Hattusha: The Hittite Capital
Having been founded around 1650 BC, Hattusha was the capital of the Hittite Civilization and became the focus of the arts and architecture of that time. It has been on the World Heritage List as a cultural asset since 1986.
Hattusha is located within the Bogazkoy – Alacahoyuk National Park. The Hittites were one of the two largest civilizations of its age and excavations made at their capital city show that the first settlements in this area began with the Paleolithic Age, while the settlement was most fully advanced during the Old Bronze Age (3000-2500 BC).
The oldest written left by the Hittites at Bogazkoy dates to 1800 BC. Remaining today are the city’s wall and gates, palace, archives and temples. 2 km from the city is an open air temple called Yazilikaya. The first known open air temple in Anatolia, the flat rock faces of Yazilikaya are carved with stone reliefs of Hittite Gods and Goddesses.
Alacahoyuk, a ruin located 35 km away from Yazilikaya, was also a Hittite settlement dating back to 4000 BC. The gold, silver and bronze figures found in Alacahoyuk are now on display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.
Open Air Museum
Hattusha is an open-air archaeological museum consisting of two sites, the Lower City and the Upper City. Visible at the Lower City are the remains associated with civic life. The Great Temple is the principal cult building of the city. Due to its two cult rooms, this temple is believed to have been devoted to the Storm God Teshup and the Sun Goddess of Arinna City, which are the greatest gods of the Empire.
In the Upper City, the Temple Neighbourhood, which encompasses several temples, is noteworthy. The Upper City is situated on a broad arch and was protected by walls to the south. There are four gates on the walls.
The Yerkapı ramparts and the Sphinx Gate stand at the highest point of the city, which is at the southernmost edge of the city walls. Kral (King’s) Gate and Aslanlı (Lion) Gate are situated at either end of the southern walls. The lion sculptures on the outer face of the Lion Gate are some of the best examples of Hittite stone carving.
Yazılıkaya Temple, which is situated 2 km northwest of Hattusha, is considered to be the most significant open air temple of the city. It consists of two rock cut rooms screened off by a single storey building reflecting the architectural style of the Hittites. The rock cut rooms of Yazılıkaya Temple are called the “Greater Gallery” (Room A) and the “Lesser Gallery” (Room B). The western end of the rock face of the Greater Gallery (Room A) is decorated with a relief of gods, and the eastern end is decorated with a relief of goddesses. The figures of both ends face the central section, where the eastern and western rock faces meet the northern rock face. This is where the main stage was set. The Lesser Gallery (Room B) has a separate entrance. The relief decorating the western rock face of Lesser Gallery depicts twelve gods lined up to their right, and on the eastern rock face there are reliefs depicting the god Nergal of Underworld (the Sword God), and the God Sharrumma escorting King Tudhaliya IV. In this section, besides the well-preserved reliefs, there are three rock cut niches. It is believed that these niches were used for placing gifts or possibly urns containing the ashes of members of the Hittite royal family.
Location of Hattusha
The Hittite Capital Hattusha is located in Çorum, a city in Turkey. You can reach to there by car. It is 200 Km far from the capital Ankara. The nearest airport to Çorum is located in Samsun and the distance is 176 Km. Ankara Airport is 242 Km away from the Hattusha.
UNESCO World Heritage
Hattusha, inscribed to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1986 on cultural criteria.
UNESCO Identity Card:
Official Name: Hattusha: The Hittite Capital
Architectural Type: Settlement
Built: 1700 – 1300 BC
Date added to Unesco: 1986
Location: Corum, Turkey
Turkey in World Heritage, Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism