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      March 2012 > What the Hittites did for us

What the Hittites did for us

Middle EarthThere was a fascinating documentary on TV last night about how the little-known Hittite civilisation came to dominate what is now Turkey, parts of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Lebanon in the 14th century BC.  They were powerful enough to form alliances and treaties with Egypt and yet had disappeared virtually without trace by the 7th century BC…

It brought back memories of the trip I made to explore The Two faces of Cappadocia with a colleague, Rob, a couple of years ago. (Cappadocia was close to the centre of power in the great Hittite kingdom). We were hosted by the wonderful Middle Earth team based in Göreme. One of our guides was a colourful chap called Korai (pictured here on the right) who took us on several walks, during which he was a mine of information on Hittites in the region. We found out later he had a PhD in Hittite history.

Ihlara Gorge CappadociaThe TV programme ("Lost Cities of the Ancients - The Dark Lords of Hattusha") explored the remains of the immense hill-top city of Hattusha, first discovered (or rediscovered) in 1906 by archaeologist Hugo Winckler. Among the ruins was a remarkable find - a royal archive containing 10,000 tablets, inscribed in an unknown cuneiform Akkadian language which took years to decode. (Watch it here on BBC i-player.)

What stuck in my mind from our trip was that Korai soon made it clear that, in his expert opinion,  anything ‘good’ in Turkey was due solely to the influence of the Hittites – architecture, food, customs, heritage, language – “All Hittite”. It reminded me of the Indian father figure on BBC Asian Sitcom “Goodness Gracious Me!” for whom everything good in Britain had come from India!

By the end of our stay, we were well versed in ‘what the Hittites had done for us’ as we sat in a Hittite bar eating a Hittite kebab and enjoying a refreshing Hittite beer.
Thanks, Korai - you really made it a trip to remember!


Posted: 30/03/2012 15:50:40 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: heritage, media, Turkey

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