Hattusa Ancient City

Relief from Hattusa Anceint City

Hattusa Ancient City (Boğazkale Archeological Site) is on the UNESCO heritage list, in which there are 18 heritages from Turkey. This ancient city is located in Çorum and Çorum is located in the middle black sea region. This ancient city, which had been the capital city of the Hittite civilization for many years, is a very important legacy in terms of history and culture.

Hattusa Ancient City has a mystical vibe in which you can feel as if you are in the past, visiting a time that was centuries ago. Archeological remains and findings are other features that make Hattusa Ancient City unique. It can be said that such ancient cities are very small in numbers, and that makes them even more valuable.

Visiting Hattusa Ancient City

You can find yourself in Çorum whether you are in a black sea tour, or you just wanted to visit Çorum. Either way, Hattusa Ancient City is a place worth visiting. Some go to Çorum just to see Hattusa Ancient City. I recommend you explore the city as well since you are there but if you are short in time, just to visit to see Hattusa Ancient City will not disappoint you at all.

Where is Hattusa Ancient City Located on the Map of Turkey?

Çorum, which the Hattusa Ancient City is located in, is in the middle black sea region.

On the map of Turkey, Çorum is located just under the Sinop. You can easily find Sinop on the map of Turkey by the point where the coast protrudes most towards the sea, which can be observed as a small bump upwards on the map. Hattusa Ancient City is located on the southwest side of Çorum in Boğazkale district.

How do you get to Hattusa Ancient City?

There are no direct public transportation options to get to Hattusa Ancient City from Çorum city center. You need to get there with a car or with services that take you to Bogazkele district. 

Bogazkele is approximately 82 kilometers away from the Çorum city center. Or, you may prefer to get to Sungurlu district with a bus first, and then, take another bus to Bogazkele from Sungurlu. But going in a car is highly recommended because a car will help you explore Hattusa Ancient City more comfortably.

If your starting point is from Istanbul, you can get there in your car, or you can take a bus that goes to Çorum and then take a Bogazkele service. Unfortunately, there are no airports in Çorum. From Istanbul to Çorum, this trip approximately takes 6-7 hours. This time is similar to a car as well.

If your starting point is Ankara, you may prefer the same options as well. Ankara is a lot closer to Çorum in comparison to Istanbul, your road trip will be approximately 2.5-3 hours. After you get to Çorum, you can get Bogazkele by car or by service. As you get to Bogazkele, Hattusa Ancient City is only 10 minutes of walking away.

If you do not want to get to Çorum by car or a bus, you may prefer the airports that are near to Çorum and you can shorten your road trip duration. The closest airport to Çorum is in Amasya. Amasya Merzifon Airport is 67 kilometers away from Çorum. If you would like, you can rent a car from Amasya Merzifon Airport and continue your trip with it. Or you may take a bus to Çorum from Amasya Merzifon Airport, which will take approximately 50 minutes to get you to Çorum.

Visiting hours of the Hattusa Ancient City

The visiting hours of the Hattusa Ancient City are different in summertime and wintertime. In the summertime, Hattusa Ancient City is open to visitors everyday between hours 08:00 AM and 07:00 PM, whereas it is open to visitors between hours 08:00 AM and 05:00 PM in the wintertime.

On the first day of religious holidays, Hattusa Ancient City is closed.

You can see up to date visiting hours from here.

Entrance fee of the Hattusa Ancient City

The entrance fee of the Hattusa Ancient City is 10 Turkish liras(1.5 USD, as of January 2021), yet this is not the only option

You may buy a museum pass at the entrance. Your entrance to the Hattusa Ancient City will be free if you buy a museum pass, besides, you will be able to visit so many more historical landmarks and museums for free with a museum pass. If you are not planning a trip with enough duration to visit many more historical landmarks and museums, you may buy a temporary museum pass. A temporary museum pass has the same features, yet the duration of use is limited. But if you are visiting only Hattusa Ancient City, buying a museum pass is not recommended. Click here to get more information about the museum pass.

How long to spend in the Hattusa Ancient City?

