, I feel compelled to give a special post of ‘Turkey in Review.’ I’ve been extremely fortunate with the amount I’ve been able to travel and see within the past four months and, although I’ve missed a lot, I can’t help but be happy with what I’ve seen. So, without further ado, here is a quick and dirty review of some hot-spots in Turkey for any of you thinking of traveling in this amazing country.
Visiting Mount Nemrut (Nemrut Dağı) was my first major Turkish excursion, and it also featured prominently on my life bucket list. Built as a burial mound on top of one of the highest peaks for the king of the Commagene Kingdom in South Eastern Turkey, the mountain is definitely worth a visit, though maybe not necessarily for the reasons you may think.
The main reason people flock to Nemrut is due to it’s reputation as the ‘mountain of heads.’ The burial mound is encircled by extremely well sculpted, and preserved, heads that had fallen off their lego block bodies untold centuries ago. To be honest, I found the heads and the bustle of tourists around them to be a tad underwhelming – that said, they are still awe inspiring; however, the sunset from the summit of Nemrut is among the most beautiful things I ever seen in my life. I’ve been told sunrise from the summit may be even more impressive.
The road to Nemrut is also littered with the remains of thousands of years of history showing the regions varied inhabitants – from Persians to Romans, the Commagene to the Seljuk Turks – a quality tour will stop at sight after sight of massive old, yet living, ruins where locals still stop to rest or play cards. You can read about the entire Nemrut trip in detail here.
Getting there can be a pain if you’re planning on only staying in the west of Turkey, but it is definitely worth the hassle. From Ankara or Istanbul you can catch one of the daily flights to Malatya or Adıyaman (the two cities have a healthy rivalry about which is better for Nemrut tourists). From those cities your best bet would be to find the local tourist office and book a tour through them – this will ensure you see the sights on the way to the summit.
Alternatively, if you are adventurous, you could always rent a car in one of the two cities, buy a guide to the region, and conduct your own Nemrut tour!
If you’re more interested in old cities with a Middle Eastern flair, check out page 2…