Monday, November 14, 2016

Tourist Attraction Will Transport You Back in Time to Ancient Hittite Village

Ancient Origins

An exciting new project is on the way for the ancient Hittite capital of Hattusa. The village will be recreated so visitors can experience what daily life was like for people who lived in the Hittite kingdom about 3,500 years ago.

Hurriyet Daily News reports that Turkey’s forthcoming tourist attraction is the result of decades of research on the ancient site of Hattusa. The Hittite center is in what is now the Bogazkale district, in the heart of a national park. It is known for its treasures, monumental gates, statues, and inscriptions. On the world map of ancient cities, it is one of the richest archaeological sites. The texts that were discovered at Hattusa consist of official letters, legal codes, descriptions of cult ceremonies, literature, oracular prophecies, and other interesting documents.
The site is surrounded by 6 kms (3.73 miles) of walls and it is one of the most important sites in Turkey. It has been recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO since 2001. Over the last few decades, archaeologists have unearthed 31 temples, granaries, and many other buildings in Hattusa. Now, the project to rebuild the Hittite village is being conducted by the Bogazkale District Governor's Office and led by the District Gov. Osman Aydogan.
Hattusa, the Hittite capital.
Hattusa, the Hittite capital. (Flickr/CC BY 2.0)
The Hittite village project will be constructed in a field measuring 7,000 square meters (75347 sq. ft.) It will cost over 1 million Turkish Liras. Aydogan and the leaders of the Middle Black Sea Development Agency (OKA) believe that the project will help the site bring in more visitors from around the world.
Osman Aydogan said the village will depict the reality of life 3,500 years ago:
“Because the ancient city is 3,500 years old, our artifacts are basic ones. We designed a big Hittite village to be built with Hittite architecture. Their daily life will be revived in the village and tourists will be able to spend the night there. Just like in the Hittite [times], we will build stone and adobe structures with a lion’s gate. It will have a backyard, shops, king’s room, prison, bakeshop and iron work shop.”
Hattusa is one of the most fascinating sites of ancient Anatolia. The city still holds many secrets, but researchers found enough information about its history for the tourist attraction to be created.
The Great Temple in the inner city of Hattusa.
The Great Temple in the inner city of Hattusa. (CC BY-SA 2.0)
A few months ago, archaeologists unearthed one of the site’s most fascinating architectural elements. As Natalia Klimczak reported on August 23, 2016 for Ancient Origins:
Archaeologists announced the discovery of an ancient tunnel which is located in Alacahöyük, one of the most important centers of the Hittite Empire - Hattusa. It is a key excavation site for modern Turkey. According to Hurriyet Daily News, the tunnel is 2,300-years-old and it was a secret passageway known as a potern.
The excavations were led by Professor Aykut Çınaroğlu from Ankara University, along with a team of 24 researchers. They discovered a tunnel during works on a sanctuary unearthed in 2014. The discovery also confirms that there was more than one secret tunnel in Hattusa. As Çınaroğlu said:
''This new potern proves the existence of other poterns in Alacahöyük. We are carrying out excavations right now; we have not finished yet. We started from the gate opening to the sanctuary, trying to open it. This is a potern from nearly 2,300 years ago. We have dug 23 meters so far but think that it is longer. Cleaning work is continuing, too. We will see what we will find in the end. Poterns were placed under the castle, extending into the city. We have previously found a cuneiform tablet here, featuring a king who explains to priests what to do during ceremonies. This secret tunnel might have had a sacred function.''
The researchers said that the discovery was very exciting for the team, and they are going to continue excavations in the new season.
Ancient tunnel found inside Geval Castle.
Ancient tunnel found inside Geval Castle. (Konya Life)
The site of Hattusa was discovered in 1835 by W.C. Hamilton, but the first regular excavations did not take place until 1907 when they were carried out by the Ottoman archaeologist Makridi Bey. Work was continued in 1935, during the rule of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. In 1997, Professor Çınaroğlu became the director of the campaign.
Hattusa is a site full of treasures and is mentioned in history books due to the rich correspondence between the Hittite kings and other rulers, like the pharaohs of Egypt. The site contains many important places, including pre-Hittite royal tombs dating to 3,000 BC. It has yielded stunning artifacts such as weapons, gold and silver containers, jewelry, bronze and clay animal sculptures, chairs, belt buckles, and gold leaf-covered figures. One of the most famous symbols of the Alacahöyük site is the Sphinx Gate at the south of the city, which consists of two great sphinxes facing outward. This feature is dated back to 1,400 BC.
The Sphinx gate at Alacahöyük.
The Sphinx gate at Alacahöyük. (Public Domain)
Top Image: Lion Gate, Hattusa, Turkey. Source: Bernard Gagnon/CC BY SA 3.0

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