The mausoleum of Antiochus I (69–34 B.C.), who reigned over Commagene, a kingdom founded north of Syria and the Euphrates after the breakup of Alexander's empire, is one of the most ambitious constructions of the Hellenistic period. The syncretism of its pantheon, and the lineage of its kings, which can be traced back through two sets of legends, Greek and Persian, is evidence of the dual origin of this kingdom's culture.
Le tombeau d'Antiochos Ier (69 à 34 av. J.-C.), qui régna sur le Commagène, royaume constitué au nord de la Syrie et de l'Euphrate après le démembrement de l'empire d'Alexandre, représente une des plus colossales entreprises de l'époque hellénistique. Le syncrétisme de son panthéon et la filiation légendaire grecque et perse de ses rois témoignent de la double origine de la culture et de l'esthétique de ce royaume.
يشكل قبر الملك انتوشوز الأول (69 - 34 قبل الميلاد) الذي تربع على عرش مملكة كوماجين الناشئة شمال سوريا والفرات عقب انهيار امبراطورية الاسكندر احدى الانجازات الأكثر ضخامة في العهد اليوناني. ويشهد كل من الطابع التوفيقي الذي يتسم به مدفن عظماء الأمة والبنوة الأسطورية اليونانية والفارسية لملوك كوماجين على الأصل المزدوج لثقافة هذه المملكة وجماليتها.
Археологические находки на горе Немрут-Даг
Гробница Антиоха I (69-34 гг. до н.э.), который был правителем Коммагены (царства, основанного к северу от Сирии и реки Евфрат после распада империи Александра Македонского), это одно из наиболее амбициозных сооружений эллинистического периода. Эклектичность этого пантеона и различная последовательность смены царей в династии, что отражено в двух версиях легенды – древнегреческой и персидской, являются свидетельствами двойственного характера культуры этого царства.
El monte Nemrut alberga los vestigios de una de las más ambiciosas construcciones de la época helenística, el mausoleo del rey Antíoco I, que ocupó entre los años 69 y 34 a.C. el trono de Comagene, un reino creado al norte de Siria y el Éufrates tras el desmembramiento del imperio de Alejandro el Magno. El doble origen de la cultura y el arte de este reino lo corroboran tanto el sincretismo del panteón de sus dioses como el linaje grecopersa de sus soberanos.
In Nemrut Dağ staat het mausoleum van Antiochus (69-34 voor Christus) die regeerde over Commagene, een koninkrijk ten noorden van Syrië en de Eufraat. De dubbele oorsprong van het Hellenistische koninkrijk blijkt uit het syncretisme van haar pantheon en de lijn van koningen, die herleid kan worden tot de legendarische Grieken en Perzen. Nemrut Dağ wordt onder andere gekenmerkt door kolossale stenen beelden waarvan de kop is afgebroken en naar een lager gedeelte is gerold. Een deel van de gebruikte stenen blokken wegen meer dan 9 ton. Hierdoor geldt de plek als een van de meest kolossale en ambitieuze ondernemingen van het Hellenistische tijdperk.
Outstanding Universal Value
Crowning one of the highest peaks of the Eastern Taurus mountain range in south-east Turkey, Nemrut Dağ is the Hierotheseion (temple-tomb and house of the gods) built by the late Hellenistic King Antiochos I of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) as a monument to himself.
With a diameter of 145 m, the 50 m high funerary mound of stone chips is surrounded on three sides by terraces to the east, west and north directions. Two separate antique processional routes radiate from the east and west terraces. Five giant seated limestone statues, identified by their inscriptions as deities, face outwards from the tumulus on the upper level of the east and west terraces. These are flanked by a pair of guardian animal statues – a lion and eagle – at each end. The heads of the statues have fallen off to the lower level, which accommodates two rows of sandstone stelae, mounted on pedestals with an altar in front of each stele. One row carries relief sculptures of Antiochos’ paternal Persian ancestors, the other of his maternal Macedonian ancestors. Inscriptions on the backs of the stelae record the genealogical links. A square altar platform is located at the east side of the east terrace. On the west terrace there is an additional row of stelae representing the particular significance of Nemrut, the handshake scenes (dexiosis) showing Antiochos shaking hands with a deity and the stele with a lion horoscope, believed to be indicating the construction date of the cult area. The north terrace is long, narrow and rectangular in shape, and hosts a series of sandstone pedestals. The stelae lying near the pedestals on the north terrace have no reliefs or inscriptions.
