10 July 2015

Nemrut-The Valley Tour

After the amazing sunrise trip to the top of Mount Nemrut we went on a valley tour of the area. Our first stop was Eski Kale (literally old fortress). Our driver Mehmet pulled up to a tea hut at the bottom of what appeared to be another bloody mountain, made a vague gesture upwards, and said he'd wait for us in the tea hut.


Where was my valley?! I signed up for a valley tour. I.e. a tour of a valley. No one told me I had to climb things so I look down into the valley. Not happy. At least this wasn't anything like Gerger so I followed E&M willingly, if not exactly gamely, up the hill.

Ceremonial cult cave

Antiochos I with Heracles

The views were beautiful to be sure and the climb wasn't so bad. I slipped a bit here and there but did not fall (yay me!). However what I did not do was follow crazy M into the cult cave. I got a peek at the steps (which alone would have kept me out) and they pretty much went straight down. And down, and down, and down. E and I sat in what little shade there was to wait. After a while though we started to worry a little. M wasn't responding to our calls, we couldn't see his torchlight, and he'd been gone a wee little while. E decided to give him 5 more minutes before going in after him; luckily that wasn't necessary as his light appeared a few minutes later. He was exhausted, and didn't seem entirely sure the trip had been worth the effort as the stairs ended in a tiny chamber with no outlet or anything particularly interesting.

Yeni Kale

We stopped next at the base of Yeni Kale (cleverly named 'new fortress') on the river Nymphaios. E asked Mehmet if we could climb up to the ruins and, thank you, God he just laughed at her. I was a little worried that he expected us to do exactly that. It was a beautiful spot with flowers in full bloom. Mehmet said people come here to swim in the summer and indeed there were some picnicers nearby.

Septimus Severus Bridge-seriously that's its name

From Yeni Kale we went on to another bridge...and I couldn't believe its name when we got there. This bridhe, built by Romans in 199-ish AD over the Cendere reiver, is the Septimus Severus bridge.


They named a bridge after a Harry Potter character 2000 years before the genius of JK Rowling even existed!!

The last stop on our "valley" tour Karakus Tumulus, or, yet another grave site. There's not much left as the site was plundered by Romans for materials (to build the first Harry Potter bridge no less). So basically all that remains are a small hill and a couple incomplete Doric columns. But I didn't have to climb anything so, win for me!!

For the sake of not having to get up earlier than 3 AM for the sunrise tour we chose to stay at the Karavansaray Hotel which is only about 8 kilometers away from Nemrut. It wasn't bad. They have a pool that we didn't use because it felt kind of awkward to play in the pool with the 4-5 male staff members and random villagers sitting around. The hotel comes with half board (breakfast and dinner) which were good but seriously bring snacks. It must have been the elevation because I was never not ravenous the entire trip. If you're not renting a car they'll arrange any number of tours for you the way they did us but your price bargaining situation isn't so great...you're pretty well trapped there without them and they know it.

All in all this was a fantastic trip. So happy that I finally got to tick Mount Nemrut off my Turkey bucket list! If you have the time (this can be done in a one night trip instead of two) it is definitely worth the trip.

No comments: