An Engineering Genious: Hattusa

An Engineering Genious: Hattusa

A capital of a world empire of 3 thousand 500 years ago… Today, in the silence of the fall of a legend… The biggest trump card of the city of Çorum in tourism, Hattusa (Boğazköy), Yazılıkaya, and Alacahöyük Hittite settlements are among the greatest riches of Anatolia.

It is a destination that stretches the imagination of man. Aside from the unraveled secrets of the Hittites, there is a unique civilization whose name is mentioned together with cities such as Venice, Jerusalem, Rome, Carthage and Machu Picchu in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List. Hittites is a civilization identified with Anatolia. This settlement of the Hittite Empire, which is one of the oldest examples of urbanization, is swarmed with tourists from all over the world. Although Hattusa is not the country of columned temples, marble streets, houses adorned with mosaics and frescoes, it attracts especially conscious tourists with its marvelous engineering structures.

Mesmerizing urbanization

Before getting lost in the thousands of pages of research on the Hittites, pass through the 71-meter posterns of Yerkapı, observe how they artificially filled the city walls so they would be in harmony with the terrain, and watch the mane of the lion with his mouth open and his paws. Look at Hattusa from above… In the first half-hour, you will spend in this vast land, which looks empty, this capital left in the middle of Anatolia and the Hittites will fascinate you. As you wander through the ruins of this Bronze Age empire, where the spirits of kings, gods, slaves roam, your imagination may help to rebuild these structures, but it is necessary to listen to the western traveler Charles Texier, who discovered Hattusa. Texier’s drawings of 1834, photographs that were taken during the excavation, and computer-generated reconstructions are extremely effective in reviving this civilization. When you take the Hattusa Guide, written by the German archaeologist Dr. Jürgen Seeher, who excavated Hattusa, you will understand the glorious signature of the Hittites in the city when you are looking at it from the hill where the Sphinx Gate is. Nevertheless, it is not possible to fully understand the professional secrets of the construction masters and the engineering genius of the Hittites.

First written constitution of the world

The difficulty of understanding is undoubtedly due to the sophistication of civilization as well as the erosion of Hattusa’s traces after thousands of years. Despite this, the Hittites are sitting on another throne in Anatolia. In particular, approximately 30 thousand Hattusa cuneiform tablets in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara and the Museum of Archeology in İstanbul tell a lot about the legal system, technology, and culture of those fascinating people. This civilization, the creator of the world’s first written constitution, does not stop there. To sign the first bilateral peace treaty in the history of mankind, to accept the gods of the countries they have invaded, to define themselves as “People with Thousand Gods”, to adopt a tolerant understanding of religion, to give equal rights to women, and to establish an advanced legal system based on compensation rather than torture and death are to crown it all. The Hittite cuneiform tablets, which are the perfect documents to date, reveal the weaknesses and naivety of the kings with clarity. Almost enough to make us laugh. For example, these are the words of Hattushili: “You took over my, you left me as the king in a single castle… You started the fight against me. Now if anyone asks me ‘You are the one who made him king, why are you rebelling now?’, I would say, ‘If he did not start the fight with me, would the gods allow a small king to defeat a great king?'” Puduhepa’s husband did not go to a wedding because he had a burning sensation in his feet. About this wedding, Ramses writes to Puduhepa: “… I am your brother. I am fine. My houses, my sons, my armies, my horses, my carriages, they’re all fine. You better be fine my sister. Your houses, sons, armies, horses, be fine… Your country be fine.” Puduhepa, whose life becomes harder after her husband dies, complains: “…The carriage riders are not taking me anywhere, so I started crying, I, the queen. They all laughed at me constantly, making fun of me. They took away the horses I had. Nobody rode me by the carriage, nobody respected me…”

Magnificent dimensions

Between 1650 – 1600 and 1200 BC, the Hittite Empire was dominating most of Anatolia. From time to time the borders of the empire extended to the north of Syria. The capital was Hattusa. The vast area it spreads is particularly impressive. The city walls, gates, temples and palace ruins seen in Hattusa Ruins including Yazılıkaya are from the brightest period of the city, the 13th century. Hattusa was one of the largest cities of its time and surrounded by 6 km of walls. It is known that Hittites had a settlement here in 2500 BC. After the Hittites took over Central Anatolia, the empire reached its widest territory in 1375 BC and they made this place the capital. Other important Hittite settlements worth visiting are Alacahöyük and Şapinuva (Ortaköy).