Today, we drove most of the day. We stopped at Hattusas and saw the capital of the Hittite Empire which existed in the second half of the second millennium before B.C., one of the greatest powers of the Ancient Near East, competing for power with the Egyptians in the Levant. We saw a gigantic temple dedicated to Teshub, the Hittite storm god, the remains of the walls with its many gates, and we overlooked the layout of the old city. The base of the walls of the buildings were of cut stone that fit perfectly together, without use of any mortar, on top of which the construction consisted of mudbricks and wood. The views from this site were amazing; you could see the small village at the edge of the old city with the mountains all around.
The Lion Gate
We stopped at a very nice family’s restaurant, where they made us fresh chicken and meatballs on the grill. They also had a small shop, where many of us went shopping for little souvenirs. At the end we all got little pins of the evil eye, which we learned help to ward off the evil spirits.
After lunch, we stopped at the Hittite sanctuary of Yazilikaya, which was dedicated to the divinities of the Hittite Pantheon. These deities carved in the rocks align themselves, in long procession, along the walls.
The last part of the drive was to Cappadocia. On the way to Cappadocia, we saw Argaeus! This is an inactive volcano, that has not erupted for thousands of years, and was covered in snow, which made for beautiful pictures. We then arrived in Ürgüp, Cappadocia, famous for its amazing rock formations and cave dwellings. We begin our tour of Cappadocia tomorrow. Our hotel here is very fancy. It is super nice and it looks like we have a great day in store for tomorrow.