Local man engraves Hittite figures to stones
A man, living in the Central Anatolian province of Çorum, has been engraving symbols and figures unique to the Hittites on stones, with the help of knives and saws he collects from the ancient city of Hattusha.
Mustafa Atila had the opportunity to get to know the region, packed with ancient ruins, during his childhood while taking food to his father- who was a watchman for the ancient city.
“When I saw the reliefs Hittites engraved to rocks, I said ‘I can engrave these to stones,” Atila said, adding that he started pursuing his art 20 years ago.
“I was not trained for this, but I believe that I exhibit better craftsmanship than the originals,” he said.
Atila also said he has been earning a livelihood from selling the engraved stones to local and foreign tourists.
Çorum and its vicinity was the homeland of the Hittites around 3,000 B.C, It then became the center of the civilization around 2,000 B.C.
“I mostly engrave the Hittite lion, the god of storm Teşup, the sun goddess Arinna and the royal family on the stones,” he said.
“It takes one or one-and-a-half-day to shape and engrave a small stone. Prices vary according to the craftsmanship and the size of the stone,” he added.
Noting that the Hittites accepted the green stone as sacred, the artist said that visitors were also interested in green stones.
“Hittites believed that the green stone in the Great Temple, which is said to come from Egypt as a gift, was a holy stone. I use stones similar to him,” Atila said.
Over 25,000 foreign tourists have come to Çorum to see the unique historical sites last year. But this year, the number of foreign tourists fell to 2,000 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Hattusha was included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1986 due to the perfect protection of some structures and architectural communities in its ruins. After that, its cuneiform tablet archives representing the oldest known Indo-European language were also inscribed to the Memory of the World list in 2001.
In the region, the Hittite Dam, one of the first known dams in Anatolia, king and prince tombs, the Lion Gate
sphinx and the archaeological excavation site, which is normally open to visitors, are experiencing the most silent days in their history.
It has a rich history with its six-kilometer walls surrounding the ancient city, its monumental gates, the 71-meter-long underground passage, the palace in Büyükkale, 31 temples unearthed so far, the Lion Gate, the King Gate and the Yazılıkaya Open Air Temple.