The Ancient City of Hattusa and It’s History

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The city of Hattusa, or Hattusha, near the modern village of Bogazkoy in north-central Anatolia, was the capitol of the Hittite empire for almost as long as the empire’s duration. The city is located close to the mountains where in antiquity, the enemy Kashka tribes lived nearby. The city was named ‘City of a Thousand Gods’ as the Hittite people believed that it was the home of their gods.

The rise of the Hattusa was during the Middle Bronze age (2000 – 1650 BCE) when it became a trading post for Assyrian merchants. It was chosen for its environmental assets – plentiful water supplies, and it offered protection from their enemies. The lands offered wood supplies from the nearby forests and its arable lands. The political consciousness slowly evolved into a complex state ideology over several different periods of time. By 1650 BCE, Hattusa had become the state capitol of the Hittite Empire and stayed that way until its fall in around 1185 BCE.

The use of Hattusa as a royal residence and capitol affected the layout of the city and was situated across 1482 acres of crock outcrops, steppe and deep gorges. The large citadel that was built became the main focus of the city, which was where the king resided during the Old Hittite period (1650 – 1400 BCE).

Below the citadel lay the main temple as well as a storage area. The Great Temple was constructed during the empire period, along with an explosion of other buildings. The citadel itself was expanded and rebuilt during this time.

Close to the city, the rock sanctuary of Yazilikaya was completed during the 13th century BCE. Carved images of Hittite deities in a procession were depicted. It is a scene revolved around the weather god, Teshub, and the sun goddess, Hebat. We can see the Hurrian influence on Hittite religion is evident in the carving in the fact that all of the major gods illustrated here are Hurrian.

In 1906, German archaeologists’ excavations at Hattusa begun and are still undertaken today. In 1986, UNESCO declared Hattusa a World Heritage Site. The finds that have been unearthed here have helped illustrate the culture and society of the Hittite civilization, and her contact with the other Mesopotamian civilizations.

<u>Bibliography</u>:

Matthews, Roger (2005) The Human Past – The Rise of Civilization in Southwest Asia, Thames & Hudson Ltd, London.

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