The Hierotheseion of Antiochos I is one of the most ambitious constructions of the Hellenistic period. Its complex design and colossal scale combined to create a project unequalled in the ancient world. A highly developed technology was used to build the colossal statues and orthostats (stelae), the equal of which has not been found anywhere else for this period. The syncretism of its pantheon and the lineage of its kings, which can be traced back through two sets of legends, Greek and Persian, is evidence of the dual origin of this kingdom's culture.
Criterion (i): The tomb of Antiochos I of Commagene is a unique artistic achievement. The landscaping of the natural site of Nemrut Dağ is one of the most colossal undertakings of the Hellenistic period (some of the stone blocks used weigh up to nine tons).
Criterion (iii): The tomb or the Hierotheseion of Nemrut Dağ bears unique testimony to the civilization of the kingdom of Commagene. Antiochos I is represented in this monument as a descendant of Darius by his father Mithridates, and a descendant of Alexander by his mother Laodice. This semi-legendary ancestry translates in genealogical terms the ambition of a dynasty that sought to remain independent of the powers of both the East and the West.
Criterion (iv): More so than the tombs at Karakus and Eski Kahta, the tumulus at Nemrut Dağ illustrates, through the liberal syncretism of a very original pantheon, a significant, historical period. The assimilation of Zeus with Oromasdes (the Iranian god Ahuramazda), and Heracles with Artagnes (the Iranian god Verathragna) finds its artistic equivalent in an intimate mixture of Greek, Persian and Anatolian aesthetics in the statuary and the bas-reliefs.
Nemrut Dağ is largely intact and truthfully and credibly expresses it Outstanding Universal Value. The important cult areas of Commagene still exist, the structures are the original ones and their original interrelations can still be observed and perceived. Although the property boundary contains the tumulus and the east, west and north terraces, it does not include the full extent of the ceremonial routes. The greatest threat to the integrity of the property is the material damage caused by environmental conditions such as serious seasonal and daily temperature variations, freezing and thawing cycles, wind, snow accumulation, and sun exposure. The height of the tumulus is now reduced from its estimated original 60 m due to weathering, previous uncontrolled research investigations and climbing by visitors. Furthermore, the Nemrut property is located within a first degree earthquake zone and is very close to the East Anatolian Fault, which is seismically active. Therefore, the tumulus, statues and stelae are vulnerable to earthquakes.
Nemrut Dağ retains its authenticity in terms of form, materials and design as one of the unique artistic achievements of the Hellenistic period with its fascinating beauty of monumental sculptures in a spectacular setting. It has survived in a moderately well-preserved state. The original ceremonial routes to the Hierotheseion are known and still used for access today.
Protection and management requirements
Cultural components of the site are protected under the National Conservation Law No. 2863 and National Parks Law No. 2873. Mount Nemrut Tumulus was registered as a First Degree Archaeological Site under Act No. 2863 in 1986. After the preparation of current detailed maps, this site was revised and its surroundings were designated as an Interaction Transition Zone by Şanlıurfa Regional Council for Conservation of Cultural Property in 2008. Finally, the border of this zone, which acts as an unofficial Buffer Zone, was enlarged in 2011 by the same authority for the sake of the conservation of the cultural asset. Under the National Parks Law (No. 2873), an area that includes Nemrut Tumulus and other archaeological areas covering 13.850 ha were declared a Natural Park in 1988. With respect to this, the 1:25000 scaled “Long Term Development Plan of Mount Nemrut National Park” was approved in 2002 and reviewed in 2009 and 2011. Within the framework of the Commagene Nemrut Conservation Development Programme (CNCDP), launched in August 2006 with a protocol signed between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Middle East Technical University (METU), geological studies, material research and structural analyses have been carried out to identify material properties of blocks, examine the deterioration mechanisms of the stones, investigate compatible mortars and determine appropriate structural interventions. The structure has been documented in detail and a reconstitution study, to be used to understand the original design considerations and all the previous interventions, has been completed.
