Kâhta is a town of 67,000 people (2012) in Southeastern Anatolia. Kahta, on lake of Atatürk Dam is a good base to explore the area and Mount Nemrut from, although there's not a lot of life in the town.
Indeed Kahta should be the main base for visiting Nemrut. There is also another way to Nemrut from Malatya. However the trip from Kahta to Nemrut will include a sightseeing of Karakuş Hill, Arsemia Castle, and ancient Kahta Castle. All of these attractions are included in the National Park. Hence, a visit to Nemrut is shorter and more valuable if done from Kahta.
The climate of Kahta, and nearby Mount Nemrut, is Mediterranean-influenced continental, with hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters.
Summers are hot, but thanks to the area's elevation, relatively bearable when compared with nearby valleys. However, you should still expect highs above 36°C on the hottest days of the year, even if evenings are noticeably cool, even chilly. Other than that, dry, sunny weather are almost constant during this time.
Winters are long, cold and snowy, and actually considerably more so because of the effect of the mountain. Expect night-time temperatures of about -10°C or so during colder winter nights, and these frigid temperature dips might continue until March or April, so much so that until April there's usually still snow on Nemrut, so you can't see the statues fully. Before April also the roads might be blocked.
Late spring and early fall are both warm and usually pleasant, but spring is the time of the Anatolian storm season, which makes fall a better time to go if you don't want to be bothered by frequent thunderstorms.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
There are frequent dolmuş (every 15 min until ~22:00) from Adıyaman, 4 TL (Mar 2016).
The nearest airport is in Adıyaman, about 15 km away, which has connections from many cities in Turkey. AnadoluJet, which is sub division of Turkish Airlines flies from Ankara ESB IATA International Airport to Adıyaman on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Flights depart at 18:55 and arrive at 20:05 to Adıyaman.
You can walk pretty much everywhere in Kahta.
Dolmuş from Kahta to Karadut (near Nemrut) are 5-6 TL (Mar 2016).
From Karadut it's approximately 12 km to Nemrut. You can either walk, try to hitchhike, or arrange a ride from one of Karadut's accommodation providers.
The Mount Nemrut tomb-sanctuary was probably built for king Antiochus Theos of Kommagene who believed he was a descendant of Apollo, in the first part of the first century BC. The main feature is a tumulus (tomb hill) about 50 meters high, underneath which it is thought, the tomb itself is located. It is also thought that it will be as rich as any of the tombs of Egypt. The summit is 2,150 m above sea level and provides a great view of the surrounding mountains and even Ataturk lake.
If you want to see the sunrise, you have to be prepared to get up early (at about 02:30). You might have your own transport or arrange a guided tour. If going up Nemrut to see the sunrise, bring warm clothing with you, because it can get cold up there (even in summer) since the summit is at about 2,150 m. Watch the sunrise from the eastern terrace which give the bodyless heads a beautiful orange hue and adds to the sense of mystery of the place.
Around the Tumulus are two main terraces; the big eastern terrace, and the smaller western terrace. These might have been used for religious and other ceremonies due to the astronomical and religious nature of the monument. A bas-relief has been found on the western terrace of a lion and the planets Mars, Jupiter and Mercury as they would have been on July 7, 62 BCE, the possible starting date of the complex' construction.
Big seated statues, 8-9 m high, of Antiochus, Hercules, Zeus-Orosmasdes (associated with the Persian god Ahura-Mazda) and a few other Greek and Persian deities along with two lions and two eagles, line these terraces. Since their erection, the heads have toppled from the bodies which remain at their original positions and lay scattered throughout the site. They have been put back at their assumed original positions (albeit without the bodies) so they can once again face the sunrise and sunset. The arrangement of the statues (or in this case heads) is known as a hierothesion.
- Visit Black Bird Hill (Karakuş Tepesi), the Roman Bridge, Arsemia.
There are plenty of good options for Southeastern Anatolian food. You may try Papatya Restaurant in the city center for kebab and other red meat/chicken food. However do not forget to eat fish at the restaurants in the shore of the Atatürk Dam (Baraj as called in Kahta). Especially Zeynel'in Yeri is good choice. Fish from the dam itself and from Kahta river should be tried. Yayın (a fatty freshwater fish) and Sarıgöz are pretty delicious fish. These restaurants also serve alcoholic drinks, including raki which is a good company with fish.
Plenty of accommodation, but don't trust the hotel managers. Ask around at different offices about the tours to Nemrut, and at the bus station about getting out of town once you're done.
- Zeus Hotel - 4-star hotel.
- Hotel Nemrut - 4-star hotel.
- Kommagene Wooden Hotel, ☏ . The old Kommagene Hotel is demolished and the owner (Emin) turned it to a Wooden House. There are single rooms 70 TL per person, Double Rooms 120 TL per room, Triple Rooms 160 TL per room. Camping site: 10 TL per caravan, 10 TL per tent.
- [dead link] Karadut Pansiyon, 02430 Karadut Köyü (village of Karadut, 12km from Nemrut), ☏ , , . The guesthouse is owned by Bayram and operated by either himself or his son Memet. You can have a traditional dinner at Bayram's house for 10 TL. They offer a return trip to Nemrut for 40 TL (€13) per car, this is a good option for seeing the sunset. For a tour of the countryside and its sights plus Nemrut the price is 105 TL (€33) per car. Air-conditioning, hot shower, balconies and free WiFi. Single/double/triple 55/106/176 TL with breakfast and private bathroom.
- A common scam in the town is that the hotel managers and the local tourist information office may give misinformation about bus schedules and other things to make travellers stay at their hotels longer. Cross-check information online or with other people.