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Published: October 1st 2013
We sat on the veranda of the Atahan Hotel for breakfast watching Ollie having a bath by several Turkish men who were fascinated with his steering wheel being in the ‘wrong’ place. A nice way to start the day with Chi and coffee and the obligatory salad and cheese. Thanking the staff for their hospitality we pointed Ollie in the direction of Corum and off we went.
Woolly says – I knew where we were going today but Jo didn’t have a clue. At the first town the locals watched us passing several times with grins getting bigger at each circuit. Finally ignoring James we managed to find the main road and cruised off. The trip through the mountain passes was lovely and with the sun in the sky and the clouds clearing quickly, we rolled down the roads. The two and a half hours passed quickly and with a little music to hum along to I spotted the signs for Hattusa, The World Heritage Site that had once been the capital for the Hittites.
I have to say that Ian’s research is always brilliant and our first call appeared to be to a gentleman
who introduced himself as the Guardian of Hattusa. Parking up behind a Dutch motorhome (the first we have seen since the South Coast) we were given cups of Chi while he explained a little about the city that had once stood there, before trying to sell us some rugs.
Woolly says – the rugs were rather nice and as I looked longingly at one with tiny camels on Jo and Ian said their goodbyes and we left, rugless. A short distance up the road and we entered the Archaeological Site, paying our 5 TL each (approximately £1.62 GBP) we drove to the first part.
Hattusa has a 6KM circumference which would once have been a continuous wall with gates in. The first part of the visit was to the Lower City which has had inhabitants since the third millennium BC. Climbing out of Ollie we were greeted by a man who started telling us all about the site. This was unexpected and, although he was a very nice man, unwanted. We like to view as we like and go at our own speed, and since there were plenty of information boards in English we
felt quite capable of guiding ourselves. The Lower city provided residences for many of the population and is also home to the largest of the 30 temples on the site. With the stone foundations it was easy to work out where houses would have stood and streets would have lain. All of the buildings regardless of stature were stone foundations with wooden walls and roofs.
Woolly says – it was really interesting and I was most happy to find a large bath, not quite a latrine but a good find none the less. The area were the temple would have stood had large stones marking the entrance which would have been carved in relief. Eroded over the years it still felt like a grand entrance to the Sun and Storm God’s that were worshipped there. Across the road was the House on the Slope which the information told us would have housed officials of the city. By now the nice Turkish man was going on a little too much so when his phone rang we grabbed the opportunity to jump into Ollie and wave as we fled up the hill to the next site.
This was the first gate we would see…..
Woolly says – the Lion Gate was brilliant, giant lions would have stood guarding the gateway and although only two replicas remain they were very impressive, well until one tried to eat me!
If only! We carried onto Yerkpapi Bank which had been built three with sloping sides, so from the outside it would appear to be a truncated pyramid. The gateway here formed a secret tunnel, 70 metres long, that the soldiers could use to enter and exit the city, with huge stone blocks as the door surrounds it looked somewhat like something out of the Flintstones. Next was the Sphinx Gate. Taken to Germany in 1907 it has taken the Turkish Government 97 years to re-claim them and the originals now stand in the museum. The replica Sphinx’s were proving very popular as we passed a group of English tourists (very strange to hear English being spoken so quickly!), closely followed by a Japanese group. With photo’s getting impossible to take we moved on.
Woolly says – as we drove we could see the foundations of other temples everywhere, it must
have looked so impressive although with 35,000 Hittites living there you probably wouldn’t have seen much of anything! Now we were in the Upper City and what would have been the King’s Gate, finely decorated for the honour of the Cities Royalty. Todays carving doesn’t really do it but it gives a good sense of how tall these carvings would have been. Rolling down the hill we were able to look at Hieroglyphics on the side of the road as well as inside a Cult Chamber after a bit of a climb amongst the ruins, both were pretty incredible although it was a shame that the Cult Chamber was behind bars so it wasn’t seen in its best light.
With Woolly trying to decipher the script we arrived at what appears to be the largest of the dwellings, the Royal Palace. Set high above the rest of the city you can only imagine the grandeur and size of it, it must have been a masterpiece of architecture at that time. The foundations of hundreds of rooms lay before us and although we only ventured a short way through we found a large pool or bath area which
overlooked the residents below, maybe the first infinity pool!
Woolly says – it was a brilliant place to visit and you can imagine how happy we were to find the first campsite on our list was not only there but was open! Twenty Lira for the night (approximately £6.45 GBP) with a toilet block (showers are in the toilets, similar to some motorhome designs) and a washing up area. We had the choice of every pitch.
Having set up camp we popped into the bar to pay for our stay….
Woolly says – Jo means they had a quick beer and I paid! We then headed across the road to the museum which is included in the site entrance cost. A gaggle of geese grabbed our interest as they waddled down the road making a huge amount of noise together. Though it is quite small the museum has tonnes of information about the history and culture of the Hittites, sitting proudly in the entrance hall are the two remaining Sphinx’s returned from Berlin to the site of their heritage. The information told us about the food, clothing and the use of
TUSKS!!!!!!! These were not nice people!
With Woolly trembling at the thought of his tusks undergoing whittling and turning into a comb or a piece of jewellery we continues along the displays finding ourselves in front of some heads! Tired and ready for tea we walked back to the campsite only to find the geese had decided to join us, Woolly was not impressed and refused to come out of the tent and with them waddling up and down outside we could only grin at their antics.
Woolly says – more heads, this time there were of the God’s that would have been worshipped although one of them looked more like Punch than anything else.
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