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Hittite Art

Hattusa and Yazilikaya

Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

Deep in the heart of Anatolia [Turkey in Asia], approximately 93 miles east of Ankara and near the northern border of ancient Cappadocia, the center of a powerful empire was located: Hattusha [Hattusa], the Capital city of the Hittites.

From about 1650/1600 to 1200 BC, the Great Kings of Hattusha ruled an empire that reached across the broad lands of Anatolia, extending at times even into the north of Syria; they conquered Babylon, and Troy was apparently one of their vassals. Besides Egypt and Assyria/Babylonia the Hittites were the third superpower of the Ancient Near East.

- The Excavations at Hattusha (online December 2014)
The archaeological site of Hattusha [Hattusa], 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.

Hattusha exerted dominating influence upon the civilizations of the 2nd and 1st millennia BC in Anatolia [Turkey in Asia] and northern Syria.

The site [Hattusa], discovered in 1834, was not comprehensively excavated until 1906, which was the memorable date of the discovery of a copy of a peace treaty between Hattushili III and the Pharaoh Ramses II, which made possible the identification of Hattusha. Since then, joint efforts on the part of German and Turkish archaeologists have made decisive progress in knowledge of the Hittite capital.

- UNESCO World Heritage Center (online December 2014)
Based on finds of stone tools it seems clear that the region of Bogazkale had been settled during Paleolithic times but the first real evidence of occupation dates from the first half of the 3rd millennium BC. From old Assyrian texts and from a later, Hittite, document it is known that a city called Hattush was founded around 1900 BC by the Hati culture. During the second half of the 17th century BC, the Hittites descended from the north and overcame the indigenous Hati people, probably incorporating much of that culture into their own. They conquered the city of Hattush, renaming it Hattusha, and made it the capital of their own empire. The Hittites rapidly became a major power, rivaling Mesopotamia and Egypt. We know from objects of trade, treaties and clay tablet records of their letters that they had contact with Mycenae, Troy and dynastic Egypt. Hattusha remained the capital of the Hittite empire until its mysterious decline around 1200 BC.

It was not until 1909 when archaeologists discovered the city of Hattusha, and its library with thousands of clay tablets, that it was possible to trace these lost people. Excavations of their city revealed a large and powerful culture that was ruled by written laws, had created palaces and fortifications, enjoyed a fixed monetary system, and had developed a religion with its own gods and goddesses. The Hittites were polytheist and together with their own gods and goddesses they also worshipped deities deriving from other Mesopotamian cultures. Records of Hattusili, the first Hittite king who resided at Hattusha, tell of temples dedicated to a sun goddess called Arianna and her daughter Mezulla as well as a weather god named Teshub.

- Sacred Sites  (online December 2014)

Photos and their arrangement 2014 Chuck LaChiusa
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