Drawing upon data from the detailed research of the construction materials and the structural analyses made in the area, a restoration project has been prepared and includes the consolidation of the stones, the definition of structural interventions and preventive measures to control possible risks and limited aesthetic applications to the eroded blocks, which will permit a better perception of the original design considerations of the Hierotheseion. Measured drawings, restitution and restoration projects were approved by the Regional Council in 2011. The Commagene Nemrut Management Plan requires completion and implementation.
In 2009 projects were prepared for two visitor centres outside the property, one on the way to Adıyaman and the other on the way to Malatya.
The tomb or the Hierotheseion of Nemrut Dağ bears unique testimony to the civilization of the kingdom of Commagene. Antiochos I is represented in this monument as a descendant of Darius by his father Mithridates, and a descendant of Alexander by his mother Laodice. This semi-legendary ancestry translates in genealogical terms the ambition of a dynasty that sought to remain independent of the powers of both the East and the West. More than the tombs at Karakuş and Eski Kâhta, the tumulus at Nemrut Dağ illustrates, through the liberal syncretism of a very original pantheon, a significant historical period. The landscaping of the natural site of Nemrut Dağ is one of the most colossal undertakings of the Hellenistic epoch (some of the stone blocks used weigh up to 9 tonnes).
When the empire of Alexander the Great was breaking up, numerous kingdoms were formed in the Hellenized provinces of the East. One such kingdom was Commagene, which, from 162 BC to AD 72, existed as a semi-independent state, its sovereigns defending their autonomy first against the Seleucids and then against the Romans.
The monarchs of this dynasty bore the Greek names of Antiochos or Mithridates. They left behind, in the mountainous region that stretched from the north of the high valley of the Euphrates, not far from Adıyaman, several breathtakingly beautiful funerary sanctuaries. Locations include Eski Kâhta, Karakuş and, especially, Nemrut Dağ, where the most impressive of all the tomb sites is found, that of Antiochos I of Commagene (69-34 BC).
Discovered by chance in 1881 by Charles Sester, an engineer, it was not until 1953 that exploration of the site was undertaken. Dominating the summit of Nemrut Dağ is a conical tumulus of stone chips. This funerary mound, whose interior layout remains unknown despite numerous attempts to locate the dromos, is surrounded on the east, west and north sides by artificial terraces. The east terrace has two distinct levels dug out of the rock. On the upper level, a row of five colossal seated figures (7 m high) representing deities shares a common substructure with two pairs of equally immense statues, each pair comprising a lion and an eagle, symmetrically positioned at either end. Inscriptions on the statues identify them from left to right as being: the god Apollo-Mithras-Helios-Hermes; the goddess Tyche of Commagene; the god Zeus-Oromasdes; Antiochos himself; the god Heracles-Artagnes-Ares.
The heads of these statues have broken off and tumbled to the lower terrace, which is bordered on its east side by a pyramid-shaped altar, and on the north and south sides by rows of orthostats. On the north side, these stones are decorated with relief sculptures representing the Persian ancestors of Antiochos. On the south side, his Macedonian ancestors symmetrically face the others. Engraved inscriptions on the backs of the slabs identify the genealogical links.
The west terrace has similar features, with the same series of five statues between the two lion-eagle pairs, but does not have an altar. The orthostats repeat the dual genealogy of Antiochos I, the Persian branch on the south, the Macedonian on the west. The symmetry is somewhat modified by the topography of the mountain.
Three superb reliefs show Antiochos exchanging a handshake with Apollo-Mithras-Helios-Hermes, with Zeus-Oromasdes and Heracles-Artagnes-Ares. They are framed by an allegorical group of Antiochos and the Commagenes on the left and an astrological relief called 'the king's horoscope' on the right. The inscription, which has been deciphered, gives the date 10 July 62-61 BC: the date that Antiochos I was invested as king by the Romans.Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC