District of Temples in Hattusa

The highest point in Hattusa - that is the artificial embankment of Yerkapı - is an excellent vantage point of the Upper Town of Hattusa (tr. Yukarı Şehir). On the left side, you can see the fortifications of the city, ascending from the Lion Gate to Yerkapı, and stretching further to the east, to the King's Gate. Yerkapı embankment stands in the middle of the arc demarcated by the city walls.

District of Temples in Hattusa
District of Temples in Hattusa

Şarapsa Han Caravanserai

In Turkey, one can find many historic inns for travelers, traditionally known as hans (caravanserais), built in Seljuk and Ottoman times. Some of them slowly fall into ruin and oblivion, while others are carefully restored and converted into ethnographic expositions, and others - still serve the travelers, although in a way that probably would surprise medieval merchants. One of the caravanserais belonging to the latter category is Şarapsa Han (also known as Sarafsa Han), probably the most visited caravanserai in Turkey.

Şarapsa Han caravanserai
Şarapsa Han caravanserai

Castabala - Hierapolis

The ruins of ancient Castabala, located on the Cilician Plain, can make some visitors dizzy - not only because of their picturesque location but also because of the multitude of names by which this place is known. Below we will use the name Castabala because it is a hallmark of the city. However, in the past, it was described with many other words. In the Hellenistic period, it was known as Hierapolis, just like the famous Roman spa located at Pamukkale. Since the city lies in the valley of the Ceyhan River, in ancient times known as Pyramus, it was frequently called Hierapolis ad Pyramum. What's more, the fortress towering over the city is referred to as Bodrum Kalesi, reminiscent of the well-known holiday resort on the coast of the Aegean Sea.

Castabala - Hierapolis - Bodrum Kalesi
Castabala - Hierapolis - Bodrum Kalesi

Monastery of St. Simeon near Antakya

Nearby Samandağ, in the Province of Hatay (Antakya), rises a hill that once was known as the Hill of Wonders. Simon Stylites the Younger lived on this hill, and more precisely, on a high pillar erected on its slope, in the 6th century AD. His followers built there a church dedicated to the Holy Trinity and a monastery. Today, the ruins of the monastic buildings are rarely visited by tourists who are afraid to travel to the areas bordering with Syria. Unfortunately, the magic of the old Hill of Wonders was destroyed by the erection of ugly wind turbines a few years ago.

Monastery of St. Simeon near Antakya
Monastery of St. Simeon near Antakya

Colophon

In ancient times Colophon was one of the most important cities of the Ionian coast of Asia Minor. This city, conveniently located near the Aegean coast, quickly developed through trade. It also featured a powerful fleet of warships. Currently, extremely modest remains of this ancient city do not reflect its former importance and bring on the reflections on the transience of even the most powerful civilizations and human memory.

Colophon
Colophon

House on the Slope in Hattusa

The steep slope of the hill that rises from the Grand Temple to the Royal Citadel (tr. Büyükkale) was part of the Hattusa Old Town. This quarter of the city was protected by fortifications, at least from the 16th century BCE. There were many buildings erected on this slope, on the artificial terraces, localized among the rocks protruding from the ground.

House on the Slope in Hattusa
House on the Slope in Hattusa

Yerkapı in Hattusa

The Turkish word Yerkapı, meaning 'the gate in the ground,' quite accurately captures the essence of this part of Hattusa fortifications. It is located inside an artificial embankment that forms the southern tip of the city walls. That embankment is 15 meters high, 250 meters long, and 80 meters wide at its base. Above it, there are city walls, with the access to the city provided by the Sphinx Gate.

Yerkapı in Hattusa
Yerkapı in Hattusa

Gaziemir

In addition to the most famous underground cities of Cappadocia, that is Derinkuyu, Kaymaklı, and Özkonak, this region hides many more such underground settlements. Their exact number remains a mystery, as they are continually being discovered. Not long ago, in 2014, another huge one was accidentally found in the capital city of the Nevşehir Province. Gaziemir belongs to the category of less frequently visited underground cities. It is located near the route connecting the Ihlara Valley with Göreme, situated in the heart of Cappadocia.

Gaziemir in Cappadocia
Gaziemir in Cappadocia

The Grand Temple and the Lower City in Hattusa

The part of Hattusa located at the foot of the Royal Citadel (tr. Büyükkale) is known as the Lower City (tr. Aşağı Şehir). It is also the first stopover on the designated Hattusa sightseeing trail. In this area, it is possible to see the ruins of the Grand Temple, the remains of an Assyrian trade colony, and the traces of residential houses and offices.

The Lion Tub, outside the Grand Temple in Hattusa
The Lion Tub, outside the Grand Temple in Hattusa

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