Turkey Travel Diary: In The Footsteps Of The Hitties

   All that was left of the 50,000 inhabitant city were the stone foundations. The mud bricks didn't survive the 4000 years that had passed since Hattusa was a capital of the Hittie empire, bustling with life and power.
    I must admit that I barely knew who the Hitties were when we made our way to Hattusa. Apparently they were an empire parallel to the Egyptian, anyway read the wiki page of you are interested.

    There are two things that we found on the way that were fantastic:

The amazing charging station on a bus stop:


Delicious Turkish pretzels:


   Bogazkale, the nearest village to the Hattusa site, was teeny. We didn't know that, and when we told the Hotel owner that we are going out to check out the neighbourhood he look surprised but kept a straight face, probably thinking that the tourists have to learn the hard way learn. Indeed, in a few minutes we were outside the village! We collected some of the very beautiful and unusual stones that were everywhere. The local people were very friendly: we got gifts of fruit, and one guy even invited us to eat dinner at his restaurant and didn't want any payment from us.
   The village was quite picturesque.

Notice the solar-powered grain dryer on the roof of this uninhabited house:


    We wanted to set out very early to Hattusa, and we found out that it was too early for the hotel staff --- we were locked in, but luckily found a small back exit through which we left the hotel. We decided to do Hattusa by foot: there is a 6km circuit to walk, but I'm sure we walked at least twice as much (and the kids too) because we wanted to explore each and every thing.


   Hattusa is only partially excavated, and I have never seen an archaeological site which was so great for exploring, or for sitting around and dreaming of times long gone. Pieces of Hittie pottery were everywhere. The site was completely empty, except a couple of busloads of tourists that left as promptly as they arrived, and a couple of very persistent souvenir sellers. 


   There were some excavations going on in one place, and the guy guarding it let us have a peek! He explained how the archeologists work, and showed us some pottery they had dug up and were glueing together.

The Hittie temples had a holy stone and a holy oak tree (like the Celtic druids). Here is one such stone. It is of table-height and I found it very beautiful:


One of the several city gates. There were high watchtowers built on the walls:


The most intriguing things in Hattusa could be found only if you went on foot and explored. Like these perfectly fitting stones:


   You can't fit a knife blade between them. Reminded me of this mind-boggling piece of pre-Incan architecture.

   We strengthened ourselves with wild peaches, drank out of a spring (husband wouldn't let me but I'm sure it was alright) and met a lot of interesting bugs.


  After admiring some hieroglyphics (one king had his deeds inscribed on a gigantic rock face, what an ego!) and trying to make up our minds about purpose what the dead-ended gate on the above photo might have served, we bid goodbye to Hattusa.

   There was one more place to visit: Yazilikaya, the holy sanctuary of the Hittie royalty.

Yazilikaya and its Hittite stone reliefs
Photo by 10b travelling

   It was small but full of all kinds of reliefs of deities and kings. I tried to imagine how it must have looked like in the days of it's glory, with priests and acolytes worshiping long-forgotten gods...


  Outside were (again) souvenir sellers, where I bought an (allegedly) Hittie-inspired necklace. I bargained valiantly but was not match for my husband, who bought some statuettes for a fraction of the asking price. When asked about the secret of his bargaining skills: "I didn't want the stuff!" Apparently that makes sellers run after you and slash the prices drastically. Doesn't work for me though, I actually do want the stuff I am buying. Any tips for me?

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