Thursday, October 14, 2010

Into Hittite Country: Yazilikaya

We drove east, out of Ankara's rugged landscape and onto the high plains, some rolling, some flatter than Kansas, with much agriculture, mostly corn and grains, and then, after Kirikkale, beets, huge fields of beets, now in harvest, just like in eastern Montana, being trucked off to the refineries. Before Bogazkale, we crossed a pass well over 5,000 feet, back into more mountainous, rugged country, where the Hittites made their capital. The Hittites were an "Indo-European" people who migrated into Anatolia around 2000 BCE and gradually took over everything from Europe to Babylon (which they conquered) to Egypt (with whom they did the Kadesh treaty). Their realm lasted until the 1200s, BCE, when for reasons not well understood, it collapsed. Probably the invasions of the "Sea Peoples," of whom we'll hear more later. Until 19th century archaeology got underway, little was known of them apart from the Bible. Anyhow, the Hittite capital was at Hattusa, and an apparently religious rock sanctuary is a few miles away at Yazilikaya.
Yazilikaya entrance

The Hittites mostly did great reliefs

Offerings to gods


Soldiers, armies; obviously they were pretty formidable,
having bested both Babylon and Egypt

Making nice with the gods

All this is hewn in clefts in the rocks; there's
Vicki in one of the passage-ways

Foundations of a temple adjoining the site

Over-night parking is often an adventure; the Hittite sites
are national monuments, carefully locked-up at 5PM; it's a
long story, but this night, after a close encounter with
rug merchants, we parked (at their invitation) outside their
alleged rug "co-op"

There we are; at least, apart from the free over-night
parking, we are getting more practiced in dealing with this

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