Hattusa Ancient City takes up a wide territory, so it is difficult to explore the area without a car. If you are not going in a car, you probably will spend around 3 hours in Hattusa Ancient City, if you have a car, this duration may decrease by about 1.5 hours. 

So be careful about your time for going back and do not buy any tickets before considering how long will you spend in the Hattusa Ancient City. 

History of the Hattusa Ancient City

Hattusa Ancient City was the capital city of Hittite Civilization, and was also known as “the city of a thousand gods”. Hattusa was accepted as the capital city for hundreds of years. Hattusa was always a very important city, even when it was first formed. 

There are different temples, doors, buildings, rooms, and warehouses that have been found in the Hattusa Ancient City. Traces of 5 different cultures can be observed in the Hattusa Ancient City: Frigians, Romans, Galatians, Hittites, Assyrians, and Byzantines. The traces linked to Byzantine periods confirm that Hattusa Ancient City remained its importance at least until the Byzantine periods.

In a text that was found in Hattusa Ancient City, called “Anitta Text”, it is written that Anitta, the king of Kussara, was defeated the Hattusa king and took the Hattusa from him. Anitta destroyed the city in the duration of his administration. After that, a king named Hattusi I, who is from the lineage of Kussara, took control to his hands again and he opened the city for settlement once again. Subsequently, Hattusa becomes the capital city at the beginning of B.C 17th century.

Hittite Civilization

The Hittites were the first state to achieve political unity in Anatolia and to have centralized power. 

In addition to many more things that are unique to the Hittite Civilization, this one has its space. Another important feature of the Hittite Civilization is, of course, the Hattusa Ancient City. It is known that during the rule of King Suppiluliuma I, the Hittite civilization transformed into an empire. Hittite Civilization had witnessed more firsts in history, such that between the Hitit civilization and the Egyptian state, the first written agreement in history was agreed to sign.

Architecture and Significant Structures in Hattusa Ancient City

As I mentioned earlier, Hattusa Ancient City takes up a really large place, and it has multiple regions. The main regions in the ancient city can be listed as the upper city, lower city, Yazılıkaya, and center part of the ancient city.

Two important doors are built in the upper city, named “Lion’s Gate” and “King’s Gate”. In the lower city, some buildings are thought to be from Assyrian periods. In the center part, there are many structures and temples are present. Lastly, in the Yazılıkaya part, there is a magnificent open-air temple is waiting for you.

Hittite Architecture

Hittite architecture is characterized by its palaces and temples built in the highest points of the city,   2 floored houses, and mostly known for having an asymmetric style in terms of architecture. It is known that the temples and palaces were especially built in a way that would maximize the sunlight that enters inside. The city walls are built with Kyklop style and designed in a way that would remind you of a monument. There are no columns in the Hittite architecture, instead, all towers have a rectangular shape. Talking of towers, another feature of the Hittite architecture is that almost there are two towers built on two sides of every gate.

Upper City

The upper city refers to the part of the city which is in the south. The upper city is also as known as the “temple district” because in this part of the city there are so many temples present. In those temples, findings such as written sources, ceramics, tools and weapons, and cult objects were found. The temples are typically designed in a way that as you walk into them from the middle courtyard, you will encounter a narrow foreground and later a deeper main venue that composes the cult rooms. The temple district is surrounded by a wall, which has 5 doors.

In the highest point of the upper city, the Sphinx and Bostion doors take place. In the other parts of the upper city, you can see the king door and the lion’s gate. The magnificent Hittite stoneworks can be observed in the lion’s gate. In addition to those Hittite period remainings, there are after Hittite buildings as well, such as the Western building and the palace archive. In the palace archive, 30 cuneiform tablets and around 3000 bullas are exhibited today.

Lower City

The lower city refers to the part of the city which is in the north. In the lower city, traces of Assyrian periods are more dominant than any other period. In the middle of the lower city, you can see the biggest temple in the city, which is named big temple. This temple has two rooms, and it has been said that those rooms were dedicated to the Arinna’s (was the king of the city at some point) sun and thunder gods.

