The Tomb of Armenian King Antiochus I in modern Turkey

The Tomb of Armenian King Antiochus I in TurkeyMount Nemrut in southeastern Turkey houses an ancient Armenian shrine: the tomb of the Commagene King Antiochus I Theos (Antiochus Yervanduni).

Antiochus I reigned over Commagene in 70-38 BC. He is known for his significant contribution to the architecture of Commagene, and his tomb built in 62 BC by his order is a vivid example of that architectonics. The tomb is located at an altitude of 2,150 meters.

The shrine of Mount Nemrut actually consists of not only the tomb of Antiochus atop the mount but also huge statues surrounding the burial place of the king. The idea behind this structure was Antiochus’ belief in his divine continuity. In particular, Antiochus ordered every inhabitant of his kingdom to call him a “god”. Mount Nemrut was also turned into a religious center at his initiative.

Apart from the tomb and the statues, the construction of a temple dedicated to the king has been planned. This temple would have been surrounded by the statues of Commagene gods. However, shortly after the death of Antiochus, the construction works of the temple ceased, though the statues have been installed nonetheless. Those statues reached us in quite a good condition despite an earthquake that somewhat damaged them.

To visit the religious site, one would need to simply reach the Turkish city of Adiyaman, in which bus tours towards Kâhta right at the foot of Nemrut are organized. In 1987, the archeological monument of Mount Nemrut was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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