The earliest empire & political unification of Anatolia..
The earliest major empire in Anatolia were the HITTITES. Enduring political unification of Anatolia was achieved by them from the 18th through the 13th century BC.. They had established the Old Hittite Kingdom, eventually ruling from BOGAZKOY (Hattusa). The confederation, whose chief members were Luwians, Palaites, and Neshites, entered Anatolia well before 2000 BC.
The ruins of the ancient Hittite capital of Hattusas (Hattusha) are located about (145 km) east of Ankara. The site contains archaeological remains, including temples, city gates, and walls, associated with the powerful Hattian dynasty (c. 16th–12th century bc) and was later described by Herodotus. Excavations conducted during the 20th century uncovered hundreds of cuneiform tablets attesting to the ancient city’s importance.
Hittite culture was highly sophisticated, and their discovery of iron processing and metallurgy advanced the mankind further. This enabled Hittites to create one of the first land empire that predate many other ancient empires from Egypt to Persia. Besides their brilliant military strategy, they were great diplomats, and the first peace treaty known, was made between them and the Egyptians.
A notable characteristic of the Hittite state is the prominent part played by women, especially the queen. There is some reason to believe that a matrilineal system once prevailed in Anatolia and the independent position of the Hittite queen could be a result of this.
The religion of the Hittites incorporated popular elements of indigenous to central Anatolia and some external cultures. They were influenced by Hatti civilization to a great extend in religion, mythology, art and culture.
A Tolerant Polytheism
The Hititite pantheon can be characterized as a tolerant polytheism that included not only indigenous Anatolian deities but also Syrian and Hurrian divinities. The oldest god was Hattia, who lead the king to victory in battle. Later, especially in 13th century BC under the influence of Queen Puduhepa, Hurrian deities entered the pantheon and the leading Hurrian pair, Teshub and Hebat, were identified with their Hittite counterparts, the goddess taking a subordinate place.
Many examples have been found of stone sculptures in a powerful style. The art of the Late Hittite states is markedly different, showing a composite of Hittite, Syrian, Assyrian, and, occasionally, Egyptian and Phoenician motifs and influences.
Although the Hittite Empire vanished thousands of years ago, it has by no means been forgotten, and its capital Hattusha has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Moreover, an enlarged copy of a cuneiform tablet found here hangs in the United Nations building in New York..
Where to see
The Hittite Empire, had evolved a highly sophisticated civilization over 600 years in Anatolia. We can find examples of Hittite architecture and sculpture at the Bogazkoy site as well as two open-air temples located nearby, one of which is in Yazilikaya and the other in Alacahoyuk.
The Hittite musical intruments are recunstructed within the Hattusha Project this year (2010). Other significant works that reflect the magnificent artistic skills of the Hittites are found at sites such as Gavurkale, Hanyeri, Karabel, Niobe, Sirkeli, Fraktin, Eflatun Pinar and the Tasci Kaya Monuments.
There are numerous examples of Hittite ceramic art on display in several museums. Some of more important pieces that have provided us with priceless knowledge about Hittite ceramic handicrafts are bull-shaped pots, spouted jugs, and two vases.
After the collapse of the Hittite State in 1200 B.C., their culture continued in the Late Hittite city states until the year 650 B.C. These were centers like Meliddu and Kummuhi near Malatya, and Gurgum, Kargamis, and Samal (Zincirli) near Maras.
KEY SITES: Hattusha- Bogazkale-Yazilikaya- Alacahoyuk/Corum – Gavurkale, Hanyeri, Karabel, Niobe, Sirkeli, Fraktin, Eflatun Pinar and the Tasci Kaya Monuments. Indeed there are plenty of Hittite footsteps through Anatolia..
Regarding the Neo Hittites (1200-700 BC) The most important sites of this period are Malatya-Aslantepe, Kargamis and Sakcagozu.
MUSEUMS: Corum Archeological Museum and Ankara Anatolian Civilisations Museum
Alacahoyuk is the most advanced settlement area in Anatolia from this (bronz age) period. The excavations undertaken up to 1932 revealed finds, which brought to light the Hittite History. The oldest finds are from the Hattians era, (4th millennium B.C.) the people who lived in this region at the time.
The area is best known for its historical and archaeological interest, which includes remains of Bogazkoy (Hattusas) which was the centre of the Hittite Civilization, one of the most important in Anatolia. The main structures still remaining are the city walls and gates, the tunnel, Palace archive building in Buyukkale, and the temples. Yazilikaya Open Air Temple was the first Pantheon known in Anatolia, and there are reliefs of Hittite kings, queens, gods and goddesses.
The most important finds of Alacahoyuk are the princes’ graves with their possessions, golden and silver containers, weapons, gold and silver jewellery, and animal sculptures made of bronze and clay. Most of these may now be seen in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations (Ankara).
SITE: 45 Km to Corum city and 3 hours away from Ankara
MUSEUM: Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara- Museum of Corum