Hittite Sites: Hattusa (Boğazkale) , Turkey

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The study of ancient civilizations is often obscure, and the appreciation of the achievements of those who are represented by us today only they have left behind is often difficult, requiring considerable imagination, even by professional archaeologists, much less the average tourist. A visit to the site of the ancient Hittite capital Hattusa (also spelled Hattusas or Hattusha), however, with its ruined temples and palaces, monumental sculptures and the 6.5 km long circuit of walls built heavily can not stop leave one with the conviction that this city was the birthplace and home of an imperial people. The site is located in the town of Bogazkale (formerly Bogazkoy), established over a terrace and a large rock that rises above the area. Bogazkale Sungurlu is near, northeast of Ankara at a distance of 180 kilometers. Turn right onto the new road just past Corum Sungurlu to get there.

Hattusa History
The ancient Hittite capital extends over, and spills into a deep gorge and rock, looking north on a broad cultivated valley. The knowledge we have about the Hittites has come almost exclusively from written records found in Bogazkale. We know these texts, that in the middle of the second millennium BC, the political and social structure of these people had developed around the person of the king of the Hittites in Bogazkale, and there was administrative in society, religious and military groups. The capital was named the Hattus Hattusa, the name given to the area by the Hatti people who lived there when the Hittites moved in. From the earliest record found in Hittite archives, we know that Hattusa was devastated in the beginning of the century 18 BC by the forces of Kussara Anitta. It is believed that was the largest of the Hittite kings during the time of the city-state. The same document indicates that Anitta put a curse on the city in the sense that “He who shall be king after me, if your resettlement in Hattusa will be beaten by the storm god.” The Hittite people actually return to their capital after the death of Anitta. The entire city has taken on aspects of the Hittite civilization to 1700 BC C.

Main Hittite sites:

  • Hattusa (Bogazkale)
  • Yazilikaya
  • Alacahoyuk
  • Kultepe (Kanesh)
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Hattusa was the capital of the Hittites, both during the Old Kingdom, which lasted from 1750 to 1450 BC and the period of the Empire, from 1450 to 1180 a. C. I Hantili King is believed to have been responsible for the fortification of the city in early 16 century BC. Kaska people were able to break through this wall of the city early, however, dismiss the capital for nearly a century later, during the reign of King Tudhaliyas III. The fortifications were rebuilt soon, and the city went through several periods of construction. The old city is the party that occupies the area between the Temple and the great citadel known as Bogazkale. The latest section, known as the upper town was built during the Imperial era. The oldest part of the capital is only 400 feet long, mounting to the high citadel. This was the seat of government, and the warehouse for thousands of tablets that make up the actual files, stores long after being partially destroyed by fire. During the imperial era, the former small town was greatly enlarged. In the reign of Suppiluliumas, an incredible string of fortifications was erected on the hill to the south, enclosing an area of over three hundred acres. This was during the 14 th century BC, and was a great feat of engineering skill. The foundations rose to a level based in part, faced with a sloping stone wall. The double wall above this, standing about thirty feet high, was built with big stones.

As many as five temples have been excavated in the capital in Bogazkale. We know relatively little about their religious beliefs, or ceremonies, but the clay tablets from the Hittite archives have revealed that religion was an institution regulated and more complex. We learned a lot of stone reliefs, statues, sutatuettes, vases molded relief, and funeral urns. The priests and priestesses to a sacred area of their own in which he carried out his administrative duties temples. Here there are small statues of gods and goddesses of precious metals and stones, and temples owned large estates in the storage areas that are most religious objects have been discovered. The duties of the high priest, were assumed by the Hittite king for special ceremonies and celebrations, and after the death of the sovereign, to be added to the already long list of Hittite gods. The king was cremated and buried with an elaborate ceremony, but no real tomb has been discovered to date.

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A new art form to the Hittites came into wide use during the period of the Empire, the monumental reliefs. We learned a lot about the religion of these people at the beginning of the study of the line of gods and goddesses carved into the walls of the sanctuary Yazilikaya. Reliefs and statues in the form of sphinxes, lions, gods and other ways to decorate the walls and gateways Bogazkale. Much of the work of the Hittite pottery belongs to the period of the Old Assyrian colony, which focused on the area of Kanesh. Besides this, the Hittites developed their own style of pottery he said. There are many examples of vessels decorated with painted figures in relief frieze arranged in horizontal bands, separated by rows of geometric decoration found. These vases and pieces represent scenes of Hittite religion, including special ceremony.

The Hittites were skilled in working with different materials, and examples have been unearthed in Hattusa. Among the findings, are statues of gods and goddesses in ivory, stone, bronze and gold. The style is very similar to that of the reliefs in the capital. And cylinder seals also follow the lines of this art with words and the hieroglyphic signs that make up the decorative effect.

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