Nemrut Dağ (1987)
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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.
Antiochus I, called Soter (“the preserver”) (324-262 or 261 BC), was king of Syria (280-262 or 261 BC). The second of the Seleucids, he was the son of Seleucus I, one of the generals and successors of Alexander the Great.
In 275 BC Antiochus won a victory over the Galatians in Asia Minor but lost considerable territory to Ptolemy II. He was killed in battle during a war (263-261 BC) against Eumenes I (reigned 263-241 BC), ruler of Pergamum in Asia Minor.
Antioch (also known as Antakya) is a city in southern Turkey, capital of Hatay Province, on the Orontes River, near the Mediterranean
Sea, and named after Antiochus I. The modern city is a trade and processing center for the adjacent agricultural plain.
The ancient city of Antioch was much larger than its modern counterpart. It was the capital of both the Seleucid dynasty in Syria and a province within the Roman Empire. The city was founded in 301 BC by Seleucus I, one of the generals and successors of Alexander the Great. Strategically located at the crossroads of important caravan routes, it soon became a center of commerce and a city of magnificent architecture rivaled only by Rome and Alexandria. When Syria was conquered by Rome in 64 BC, Antioch became the eastern capital of the Roman Empire. The Romans added to the architectural splendors of the city, building temples, palaces, and theaters, extending aqueducts, and paving main streets with marble.
Antioch was the center of Christendom outside Palestine. The apostles preached there before starting out on their missionary journeys, and in Antioch the term Christian, designating converts of Saint Paul, first came into use. In AD 260 the city fell to the Persians. Over the next 13 centuries it was conquered by Arabs, Byzantines, Seljuk Turks, Frankish Crusaders, and Egyptians. The devastations of war and persistent earthquakes, including one in 526 that reportedly killed 250,000 people, reduced the once great city to relative unimportance.
Antioch, known as Antakya in modern history, was captured by the Ottomans in 1516, and it remained a part of the Ottoman Empire until shortly after World War I (1914-1918), when it was granted to Syria under a French mandate. The province of Hatay, of which Antakya is the capital, became autonomous in 1938, and the following year it was ceded to Turkey.
Although little of the ancient city remains, portions of the high walls that girded the city and of catacombs and aqueducts still stand. An archaeological museum houses a superbly preserved collection of mosaics dating from the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Nearby is Saint Peter's Grotto, in which the apostle preached; a church was built within the grotto by Crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Sources and links:
Other World Heritage Sites in Turkey (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Turkey for further information about the individual properties.
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Revised 21 jul 2006