"Hattusa & Alacahöyük"

Journey to to capital of Hittite Empire

03-04.March.2011 Corum / Turkey


Settlements existed at the Bogazkoy (Hattusas) site since IIIrd millenium B.C. The small and fortified settlements of that period were at Büyükkale and its environs. In the 19th and 18th centuries B.C. settlements from the age of Assyrian Trade Colonies are seen at the Lower City and the name of the city was first discovered from written documents of that era.

The first period of development at Hattusas terminated with a major fire and the culprit behind this fire must be the Kushara King Anitta. According to documents, right after this destruction, around 1700 B.C. Hattusas was settled once more and became the capital of the Hittite state in 1600's and its builder was Hattusilis I. who had a Kushara origin just like Anitta.

After Hattusas became the capital, a monumantal building development can be seen at the farthest point of the spreading settlement and the city took its 13 century B.C. form with 2 km. wide palace and temple districts. In the second development period of Hattusas three important Hittite kings played a significant role both from within and without during the last years of the Empire. They were Hattusilis III, his son Tudhaliyas IV, and his son Suppiuliumas II. When the Hittite state was destroyed due to economic hardships and internal strife during the last years of the Suppiuliumas II reign (1190 B.C.) Boğazköy was abandoned for a period of 4 centuries and the first settlements seen after this gap is Phrygian (middle of 8th century B.C.) During the Hellenistic and Roman times (3rd century B.C. - 3rd century A.D.) Hattusas is a fiefdom center surrounded by a small wall and it appears as a village during the Byzantine period.

The part of Hattusas known as the Upper City is a sloped land of more than 1 kilometer square. This area has witnessed the development of the city during the late Empire Period in 13th century B.C. A major part of the Upper City solely consisted of temples and sacred places. Upper City is surrounded at south by a city wall which draws a large arch and this wall has 5 gates. At the futhest southern point of the wall and at the highest point of the city, the gate with the Sphinxes is located with its bastion rising above anything else. Of the other four gates the two facing one another at the southern and western tips of the city walls are the royal gate and the gate with the lion.

The building development seen in the Upper City has been in three stages. The first stage coincides with the construction of the city walls. The second is the stage of rebuilding and giving the temple city its final form following the first destruction of the walls. During the last stage a new construction acitivity had started besides the repairs and renovations carried out at the existing buildings for purposes other than the religious ones. In the Upper City, the area known as the districy of the temples reaches from the gate with the Sphinxes to Nişantepe and Sarıkale. In this part many temples were revealed orignating from different stages.

In the Upper City Post - Hittite buildings at Nişantepe and Güneykale which are right at the front of Büyükkale are significant and this is the Phrygian settlement which is dated to 6-7th centuries B.C. For the Hittite period this area is studied in three sections defined according to the tophograpy. The pass to the south of Büyükkale (Viaduct), the plateau which was previously settled which is to the north of Nişantepe on both sides of the roads leading to Upper City, and the area at the site of Güneykale.

The road network which connected to Nişantepe and the Upper City through the viaduct reaches a complex with a stone laid inner court with buildings on the north, south and east sides and a gate on the fourth.

An important building besides the northern and southern structures is the western building and the palace Archives. It is assumed that the building which was destroyed in a big fire had two basement floors on the slope. In these two basements nearly 3300 annals and 30 tablets with hieroglyph insriptions were found. 2/3 of the annals carry the Great King seals and in chronological order represent Kings from Suppiuliuma I to the last king of Hattusas , his great son Suppiuliuma II. Queen seals besides the king seals were also discovered.

The construction at Güneykale was realized by Suppiuliuma II. There is a large artificial lake and three buildings on three seperate points around it. Of the two buildings which are still standing and named Room 1 and 2; Room 2 is to the west of the northern corner of the lake. This room which has a single space has a parabolic dome which diminishes as it becomes narrower towards the inside. There were few remains found in situ in Room1. All three walls of room 2 are decorated with reliefs. The main picture on the opposite wall has a figure with a long garment which faces towards the left. There is a sundial with wings on the round head dress and the figure holds a litus in the left hand and an anch motif in the right. On the west wall facing it there is a hierographic inscription.

The excavations carried out at Büyükkale which is built on a hill of natural rock area to the south of the city proper has revealed the palace buildings of the Hittite Kings in 13 -14th century B.C. and the characteristics of the wall systems which were for their defense. The walls of the castle whose entrance gate is at southwest are built on beds carved into rock at north and south and on a piled earth level in the south with the chest wall technique. The palace building cannot be seen as a whole from Büyükkale. Buildings of varying types and sizes which were revealed with excavations, large interior spaces connected together with courts and columned galleries form the whole within the castle . The castle has rooms for archives and storage, a large reception hall, buildings related to the water cult and sacred spaces. Remains of Phrygian buildings were found at the castle following the Hittites.

One of the most important architectural sites at Boğazköy is the Great Temple (Temple no.1). The Great Temple which formed the center of the northern city in Hattusas was built as the home of Storm God of Hatti and the Sun Goddess of the Arinna City. The temple has two aditons and there are stone paved roads and squares around it and storage rooms behind in all four directions open up to them are located behind. The Great Temple is seperated from the districts of the Lower City with a wall. The Great Temple which is built on a stone terrace obviously served as an economic center as well as a religious center as the large jugs which are revealed in situ at the shops indicate. Again the tablets found at the eastern shops of the temple shows the existence of the archives.

The Great Temple is surrounded by buildings of secondary importance. Most important one among them is the Slope House. It deserves attention with its large size, its plan and the fact that it is a multi-storey building.

Excavations at the Hattusas historical site are carried out at Büyükkaya since 1993. The discovered ceramics show that a small settlement which was first built during the Chalcolithic Age was still a settlement during the period known as the Dark Age. However the investigations have shown that there were large silos with stone paved floors during the Empire period. At Buyukkaya, which also witnessed the Phrygian period, settlements from the early Phrygian period are defined.







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