Facts and Data
Official Unesco Page
Reconstruction of one stretch of the Hittite city walls
Investigations into Hittite Culture in the capital of the kingdom
Turkey on the World Heritage List (Ministry of Culture)
Unesco World heritage since: 1986
Size of heritage: 268 ha
The archaeological site of Hattusha, former capital of the Hittite Empire, is notable for its urban organization, the types of construction that have been preserved (temples, royal residences, fortifications), the rich ornamentation of the Lions' Gate and the Royal Gate, and the ensemble of rock art at Yazilikaya. The city enjoyed considerable influence in Anatolia and northern Syria in the 2nd millennium B.C.
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Hattusha: The Hittite Capital
Hattusha, located in the District of Sungurlu, Çorum Province in Turkey, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that holds immense historical and cultural significance. As the capital of the Hittite Empire, one of the most powerful civilizations of the ancient world, Hattusha played a pivotal role in shaping the region's history.
The Hittite Empire, also known as the Hittite Kingdom, flourished during the Late Bronze Age, from around 1600 to 1200 BCE. Hattusha served as its political and administrative center, witnessing the rise and fall of this mighty civilization. The Hittites were renowned for their military prowess, diplomatic skills, and advanced knowledge in metallurgy and chariot technology.
During its peak, Hattusha was a bustling city with a population estimated to be around 50,000 inhabitants. The city was strategically located on a rocky plateau, surrounded by deep gorges, providing natural defenses against potential invaders. Its impressive fortifications, including massive stone walls and gates, showcased the Hittites' architectural expertise.
The Hittite Empire reached its zenith under the reign of King Suppiluliuma I, who expanded its territories and established diplomatic relations with other major powers of the time, such as Egypt and Babylon. However, after several centuries of dominance, the empire gradually declined due to internal conflicts, invasions, and the collapse of the Bronze Age civilizations.
Today, Hattusha stands as a remarkable archaeological site, offering visitors a glimpse into the grandeur of the Hittite civilization. The ruins of the ancient city are spread across a vast area, covering approximately 6 square kilometers. The site is divided into two main sections: the Lower City and the Upper City.
The Lower City, located to the south, was primarily a residential area, featuring houses, temples, and public buildings. The remains of several temples dedicated to various Hittite deities, such as the Storm God and the Sun Goddess, can still be seen. The Great Temple, with its impressive stone walls and intricate carvings, is a notable highlight.
The Upper City, situated on the northern part of the site, was the political and religious center of Hattusha. It housed the royal palace, administrative buildings, and the famous Lion Gate, adorned with monumental stone lions. The Yazılıkaya Open-Air Sanctuary, a short distance from the main site, is a must-visit attraction. It features rock-cut reliefs depicting Hittite gods and goddesses.
Preservation efforts have been ongoing to protect and restore the ruins of Hattusha. Excavations have unearthed numerous artifacts, including clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform script, providing valuable insights into the Hittite language and culture. The site's inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1986 has further raised awareness about its historical significance.
Visiting Hattusha allows one to step back in time and appreciate the achievements of the Hittite civilization. The site's majestic ruins, combined with its picturesque natural surroundings, create a truly awe-inspiring experience. Hattusha stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Turkey and the enduring legacy of the Hittite Empire.
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Bigger and popular cities in the wider vicinity are these:
These are some smaller cities that might be interesting. They are all rather close.