Yazılıkaya – The Sanctuary of the Hittites

Related Articles

Yazılıkaya is an ancient sanctuary that served the Hittite capital of Hattusa, located in modern-day Boğazkale, Turkey.

The Hittites were an Ancient Anatolian people, ruling an empire that reached its peak around the mid-14th century BC.

The region (known as the “land of Hatti”) was first inhabited by the Hattians, around 2000 BC and was absorbed either through conquest or gradual assimilation into a new Hittite state. Hattusa was established as the capital during the 17th century BC by King Hattusilis I, comprising of an inner and outer precinct that covered an area of 444 acres.

 

At its zenith, the city had a population between 40,000 to 50,000 inhabitants and consisted of a citadel, a temple district, an industrial district, the Sankale (a 60-meter high rock with a fortress on the summit), the Büyükkale (Great Fortress), and various large civic buildings.

Yazılıkaya – Image Credit : Carole Raddato

A large sanctuary (Yazılıkaya) was constructed outside the city gates across roofless chambers formed inside a group of rock outcrops. The chambers depict various rock-cut reliefs portraying the gods of the Hittite pantheon such as the sun-goddess Hebat and the storm-god Teshub, with most of the reliefs dating from restorations by King Tudhaliya IV and king Suppiluliuma II in the late 13th century BC.

Evidence of the Hittite practice of assimilating other cultures can also be found throughout the sanctuary, with Ea (the Mesopotamian god of wisdom) and Teshub (a Hurrian god) being carved into depicted reliefs showing the gods procession.

Yazılıkaya – Image Credit : Carole Raddato

Academics theorise that the sanctuary may have been used in the celebrations of the Hittites New Year or associated with the climate, with another theory suggesting that the sanctuary was a time-keeping device or a calendar to measure the lunar and solar movement (evident by markers under each line of gods in procession).

Hattusa and Yazılıkaya was destroyed along with the Hittite state around 1200 BC (evident by traces of burning) during the Bronze Age collapse, although archaeological evidence suggests that the city was gradually abandoned over a period of several decades, becoming completely abandoned by 800 BC.

Header Image Credit : Carole Raddato

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

10 British Iron Age Hill Forts

A hill fort is a type of earthworks used as a fortified refuge or defended settlement, located to exploit a rise in elevation for defensive advantage.

Stabiae – The Roman Resort Buried by Mount Vesuvius

Stabiae was an ancient Roman town and seaside resort near Pompeii, that was largely buried during the AD 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius in present-day Italy.

Astronomers Accurately Measure the Temperature of Red Supergiant Stars

Red supergiants are a class of star that end their lives in supernova explosions. Their lifecycles are not fully understood, partly due to difficulties in measuring their temperatures. For the first time, astronomers develop an accurate method to determine the surface temperatures of red supergiants.

Researchers Overturn Hypothesis That Ancient Mammal Ancestors Moved Like Modern Lizards

The backbone is the Swiss Army Knife of mammal locomotion. It can function in all sorts of ways that allows living mammals to have remarkable diversity in their movements.

Archaeologists Discover one of Poland’s Largest Megalithic Tomb Complexes

Archaeologists excavating in Poland have discovered a large megalithic complex, containing several dozen tombs dating from 5500 years ago.

New Technology Allows Scientists First Glimpse of Intricate Details of Little Foot’s Life

In June 2019, an international team brought the complete skull of the 3.67-million-year-old Little Foot Australopithecus skeleton, from South Africa to the UK and achieved unprecedented imaging resolution of its bony structures and dentition in an X-ray synchrotron-based investigation at the UK's national synchrotron, Diamond Light Source.

Neandertals Had Capacity to Perceive and Produce Human Speech

Neandertals -- the closest ancestor to modern humans -- possessed the ability to perceive and produce human speech, according to a new study published by an international multidisciplinary team of researchers including Binghamton University anthropology professor Rolf Quam and graduate student Alex Velez.

Almost 600 Cats and Dogs Excavated in Ancient Pet Cemetery

Excavations of the early Roman port of Berenice in Egypt have unearthed the remains of nearly 600 cats and dogs from an ancient pet cemetery thought to be the earliest known yet discovered dating from 2000 years ago.

Popular stories

Ani – The Abandoned Medieval City

Ani is a ruined medieval city, and the former capital of the Bagratid Armenian kingdom, located in the Eastern Anatolia region of the Kars province in present-day Turkey.

Interactive Map of Earth’s Asteroid and Meteor Impact Craters

Across the history of our planet, around 190 terrestrial impact craters have been identified that still survive the Earth’s geological processes, with the most recent event occurring in 1947 at the Sikhote-Alin Mountains of south-eastern Russia.

The Sunken Town of Pavlopetri

Pavlopetri, also called Paulopetri, is a submerged ancient town, located between the islet of Pavlopetri and the Pounta coast of Laconia, on the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece.

Exploring the Avebury Stone Circle Landscape

The area was designated part of the Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites by UNESCO in 1986, in recognition for one of the most architecturally sophisticated stone circles in the world, in addition to the rich Neolithic, and Bronze age remains found nearby, such as the West Kennet Avenue, Beckhampton Avenue, West Kennet Long Barrow, the Sanctuary, and Windmill Hill.