We woke up relatively early. We ate our breakfast and took the road to the famous top of Nemrut Dagi which was 12km. away. The road was narrow and –after one point- paved with slabs. We ran into 2-3 hotels. At a glance, I consider that we had made the best choice. After 2km., we found ourselves in front of the booking office. We paid 5YTL per person. The following landscape that we met was without vegetation, steep and impressive! The altitude drew close to 1200m. The wind blowing was cool despite the fact that it was midsummer. Everywhere around us there were mountains. In the far distance we could discern the reservoir that had been created by the boom of Ataturk in the Euphrates River.
The way led to a building. From there, 2 paths set forward to the top. We followed the western one. We could discern the hill that was formed from little rocks on the top far away. What was remarkable was the fact that the size of each rock didn’t outsize a human fist!
Reaching the top, we found the most eyeful place of interest. Stone heads, 2m high –placed on the ground- gazed loftily into the South! They depicted Apollo, the Luck goddess, Zeus, Hercules and Antiochus I Epiphanes. Reaching the eastern side of the hill there were the sitting bodies of the statues. Antiochus was the king who gave the order to build this amazing creation. The place was destined to be a sanctum or a tomb. The king created the “Gods’ Thrones” assuming that they were his relatives and that he would take a seat next to them after he had passed away. The sight was spectacular! The altitude was 2.216m.
In that place, there was a heliport for the wealthy visitors of the monument... so that they don’t tire!
The time went by but we didn’t want to leave. At one point we took the decision and returned to the inn. We loaded our bags on the motorcycles and departed for the Narince village, which located at the crossroad of the highway to Kahta. Our initial plan was to move eastwards towards the city of Batman. However, we could not leave without seeing the rest sights of the area.
Riding westwards we led our ways to the ancient city of Arsamia (19km.) With the same ticket that we had bought earlier, we entered the archaeological place which was on the west side of the top of Nemrut Dagi. We were the only visitors. We left our motorcycles at the parking and walked for 150m. We found ourselves in front of the magnificent statue that depicted God Mithras shaking hands with Hercules. Next to it, there was a marble plate in which the history of ancient Arsamia was written in Greek (!). At the same place, there was an entrance of a cave 150m deep which was most likely used as a devotional place. We went down a few meters intending to explore the cave, but soon the prevailing darkness stopped our way.
We left ancient Arsamia and directed to the castle of Yeni Kale (1km.) which was closed. The multi-floored castle with the original architecture was found climbing on a steep rock on the break of a canyon. We made do with a few photographs from far away. We continued with the signs to Kahta leading our way, until we found the ancient Roman bridge. This gem, in the warm days, constitutes a place of gathering of the locals who seek the coolness of the river waters. The 3 pillars on the bridge sides were worth notice. The bridge isn’t used anymore as it had suffered great damage in the past by an oil- track. You see, the former rural region has turned into an oil-producing one as it covers 60% of Turkey’s needs.
Continuing, we reached the crossroad to Karakus Tapesi. It was a tomb but nowadays 3 pillars have been left over. Each one was decorated with something different (for example eagle, lion). The materials, that were there, were used in the past by the Romans for the construction of the bridge.
The total wandering in the sights of Nemrut Dagi was approximately 60-70km. Of course, it was worth it and we felt lucky that we had changed our initial plans.
It was midday henceforth. We decided to move eastwards towards the indifferent city of Batman. We followed the sign to Feribot, Diyarbakir, Siverek. In 40km., we found ourselves in front of a rudimentary jetty. The time we arrived, the boat had departed before half an hour approximately. It was a good chance for us to make a stop for coffee at the nearby little tavern. We were lucky as the distance (20 minutes) to the far bank of the river was small. So the boat which looked like a ferry boat returned soon. We all went on board (ticket price: 5YTL per rider & motorcycle). Along with us, a loaded track got on board which made the boat to “sigh”!!!
We got off at Kayali and headed towards Siverek. The route was very beautiful. Vast uncultivated extents of ground and a straight road more than meets the eye constituted the scenery of the landscape. The ride was enjoyable! The traffic was minimal and the paving’s condition was really good. The sun set off behind us, giving us the chance to enjoy the colors of the sunset without bothering us...
We passed Siverek and headed to Diyarbakir. We reached there at around 7.30pm. It had begun to darken. We considered spending the night at Diyarbakir to be right and continued the next day to Batman.
The tourist guide didn’t mention anything about the city. However, it had miscellaneous sights such as Armenian churches, an impressive mosque and beautiful lit well-reserved walls. We wandered much and winded up inside the walls seeking some shelter. We ended up at the Hotel Buyuk (Grand) Kervansaray. Although it was quite expensive (130YTL/double room & breakfast) for our budget, it impressed us!!! It was a renovated kervansaray (=caravanserai, inn) in which travellers found shelter in the past. Its architecture consists of a rectangle stone building (1m thick wall!!!), with an internal yard in the centre of which there was a beautiful fountain. The rooms, small but with all the comforts, were on the first floor circumferentially of the yard. Many of the characteristics of the old caravanserai had been maintained with the renovation.
We rested for a while and went out for a walk in the city and to have dinner. We winded up in a Καταλήξαμε σε μια outdoor chop-house which had flavorsome food. As we ascertained, the chop-house was in the central market of the city which was “in good sleep” at that time. Barely lighted, it gave you a particular sense...
Around 10pm. We returned to the hotel. We enjoyed the traditional baklavas which we had bought from a local που είχαμε αγοράσει από ένα τοπικό candy-store under the melodic sounds of the Turkish musician of the hotel...