Ancient Hittite capital Çorum hopes for half a million tourists
The Central Anatolian province of Çorum, which is home to the Hittite capital Hattusha and the ancient site of Alacahöyük, Turkey’s first national excavation field, expects to host half a million tourists a year after work carried out by the Culture and Tourism Ministry and the Çorum Governor’s Office is completed.
One of Turkey’s significant tourism centers with cultural and historical beauties, Çorum was the settlement of two ancient Anatolian civilizations: The Hittites and Hattis.
Hattusha has been declared a Historical National Park in the Boğazkale district, and since Nov. 28, 1986 it has been a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
“The best-preserved ruin of a Hittite Temple from the 13th century B.C., known as Great Temple, is located in the Lower City. Other temples of similar date and shape are situated in the Upper City. The remains of a densely inhabited city district were unearthed in the Lower City, where their foundations and arrangement can still be seen in the area north from Great Temple,” according to the UNESCO website.
The open-air temple Yazılıkaya lies two kilometers northeast of the capital. The walls of the rock chambers are covered with the richest and most striking samples of Hittite relief art, featuring gods and goddesses.
The ancient city area was declared a 1st and 2nd degree archaeological site, while Kayalıboğaz and Yazılıkaya were declared as 1st degree archaeological sites.
The oldest known cuneiform tablets, representing the Indo-European languages, were also included in the UNESCO list in 2001.
The city is also known as the capital where the Kadesh Treaty was signed in 1280 between the Hittites and Egyptians.
Another notable Hittite center in Çorum is Alacahöyük, which is visited by the highest number of tourists in the city.
It is also possible to see the Boğazköy Sphynx, which was taken to Germany for restoration works and returned to Turkey after 94 years, in the Boğazköy Museum.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Çorum Governor Necmeddin Kılıç said the Anatolian geography is the cradle of civilizations and Çorum began to host various civilizations since 3,000 B.C.
The land of the Hittites and Hattis were within the borders of today’s Çorum, said Kılıç.
“Çorum was the capital of a country where the Hittites and Hattis established the first known organized country of law. Archaeological excavations continue in Alacahöyük, Hattusha and Sapinuva with the contributions of the governor’s office,” he added.
Kılıç said their goal is to bring 500,000 tourists to Çorum a year.
“The infrastructure work has been continuing and we also promote the city. I hope we will reach this goal next year and Çorum can get its share from the tourism cake,” he added.
Due to the 60th year of the establishment of relations between Turkey and the Korean Republic, 2017 was declared the Year of Turkey-Korea and together they worked to bring tourists from Korea to Çorum, Kılıç also noted.