Hattusha
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Hattusha. Origins. Hattusha became the center of power for the Hittites in the late Bronze Age, and it reached its peak of power between 1600-1200 BC. The city was the seat of the royal administration and it was the religious capital for the Hittites.

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Hattusha

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Hattusha


Origins

  • Hattusha became the center of power for the Hittites in the late Bronze Age, and it reached its peak of power between 1600-1200 BC.

  • The city was the seat of the royal administration and it was the religious capital for the Hittites.

  • It is situated on a mountain slope surrounded by deep gorges


A Double City

  • The lower city consisted of the Northwest third of Hattusha

  • Two of the most important complexes here are the Great Temple and the Büyükkale


A Double City

  • The lower city consisted of the Northwest third of Hattusha

  • Two of the most important complexes here are the Great Temple and the Büyükkale


A Double City

  • The Upper City was carefully planned under the reign of Greatking Tuthaliya IV (c.1235- 1216 B.C.) and his son Suppiluliuma II.

  • This encompassed two thirds of the city and was almost entirely designated for religious purposes.

  • Excavated largely by Peter Neve, the Upper City contains a central temple quarter, several sacred ponds and is surrounded by a double wall which is pierced by several gates used for cult practices.


Temples to the Thousand Gods

  • Thirty temples were found in the Upper City, though it can be assumed that more temples lie in this area.

  • The size of the temples and the great number of rooms indicate that the temples also served economic purposes.

  • The importance placed on religion by the kings of Hattusha is seen by this proliferation of temples.


Temples to the Thousand Gods

  • Temples 2, 3, and 5 are not only the largest, but the earliest of the temples.

  • Temples 4, 6 and 26 appear to have walled-off precincts.

  • Temple 31 was in the South Castle Precinct, a stronghold with large official buildings, and was probably associated with cult practices involved with the Eastern lakes and their chambers.


Sacred Ponds

  • In two separate sections of the Upper City, there have been found remnants of sacred man-made lakes.

  • The Southern Ponds, found in one of the higher elevations of the city, were used as reservoirs and were where a number of libation vessels were found.

  • The two Eastern Ponds were separated by a dam, and are associated with the nearby Chambers 1 and 2.


Sacred Ponds

  • In two separate sections of the Upper City, there have been found remnants of sacred man-made lakes.

  • The Southern Ponds, found in one of the higher elevations of the city, were used as reservoirs and were where a number of libation vessels were found.

  • The two Eastern Ponds were separated by a dam, and are associated with the nearby Chambers 1 and 2.


Hieroglyphic Chambers

  • These chambers are located at the Southern and Northern end of the dam.

  • The better preserved of the two is the Northern chamber (2), where the walls of the chamber are decorated with numerous reliefs, including 6 lines of hieroglyphics.

  • According to David Hawkins, the inscription deals with the divine stone path to the underground and may reference a nearby trench as an entrance to the underworld.


Hieroglyphic Chambers

  • These chambers are located at the Southern and Northern end of the dam.

  • The better preserved of the two is the Northern chamber (2), where the walls of the chamber are decorated with numerous reliefs, including 6 lines of hieroglyphics.

  • According to David Hawkins, the inscription deals with the divine stone path to the underground and may reference a nearby trench as an entrance to the underworld.


Walls and Gates

  • The Walls surrounded the entire city and was approximately 8 meters thick.

  • Gates pierced the walls at intervals, most of which served cult purposes.

  • The three monumental gateways were symmetrical around the Upper City, and processions started at Temple 5.


King’s Gate

  • The King’s Gate consists of two doorways in the form of parabolic arches and is flanked by two towers.

  • Cultic processions began here and began their path around the city.

  • Above the gate there is a sculpture in high relief of a warrior, who is believed to have been the god protector of the king.


Sphinx Gate

  • The Sphinx Gate was the most important, highest point on this cultic procession.

  • This gate, unlike the other gates in this path, was not flanked by towers but passes directly through a tower.

  • The entrance is flanked by four sphinxes, which were probably adapted from the Egyptians.


Lion Gate

  • The Lion Gate was a mirror image of the King’s Gate, the both of which were centered on the Sphinx Gate.

  • The cultic procession would re-enter the city here.

  • Lions were an important symbol of protection seen throughout Hattusha and the rest of the ancient Near East.


Yazilikaya

  • Yazilikaya was a rock sanctuary located outside of the city walls of Hattusha.

  • The rooms of this sactuary were composed of natural rock faces, and were screened from the outside world by an architectural comples

  • This was the site of a yearly gathering of the Hurrian gods, and where foreign dieties were incorporated into the religious life of the Hittite Empire.


An Empire Falls

  • Perhaps a hidden motive for Tudhalya’s massive building projects was to measure up to the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta.

  • Only a few decades (and one generation) later, the thousand-year-old city fell to a presently unknown enemy, and the thousand gods failed to come to it’s rescue.


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