Places in History: Hattusa

In the highlands of north central Anatolia is located the capital of a long-forgotten civilization that, even today, is relatively little-known.  This site, Hattusa, was the center of the Hittite state that dominated much of modern Turkey and Syria during the second millennium BCE.  Hattusa was occupied from the third millennium BCE and went through several stages of occupation – each built atop the ruins of a previous settlement.  The most impressive remains date from the 16th – 11th centuries BCE when the city became the capital of the mighty Hittite empire.  The origins of the Hittite Empire remain lost to the mists of history, but their capital demonstrates an advanced state of city-building and urban planning.  The city was surrounded by a wall with five gates, the most famous of which are called the “Lion Gate” and the “Sphinx Gate” – so named due the sculptures that adorn them.  Hattusa was unknown to historians and archaeologists until it was first discovered in 1834.  The site has been under excavation for much of the 20th and 21st centuries – interrupted primarily by the two World Wars.  It was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986 due to its historical importance in the history of Western Asia.

Featured Image: “Great Temple.” By Bernard Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Hattusa.”(Flickr/CC BY 2.0)
Hattusa.” By China Crisis, CC BY-SA 2.0.
Lion Gate.” By Bernard Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Hattusa.” Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The Republic of Turkey.

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