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Photo albums of upper city of Hattusa: The Aslanlıkapı or Lion Gate

Hattuşa was hailed in ancient sources as the City of a Thousand Gods. A multitude of gods required a multitude of temples in their honor. Therefore, it is no surprise that much of the remains at the vast area of Hattusha are places of worship. Nearly all the foundations, at least 28, found at the upper city are temples.


At about 1 km from the Great Temple are the remains of Hattusa's fortified upper city. The Lion Gate or Aslanlı Kapı was one of the two grand entrances in the southern curve of the city wall of Hattusa. The gate is named after the two sculptured lions that were cut out of the exterior of the huge blocks lining the passageway. The two lions symbolically guard Hattuşa from attackers and evil spirits. Two rectangular towers flanked the entranceway between the exterior and interior portals. Both portals were fitted with pairs of heavy wooden doors. The Aslanlıkapı marks the beginning of the remains of a dry-stone city wall.

Yer Kapı, or Earth Gate, popularly known as Sphinx Gate or Sfenksli Kapı, was named after the two great sphinxes that oncve guarded it. Unfortunately these were removed and are now on display in museums in Istanbul and Berlin. The most striking feature at Yerkapı is the presence of a 70 m long tunnel or postern hat runs beneath the city's walls. The postern was built using the corbel arch technique, i.e. a series of flat stones that lean towards each other and as such form a triangle. Since the tunnel's exit is clearly visible from the outside andis flanked by two sets of monumental steps, it is thought to have a religious, ceremonial purpose. The rampart of Yerkapı forms the highest and southernmost point in the city's fortifications. Howevwer, as demonstrated by the steps on the outside, the paved rampart was primarily an architectural monument, a manifestation of the city's might. The rampart itself was crowned with the mighty city walls. The highest elevation of the terrain at Yerkapı offers an excellent lookout over the upper city of Hattuşa.

East from Yerkapı, lies Kral Kapı or King's Gate, another gateway that studded the mighty city walls. This gate was named after the relief of a regal-looking warrior carved on the left-hand pillar, representing a Hittite warrior god, probably Sharumma, the son of the weather god Teshub and the sun-goddess Hepat. The relief has been replaced by a plaster copy and the original is kept in Ankara's Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.

Nişantaş or Nişantepe, meaning marked rock, is a rocky outcrop with an 11-line inscription of 8.5 m long, in Luvian hieroglyphics carved into its eastern face. The hieroglyphs are badly weathered and only part of the inscription has been deciphered, suggesting it is a memorial to Suppiluliuma II, the last known king of the Hittites.

Next to the southern citadel of Hattusha lies Chamber 2 or the Hieroglyphic Chamber. When first discovered, it was thought to be a royal tomb. Now it is considered to represent a symbolic entrance to the underworld. The chamber was decorated with reliefs, that have survived in an excellent condition thanks to the blanket of earth that protected them over the millenia. The back wall is decorated with the relief of a Hittite sun god, while one of the sidewalls is inscribed with Luvian hieroglyphics. Luvian hieroglyphs are a picture script developed in Anatolia and completely unrelated to the Egyption hieroglyphs.

More info on Hattusa and a listing of the photo albums on can be found on its main page

Here are the photos of the Upper City of Hattusa, click on the thumbnails to see greater pictures

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