Mount Nemrut's colossal statues of the temple and tomb of King Antiochus

Mount Nemrut's colossal statues of the temple and tomb of King Antiochus

At 2,000 metres up, the orange, tawny mountain has given way to an arid landscape. The scene is beautiful, the views over the Anatolian countryside spectacular. But you’re not alone – alongside you are the giant statues of ancient gods – enormous heads and bodies sitting silently sentinel, surveying surrounding scenery. These statues were ordered by King Antiochus of Commagene in the 1st century BC, and stood undisturbed and forgotten for centuries afterwards, only redisvovered in 1851. And what a rediscovery – in a country laden with examples of how man has embellished beautiful landscapes to staggering effect, Turkey’s very own Easter Island may be just the most masterful marriage of human hand and nature.

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