Friday, June 1, 2007

Mount Nemrut

Nemrut reliefs Nemrut's guard hut

Antiochos cheek to cheek Nemrut in the snow

As I said in my profile, I love to travel, so I figured I'd write a post on the most special place I've ever been to. And my pick is Mount Nemrut, in Turkey.

The place was breathtaking of its own right but of course in order to be one's pick it takes something more: the circumstances. Tourists visit there from spring until October, as after that the weather makes it impossible. What everybody does is if it's going to be sunny you go there at dawn to see the sun come out; if not you go later having had your good sleep and healthy breakfast. We went there at the very end of October some years ago and we were told the next day it wasn't going to be sunny but stormy. Still as we had paid for a guide and car, there was always this 1 % probability and this was one in a lifetime kind of thing, so we insisted we wanted to go anyway. We woke up at 3.30, had an hour ride with a very upset guide who was wondering why on earth did he get the cuckoos, and then when the car could no longer go on, we were shown our way, (the guide would wait at the "cafeteria"). And we started our journey in the dark, in the snow, the fog so thick we couldn't see three feet ahead of us. Now I'm not exactly an adventurous soul but once there what are you going to do?... So I was really scared (the stupid idea that I had seen bears' footprints in the snow wasn't helping), thinking at any moment I was going to bump against one of these sculptures (or the bear) and have the scare of a lifetime. Thank god when we finally got there it was all more than worth it. We had the place to ourselves (so we thought), the day was beginning and it was a magical sight (See the pics, excuse the no face and their being photos of photos -no digital camera then). We had to clean the snow from the reliefs in order to see them and we were doing so when we saw a man waving his arms at us and saying something we didn't understand. Now That was scarier than the bear, by then the place had its danger because of the PKK being active there, so we got scared and had the clever idea to pretend to ignore him (hmmm). The poor man came back after a while to give it another go at trying to check on these weird tourists and finally managed to say to us he was the guardian (see pic), and to go inside his hut and have tea!!. Hot tea tasted really wonderful, the guardian was soo charming and then we stepped outside again and walked around the most beautiful sculptures I've ever seen in the best setting I've ever seen, all to ourselves. I am sad that these faces are there unprotected (from weather and men) and slowly going to waste but at the same time it's as if they belong there and taking them to a museum would end the most beautiful scene.
So see, it was overall so impressive (and yes, there are bears, wolves, jackals and foxes inhabiting the nearby forest!!!).
This post was posted on the 13 august 2007 but I've changed the data to hide it and not having the people that are looking for info on the Tower stumbling upon these somehow eerie no face photos. By the way, I'm usually the one behind the camera.

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