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The Moon Shines on Zeus

By: Tunc Tezel

 

Region: Middle East

Site: Mount Nemrut - Turkey

Date: 2008 September 26

Stars and the Crescent Moon shine in early morning sky above the ancient statues of Nemrut Dağı or Mount Nemrut. The World Heritage site is located at top of the 2130-meters high mountain in southeastern Turkey, 40km north of Kahta, near Adıyaman. In 62 BC, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary flanked by huge statues (8-9 meters high) of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian and Persian gods, such as Hercules-Vahagn, Zeus-Aramazd or Oromasdes (associated with the Persian god Ahura Mazda), Tyche, and Apollo-Mithras. The statues have Greek and Persian features. To astronomical importance the western terrace of the complex contains a large slab with a lion, showing the arrangement of stars and the planets Jupiter, Mercury and Mars on 7 July 62 BC, the possible time when construction began on this monument.

As noted by the photographer "This is the highest place in the region and you can easily distinguish the odd-shaped peak from great distances, as there is an additional 50 meters of pyramidal tumulus topping. On the morning of September 26, I woke up before the start of morning twilight and climbed the steep path to the monument. I hurried to beat the approaching dawn and also all the tourists coming to watch the sunrise. It was already getting bright. The image is made with 7 pictures of various exposures to record the crescent Moon in right exposure together with stars and the foreground statues of Zeus head." Tunc Tezel.

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