Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. It was found to be located near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızıl River (Hittite: Marashantiya; Greek: Halys). Hattusa was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1986.
The landscape surrounding the city included rich agricultural fields, hill lands for pasture, as well as woods. Smaller woods are still found outside the city but in ancient times they were far more widespread. This meant the inhabitants had an excellent supply for timber when building their houses and other structures. The fields provided the people with a subsistence crop of wheat, barley and lentils. Flax was also harvested, but their primary source for clothing was wool from sheep.
They also hunted deer in the forest, but this was probably only a luxury reserved for the nobility. The source for meat was domesticated animals. There were several other settlements in the vicinity, such as the rock shrine at Yazılıkaya and the town at Alacahöyük. Since the rivers in the area are too small and unsuitable for major ships, all transport to and from Hattusa had to go by land.
Early History Of The City
Before 2000 BC, a settlement of the apparently indigenous Hatti people was established on sites that had been occupied even earlier, and referred to the site as Hattush. The Hattians built their initial settlement on the high ridge of Büyükkale. The earliest traces of settlement on the site are from the sixth millennium BC. In the 19th and 18th centuries BC, merchants from Assur in Assyria established a trading post here, setting up in their own separate quarter of the city. The center of their trade network was located in Kanesh (Neša) (modern Kültepe). Business dealings required record-keeping: the trade network from Assur introduced writing to Hattusa, in the form of cuneiform.
The Hittite Imperial City
Only a generation later, a Hittite-speaking king had chosen the site as his residence and capital. The Hittite language had been gaining speakers at Hattic's expense for some time. The Hattic "Hattus" now became Hittite "Hattusa", and the king took the name of Hattusili I, the "one from Hattusa". Hattusili marked the beginning of a non-Hattic-speaking "Hittite" state, and of a royal line of Hittite Great Kings — 27 of whom are now known by name.
After the Kaskas arrived to the kingdom's north, they twice attacked the city to the point where the kings had to move the royal seat to another city. Under Tudhaliya I, the Hittites moved north to Sapinuwa, returning later. Under Muwatalli II, they moved south to Tarhuntassa but assigned Hattusili III as governor over Hattusa. Mursili III returned the seat to Hattusa, where the kings remained until the end of the Hittite kingdom in the 12th century BC.
Discovery Of The City
Ernest Chantre opened some trial trenches at the village then called Boğazköy, in 1893-94. Since 1906, the German Oriental Society has been excavating at Hattusa (with breaks during the two World Wars and the Depression, 1913–31 and 1940–51). Archaeological work is still carried out by the German Archaeological Institute (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut). Hugo Winckler and Theodor Makridis Bey conducted the first excavations 1906, 1907, and 1911–13, which were resumed in 1931 under Kurt Bittel, followed by Peter Neve (site director 1963, general director 1978–94).
A pair of sphinxes found at the southern gate in Hattusa was taken for restoration to Germany in 1917. The better preserved sphinx was returned to Istanbul in 1924, and was placed on display in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, whereas the other remained in Germany, and had been on display at the Pergamon Museum since 1934.Previously, Turkey had made numerous requests for its return. In 2011, threats by Turkish Ministry of Culture to impose restrictions on German archaeologists working in Turkey finally persuaded Germany to return the sphinx.