Alacahoyuk is located in the middle of the Republic of Turkey. It is only 3 hours away from popular Cappadocia and capital Ankara. Thanks to the proximity to Hattusa Ancient city, Alacahoyuk can be visited in a day from Ankara to Cappadocia. For those interested in History and Archaeology, we highly recommend you add an extra day to your self-drive Cappadocia tour and explore this impressive city on the way to Cappadocia or Antalya advised in our self-drive Ankara to Antalya tour.
W.G. Hamilton discovered Alacahoyuk in 1835. The first archaeological expeditions in Alacahoyuk started in 1907 during the Ottoman times. The excavations came to a halt due to the First World War. The Republic of Turkey carried on the excavations after 1935 and continued until the 1970s. While almost all of the monumental works belong to the Hittite period, the most important finds of Alacahoyuk are coming from the royal tombs dating back from the 3rd millennium BCE. The bronze sun disks and animal idols are phenomenal. These royal tombs are lying in the middle of the archaeological site stressing its religious importance to the communities lived around the area. Royals buried in these graves were not from Anatolia. They were most probably from southern Russia and spoke an Indo-European language. They may even become the rulers of the people there. This idea is supported by the size of the graves, the figurines and sun disks found inside them. The royals were buried in fetal position facing south. They were richly embellished with gold fibulae, diadems, and belt buckles andrepoussé gold-leaf figures. The most beautiful find of Alacahoyuk to me is the double headed eagle. This mythological creature was a symbol of power to all Anatolian Civilizations such as Hittites, Romans, and Seljuks.
Alacahoyuk was a more important city before Hittite Empire declared Hattusa as its capital. Beautiful stone craftsmanship in Alacahoyukis a proof of the religious importance of the settlement to the Hittites. The city walls covered with orthostats have inner and outer gates with ramps for archers. The monumental entrance to the south, which is protected by two great sphinxes from the Hittite period, is arranged to be between two towers. About 2meters from the ground, the 4 m high monolithic pillars used as door jambs were carved in the form of sphinxes. The tower foundations next to the Sphinx Gateare covered with many orthostats. Reliefs and sphinxes are dating back to the 13th Century BCE. The reliefs in the ancient city are replicas. The original pieces were moved to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. There was a second row of orthostats that were found around the monumental gate ofAlacahoyuk. Their exact locations are not clearly determined yet. The Hittitename of Alacahoyuk in the Hittite period is unclear. The city may have been devoted to the Sun goddess Arinna of Hittites.
Life in Alacahoyuk started even before the Hittite Empire flourished and continued until the present day. The Alaca town surrounding the ancient city shows the importance of the region even today. Wide fertile plains are very convenient for agriculture and livestock. Hittites knew this fact thousands of years ago and built reservoirs and irrigations systems which are still used by the locals of the area today. Don’t miss stopping by one of the Hittite reservoirs built nearby Alacahoyuk by IV Tudhaliya in 1240 BCE.
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