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Main Attractions in Hattusas

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The city of Hattusas is a tourist attraction in itself, an archaeological storehouse of sorts. There is one main entrance to the site and when you enter the first edifice you come across is the Buyuk Tapinak temple. The temple is sited in the heart of the Lower City and is surrounded by a wall. The actual temple is cut off from the outer portions and only the King and the Queen in their role as the priest and the priestess were allowed to enter it. The Buyuk Tapinak was dedicated to the Sun Goddess of Arinna and the Storm God, two of the most important deities of the Hittites. Constructed during the reign of Hattusilis III (1275-1250 B.C.), the last great Hittite King, the ruins of the temple speak of its social importance. Presently, you will find offices, storerooms, workshops and even large earthen vessels.

The Büyükkale or the Great Fortress accommodated the royal couple and their residence is surrounded by a system of protective walls located on a crest. The palace also has public rooms, sacred areas, a huge reception hall and was the residence of the royal sentinel.

Nisantepe is an artificially rounded rock projection that bears a message that is almost 9m-long. The worn out inscriptions are considered to be a record of the activities of the last Hittite King Suppiliumus II.

The Hieroglyphic Chamber No. 1 and the Southern Fort had been erected several centuries after the collapse of the Hittite Empire. The former dates to 1200 B.C. and is built into the side of an artificial dam and has interesting figures carved on it and there are hieroglyphics on its opposite wall.

The Kralkapi or King`s Gate is the best-preserved city gate at Hattusas. There are two towers on two sides that have both an inner and outer portal. You will find a model of the relief of the Hittite God of War, the original of which is in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.

The highest construction in this archaeological site lies in Yerkapi, which means "Earth Gate" or gate in the Ground" and is popularly known as the Sphinx gate. The Sphinx gate gets its name from four sphinxes that watch over the inner gate. Around 28 temples have been uncovered in the area and to reach the 15m high artificial banks you have to climb stone steps. There is a 69-meter long tunnel that used to act as a shortcut to enter the city during times of peace, while in the wartime it was a deterrent to invaders.

The Aslankapi or Lion`s Gate is one of the best-conserved relics at Hattusas and it is so named because of the presence of frontal portions of two lions carved out of stone blocks. Another interesting object at the site is a pictographic inscription on the head of one of the lions, which is only visible at noon.


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