This summit is much more famous and more often visited by tourists, as it is an absolutely spectacular sight. Perched on the top of the mountain is a 2000 year old pyramid and on two sides there are flattened terraces covered in giant statues looking out over the rising and setting suns. The whole summit complex wasn’t ‘discovered’ until 1881 when a German engineer employed by the Ottomans to study transport routes found the summit. It wasn’t even excavated until 1953.
The pyramid, terraces and statues were ‘created’ by Antiochus I Epiphanes in about 60-40BC as a tribute to his god and as a way of ensuring that he would join with ‘Ahura Masda’ in the afterlife. Ahura Masda was the name given to the ‘One God’ of the Zoroastians, the first Monotheistic religion, from which all the other Monotheisms have their roots. There are inscriptions on some of the rocks that suggest that Antiochus is buried under the pyramidal mound on the summit but no one has ever found the burial chamber.
For our route Westwards, we wanted to head up to the summit on the Southern road and then head down from the North to Malatya 100km away, and had read in the Lonely Planet that it was possible to cross from one side to the other. This proved no to be the case so we ended up carrying our bicycles and bags up to the summit from the road 700m away and then dropped down to the Northern road.
By the time we got our bikes there at 7am the whole summit was deserted as all the tourists had got cold and gone down. We had the whole place to ourselves and our bicycles. It was absolutely spectacular!
Here’s a brief slideshow: