In the first century BC, King Antiochus of Commagene built a shrine on Mount Nemrut featuring rows of giant enthroned gods.  Including himself, naturally.

Sadly, later visitors did not approve. The gods were decapitated and their heads are now arranged in a neat line in front of the thrones.

When or why the decapitations occurred is entirely unknown.  But the decapitated remains make for a striking sight.

Despite everything, King Antiochus got his wish: travelers still come from far and wide to Mount Nemrut to gaze on his countenance in wonder!


Mount Nemrut is around a three hour drive from the nearest major city (Şanliurfa).

The summit is at 7200′. We drove almost all the way to the top and then climbed up a couple of hundred steps to the shrine.

In winter the mountain is covered with snow and the top parts of the road are inaccessible, generally into March and sometimes into early April. Some people hike up anyway, but it sounds like quite an adventure.

There are two terraces, each with a row of decapitated gods. The East terrace has the best preserved thrones, the West terrace the best preserved heads.