Hattusa is the former capital of the Hittite Empire. The sphere of influence of this great power ruling in the 2nd millennium BC extended over Anatolia and the northern part of today’s Syria. The city has been gradually excavated since the end of the 19th century. The oldest surviving peace treaty in the world was discovered in the cuneiform clay tablet archives of the Hittite kings.
Hattusa Ruins: Facts
|Official title:||Hattusa ruins|
|Cultural monument:||Former Hittite capital Hattusa, known from the Old Testament (First Book of Moses, Chapter 23), with the Acropolis (Büyükkale), a large temple with a 75 m² cult chamber, the originally 6 km long and 8 m wide city wall, king gate, lion gate, 25 temples in the so-called Upper Town; Yazilikaya rock sanctuary (»inscribed rock«) with 30 m long »main chamber of the holy of holies«, on relief fields, among other things. Depictions of the weather god Teschup, the sun goddess Hepat, the ruler Tuthaliya IV.|
|Country:||Turkey, Central Anatolia|
|Location:||near Bogazkale / Bogazköy, east of Ankara|
|Meaning:||a remarkable archaeological testimony to urban development in pre-Christian times and, thanks to the found cuneiform tablets, an important source for research into the Indo-European language group|
Hattusa Ruins: History
|17th century BC Chr.||Hittite capital|
|15th century BC Chr.||Yazilikaya|
|around 1450 BC Chr.||Beginning of the heyday of the Hittite Empire|
|13th century BC Chr.||City wall and Great Temple|
|around 1200 BC Chr.||extensive destruction|
|A.D. 240-350||Use of the Acropolis as a refuge|
|1834||Rediscovery by the explorer Charles Texier|
|1882||first survey of the terrain|
|1884||Finds of cuneiform clay tablets|
|1906/07 and 1911/12||further archaeological investigations and discovery of 2500 cuneiform tablets|
|1977||further excavations in the upper town|
|2003-06||Reconstruction of part of the city wall|
|2011||Return of the “Sphinx of Hattusa”, discovered by Otto Puchstein in 1907, from the Museum of Near Eastern Art in Berlin to Turkey|
City of kings and tolerance
Does it make a difference whether a murder occurs in or out of town? What does it mean if the birthing stool breaks during childbirth? What happens if a cow is thrown into the stream by a slave? Answers to such questions were given by a whole collection of cases on clay tablets found in Hattusa. The 35,000 cuneiform scripts were an important key to research into the Hittite culture. In addition to rules of conduct about the coexistence of the residents, they mainly contained references to the religious cult, but also state treaties, such as the friendship treaty with Egypt. The conclusions about the way of life of this people, whose culture flourished between 1500 and 1200 BC, are surprising, as they reveal a modern, liberal and humane attitude:
Hattusa, located in the Central Anatolian highlands, hugs a mountain slope like a crescent at the end of a long valley. Today the surrounding hills are bare; when the city was busy there were still thick forests. There were rich water sources, pastures and hunting grounds. Hattusa was once located at the very northern edge of an empire that stretched from the Aegean Sea to the Euphrates and thus – with the exception of the west – practically encompassed the entire area of today’s Turkey and parts of Syria. Fore more information about Turkey and Middle East, please visit health-beauty-guides.
The ancient city covers an area of around two square kilometers. Around 10,000 people are said to have lived here once. Hattusa was not an ordinary settlement, but a religious center and the residence of the great kings, who were at the same time chief judges and priests. The remains that still exist give an idea of the former dimensions of the monumental palace buildings and the extensive temple district.
The mighty city walls with their grand gates – the King’s Gate, the Earth Gate and the Lion Gate – bear witness to the former splendor. The two imposing stone lions are really believed to have been able to keep all evil away from the city. Suppiluliumas II, the last great king of Hattusa, has immortalized his heroic deeds on the Nisantas, the heavily weathered stone.
The Hittites have mastered how to combine the natural environment with their monumental art. The rock sanctuary of Yazilikaya provides the most impressive evidence. The well-preserved rock reliefs depicting processions of gods are located in natural rock chambers that are open at the top. This place, where the Hittites celebrated their spring festival, has remained a sacred place over the centuries. The custom of worshiping the rain-giving power has been preserved in Anatolia into modern times. It should be thanks to this fact that the later Muslim population did not destroy the reliefs, although the pictorial representation of people is considered a grave sin for them. Traces of the Hittite way of life can be traced to our day. For example in the architecture of the houses with the characteristically large living hall. The foundations of the older buildings in today’s village of Boğazkale are not only partially built with the stones from the Hattusa ruins, the upper floors are also made of clay and half-timbering, as was the case back then. It is only for a few decades that the grain has not been kept in airtight silos in order to avoid pest infestation; a technique that the Hittites used to store their large supplies in the royal city. to avoid pest infestation; a technique that the Hittites used to store their large supplies in the royal city. to avoid pest infestation; a technique that the Hittites used to store their large supplies in the royal city.