OK, today was my earliest wake up call, like, EVER! 3:00am my alarm went off. That hurt, especially since I didn’t go to bed until 10:30, then there was this loud banging noise that would go off every 10 minutes or so on the floor below. SO annoying! Whatever the case, I was so excited to go to where we were going I barely noticed how early it was or how puffy my eyes were. We departed at 3:30 sharp to get to the mountain in time for the sunrise. This will be my third sunrise this week, that must be a record for me as I’m usually asleep WELL past sunrise. Once we got to the base of the mountain we had to walk uphill for about 25 minutes. I don’t know if it was the ungodly hour or the fact that I forgot to stretch but that hike was hurting! Wow, my calves were burning and my lungs were windy! But once we reached the top of the east terrace… wow. There is a large flat alter (that’s where everyone sits to watch the sunrise) where animals were sacrificed. Then there’s the mound of pebbles with the three chairs placed in front but only the legs and feet remain. Then there are the heads. They are spaced fairly evenly in front of the hill in front of the chairs. they are, in a word, amazing to see in person, 100 times better than the photos.
King Antiochus I built this tomb in 62 BC atop Mount Nemrut. There is a statue of him surrounded by statues of Apollo, Zeus, Hercules, two lions and two eagles. The heads alone are 5 to 6 feet tall and at one point they were seated on top of the chairs fully intact.
It was damn cold up there at sunrise! You’d never have guessed that the temperature would reach 44 degrees later that day!
See the legs and the shoes?
This is on the western terrace. More heads and some stone relief work thought to have once been a part of a large frieze.
Me and my tour gang.
This is another place that we visited. I really should have taken notes and not relied on my memory (I was going on 4 hours sleep here!) so I can’t really remember why this was here, only that it is King Antiochus on the left and Apollo (I think) on the right on the relief. The writing on this tablet is all in ancient Greek and the script is no larger than 1.5 cm tall.
Waiting on the alter to get sacrificed. The tunnel behind me had an incredibly steep decline, it looked like it was headed for the center of the earth.
Getting some puppy love.
Next we visited the Arsemia Roman bridge of Cendere. This bridge is so solid its hard to believe how old it is. There should be 4 pillars (2 on either end of the bridge) but the young ruler killed his brother (his main competition) and removed the pillar that represented him. Ah, royalty!
This is the Tumulus Tomb of Karakus. I’m sad to say I can’t remember any other information about it, only that it’s very OLD! I couldn’t really find very much info. when I googled it either so just enjoy the photos!
We made a quick stop at the Ataturk Dam. This is an impressive feat of engineering. Holy cow, it’s dam (I couldn’t help myself!) big! It dams the river Euphrates and is one of the largest dams in Europe. I think it might be the 5th largest dam in the world if I can trust my memory from yesterday.
Now this was cool… this is the ancient village of Harran. These “bee-hive” houses were mentioned in the book of genesis as the place where Abraham spent the last years of his life. I’ve learned more about religion in the last 5 months than I have in my entire 40 years. But don’t worry, I haven’t been converted or anything!
Me with an unfortunate fox that got into the hen house one time too many.
Look, I got a camel to smile! These belonged to the young owner of the bee-hive houses we were looking at. He was interested in buying me from my tour group in exchange for some camels. I explained that my family (and my tour group) I didn’t have any camels so he was sadly out of luck.
These buildings were right next door and are said to be the site of the first Islamic University and Turkey’s very first mosque.
We were spending night two in a city called Sanliurfa. This is a mosque close to the cave where Abraham was said to be born.
The pools are called “The pools of the holy carp.” You can buy food for the fish and these little boys were creating a feeding frenzy!
The entrance to the cave where Abraham was born. We had to remove our shoes and put on floor length cloaks and cover our heads with our scarves. As we were walking in this old woman stopped us and said something in Turkish, in a really strong way. I have no idea what she said, but I got the feeling she wasn’t happy that we were in there. Hey, I paid my one lira, I had every right to go in there! It was kind of interesting, but not terribly exciting. I’m sure for holy people it would mean a lot more.
We went and walked around the local bazaar for a while and stopped for Turkish coffee. That is the strongest sh*t you will ever drink. I sort of like it, and sort of don’t… you have to try it when you’re here though at least once.
Deniz said he could read the coffee sludge so he was telling Petra her fortune.
The pistachios are fantastic here. I tried some raw ones, but they are much better roasted and salted. This guy really wanted to be in the photo. So manly!
In short, this was one of the longest days of my life, but also probably one of the best! I saw so much and experienced so much… Turkey is definitely one of the most exciting and beautiful countries I’ve been to.