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Photo albums of Yazılıkaya and Alacahoyuk: Sphinx Gate at Alacahöyük

Apart from the main archeological site of Hattusa near the village of Boğazkale, there are also the sanctuary at Yazılıkaya and, at about 36 km of Boğazkale, the findings of Alacahöyük.

The rock sanctuary of Yazılıkaya, meaning Inscribed Rock, is located at about 1.5 km to the northeast of the Great Temple of Hattusa's Lower City. As a natural sanctuary cosnsisting of two chambers in the rock, Yazılıkaya had been a Hittite place of worship for a very long time. In later Hittite times (13th century BC), a temple structure and monumental gateway were put in front of the two chambers. The sanctuary apparently represents the House of the New Year's Celebration, a house of the Weather God Teshub where festivities were held to honor the Hittite pantheon of gods at the coming of the New Year in the beginning of spring.

The largest of the two chambers, Chamber A, is about 30 m long and has its side walls decorated with, unfortunately badly weathered, reliefs showing the pantheon of Hurrian (Hittitie) gods. On the left side there are the male deities and on the right the female. At the end of the chamber there is a climactic scene which protrays the meeting between the male weather god Teshub and the sun godess Hebat. On the wall opposite to this climactic scene is a well reserved relief showing the Great King Tudhaliya IV paying his respect to the deities.

The second chamber, Chamber B, is about 18 m long. The reliefs in this chamber are much better preserved because it was parly filled with earch until the mid of the 19th century. It is thought that this chamber was erected by Shupiluliuma II as a memorial to his father the Great King Tudhaliya IV. On the wall right of the entrance to this chamber there is a carving depicting a procession of 12 gods of the underworld, while on the opposiite wall there are two separate reliefs. One relief shows the Hittite god Sharrumma striding forward with the Great King Tudhaliya IV under his arm. Another relief on this wall depicts the Hittite sword god Nerghal with the handle of the sword replaced by lion heads.

Alacahöyük at about 36 km from Boğazkale is another important Hittite site worth visiting. A höyük (tell [Arabic] or tepi [Persian]) is an artificial mound, or hill created by human habitation. The hill at Alacahöyük was first described by W.C. Hamilton in 1835. The first systematic excavations at the mound were started in 1935. Alacahöyük was an important centre as far back as the Chalcolithic Age, that is, from the 4th millennium on. The Hittite era, too, witnessed glorious times in Alacahöyük. The remains, the most impressive of which are the sphinxes guarding the gate, belong to the Hittite Empire period (1450-1180 B. C.).Either site of the gate is decorated with reliefs (copies as the originals are kept in Ankara) depicting religious ceremonies. Many of the finds of Alacahöyük can be seen in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.

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

Here are the photos of Yazılıkaya and Alacahöyük, click on the thumbnails to see greater pictures

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