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Hattusas or Bogazkoy Ankara

Hattusas or Bogazkoy Ankara

Location of Hattusas or Bogazkoy

The historical ancient ruins of Bogazkoy (Hattusas) are located 82km southwest of Corum and 208km from Ankara. The site, which sits in the central area of the Hittite state at the southern end of the Budakozu River valley, was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the 2nd millennium BC.  The city was located on a mountain slope at the southern end of a small fertile plain and lay between two deep-cut streams which merged on the plain at an elevation of 3,100ft and formed the northernmost point of the city.

It then stretched to the south rising up about 1,000ft over a distance of 1¼ miles, and in places the eastern valley narrows to a deep gorge. It may seem strange that such a remote city was the capital of an empire but because of ample supplies of water and good natural defences the Hittite kings remained here.

History of Hattusas

The first settlement at the site dates from the Early Bronze Age although there is nothing documented to identify this, the people lived at the top and on the northwest foot of the steep hill which dominated the eastside of the city called Buyukkale or Great Fortress and later became the Hittite Acropolis. The first writings found at the site were clay tablets inscribed with Old Assyrian cuneiform that showed the presence of Assyrian merchants at the city who were known as Hattus dating from around 1,800 BC.  The largest Assyrian trading centre in Anatolia was located at Kanesh and thrived from 1950 to 1850 BC (the end of the First Intermediate Period and start of the 12th Dynasty), it was destroyed and around 1820 BC became active again continuing for a further two generations. The early settlers of Hattus spoke a language with the same name and as it does not belong to any other known family, scholars referred to it as Hattic to distinguish it from Hittite.

Hittite is an Indo-European language which probably came with Indo-European conquerors (although there are no details of this actual invasion) and Indo-European names appear at Kanesh before 1850 BC.  It is believed that the native Hattic people made up the ruling class or even the whole population during this time, although this cannot be authenticated.  The traders would have lived in the lower part of the city extending up the steep hill where the King's palace was probably located at the top. After 1800 BC King Anittas of Kussara destroyed the whole city and a Hittite text was believed to have been written by him giving descriptions of his conquests in Anatolia and noting he killed the Hattusas King Piyusti, destroyed the city and placed a curse on the site.  Indo-Europeans added an ‘a’ to the city's name and according to their own language gave it the nominative form Hattusas which was first mentioned in a tablet from Mari (the middle Euphrates) from the time of Hammurabi 1792-1750 BC which may be a reference to the city before its destruction.  Highlights of the ancient ruins include the Lions Gate, City Ramparts, King Gate, Kingdom Palace and South Castle.  

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