Büyükkale/Kral Kale (Big Castle/King’s Castle)

Büyükkale, (which means big castle in Turkish) is in the center of the Hattusa Ancient City. This castle is also as known as king castle, because “the big king”s palace was on this castle. At some point, a restoration was made in this palace. The büyükkale contains a big reception hall, sacred areas, an archive, warehouses, and a room that is dedicated to the water cult.

Büyük Tapınak(Big Temple)

Büyük Tapınak, (which means big temple in Turkish), is the biggest building of the Hattusa Ancient City, and occupy a place which is approximately 15.000 square meters. Pieces of evidence are proving that the Büyük Tapınak was being used as an economic center and an archive. 

The stonemasonry masterpieces protected their beauty after all these years. As I mentioned before, two rooms in this temple are dedicated to the Thunder God and the Sun Goddess. Since all the rooms are dedicated to a god and a goddess, it has been said that this temple is particularly made as a house for the Thunder God and the Sun Goddess.

Yerkapı(Ground Gate)

Yerkapı is another gate, which is located in the highest point of the Hattusa Ancient City. Even though the name refers to a singular gate, Yerkapı composes of two gates one under another. Here, there is an underground bridge that leads to the city. Yer means ground in Turkish, and this gate has this name due to having the only underground bridge to the Hattusa Ancient City.

Yerkapi Rampart

Aslanlı Kapı(Lion’s Gate)

Aslanlı Kapı, (lion’s gate in Turkish), is located in the upper city. It is named the lion’s gate because on two sides of this gate there are lion statues present which are made from jamb blocks. Those lion statues are thought to have a feature to protect the city from enemies. One of the statues could remain the same, but due to excessive damage that is in the other statue, authorities had to restore it.

Lion's Gate

Yazılıkaya Temple

Yazılıkaya temple is a temple which is known to be present since B.C 13th century and is an open-air temple. There are two rooms in this temple and it is a structure where you can observe the Hittite architecture very clearly. The rooms are named small gallery and the big gallery. In the rooms of the temple, hundreds of figures representing sacred items, gods, and goddesses can be seen on the walls.

Discovery of the Hattusa Ancient City

The discovery of this ancient city did not occur until the year 1834, until a French traveler, architect, archeologist, and historian named Charles Textier came across this city. Excavation works started 72 years after the Hattusa Ancient City was found.

In the year 1988, Hattusa Ancient City was accepted as a national park and it was open to visitors.

Further information and Tips

As I mentioned before, Hattusa Ancient City is spread to a quite large area and going there with a car is recommended. 

If you go without a car, you will need to walk extreme amounts and the ground is not suitable for walking in every corner of the Hattusa Ancient City. If you have a ticket to leave Çorum on the same day, consider the amount of time that will pass until you go back to the airport or the bus station.

Going with children is not recommended since it is a quite large area, and children may want to run around and possibly hurt themselves. If you have to visit there with children, make sure that you have one eye on them.

Other places that you can visit while you are in Çorum

You might be in Çorum just to see the Hattusa Ancient City but you have enough time to explore the city, it is highly recommended. Besides, Çorum is not that big and you can explore the whole city for only around 2 or 3 days.

You may want to visit Çorum Castle. Çorum Castle is mentioned in Evliya Çelebi’s travel book, and it is thought to be from the Byzantine period. Çorum Clock Tower is another destination that you might want to visit while you are in Çorum. It is in the center of Çorum and it is a typical example of Ottoman architecture. Besides, there are many Turkish baths in Çorum, and if you would like to have a traditional Turkish bath experience you should definitely go to one of them.

In addition to historical landmarks and traditional Turkish baths, there are lots of natural beauties waiting for you in Çorum as well. You may go see canyons, plateaus, nature parks that are located inside of the green trees of the black sea region and so many more. Since it will take only 2-3 days to finish your trip in Çorum, you might want to go and see other cities in the black sea region as well. Kastamonu and Amasya are the closest cities to Çorum.

İsmail Çamönü

Hi! I am Ismail. I am a digital nomad from Turkey. I lived in many cities around Turkey during my life and I am passionate about traveling. At Nomad's Guide to Turkey, I share travel tips for nomads, expats, and tourists who would like to visit Turkey.

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