Artists impression of Hattusa



This was a holy site for the Hittites, located within walking distance of the gates of the city of Hattusa. It had two main chambers formed inside a group of rock outcrops. Access to the roofless chambers were controlled by a gateway and structures built right in front of them,;however only the foundations of those structures survive today.

Most impressive today are the rock reliefs portraying the gods of the Hittite pantheon. It was in use at least since the late 16th century BC, but most of the rock carvings date to the reign of the Hittite kings Tudhaliya IV and Suppiluliuma II in the late 13th century BC, when the site underwent a significant restoration.

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And a picnic lunch before moving on to the rest of the site. Barbara tried the Museum Shop, but it was closed

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Hattusa, the historic capital of the Hittite Empire

The site covers a large area: we walked all the way round in a large loop

Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. Its ruins lie near modern Bogazkale, within the great loop of the Kızılırmak River. Hattusa was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1986.

The landscape surrounding the city included rich agricultural fields and hill lands for pasture as well as woods. Smaller woods are still found outside the city, but in ancient times, they were far more widespread. This meant the inhabitants had an excellent supply of timber when building their houses and other structures. The fields provided the people with a subsistence crop of wheat, barley and lentils. Flax was also harvested, but their primary source for clothing was sheep wool. They also hunted deer in the forest, but this was probably only a luxury reserved for the nobility. Domestic animals provided meat. There were several other settlements in the vicinity, such as the rock shrine at Yazılıkaya and the town at Alacahöyük. Since the rivers in the area are unsuitable for major ships, all transport to and from Hattusa had to go by land.

The earliest traces of settlement on the site are from the sixth millennium BC. A carbonised layer apparent in excavations attests to the burning and ruin of the city of Hattusa around 1700 BC. The responsible party appears to have been King Anitta from Kussara, who took credit for the act and erected an inscribed curse for good measure. Modern estimates put the population of the city between 40,000 and 50,000 at the peak; in the early period, the inner city housed a third of that number. The dwelling houses that were built with timber and mud bricks have vanished from the site, leaving only the stone-built walls of temples and palaces.

Chantre, a French archaeologist opened some trial trenches in 1893–94. Since 1906, the German Oriental Society has been excavating at Hattusa (with breaks during the two World Wars and the Depression). Archaeological work is still carried out by the German Archaeological Institute.

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Hotel Asikoglu

This a really a motel rather than a hotel. We stayed here in October, and it was cold in the hotel, very cold. The rooms have no central heating and the concrete shell of the motel gets irretrievably cold. Our room was supplied with a two bar electric fire which did not warm the room sufficiently. Hot water in the bathroom also was lacking- mind you it was too cold in the room to strip off for a shower anyway.

The dining room had a wood burning stove, which warmed the restaurant up if you were sitting in front of it, but they did not keep the stove stoked for long. In the morning breakfast was in another room which had no heating at all. But the breakfast was so poor that it was not worth eating. Maintenance and house-keeping are pretty basic too.

On balance we would have been better getting to the ruins early and moving on to Ankara after viewing the ruins, cutting out the overnight here. The motel should not be operating once temperatures fall, they just cannot heat it.

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So after this very cold one night stop we headed for downtown Ankara with a feeling that we were almost at the end of the road

On to next town - Ankara

Back to Overall Itinerary for Silk Road Trip 2016