Kayseri - Historical Ruins

Kültepe Ruins

Located at the 20km of Kayseri-Sıvas highway and 2 km to the north of the road, it consists of a 22 m high mound with a diametre of 50 metres and the lower city called "Karum" which circles it.

It is being excavated systematically since 1948 by a team led by Prof. Dr. Tahsin Özgüç. Tumulus has revealed that the oldest settlement in the area was from the Late Chalcolithic Age (300 - 2500 B.C) which was followed by Old Bronze, Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic and Roman Ages.

Karum area surrounds the eastern and sotheastern fringes of the tumulus. It was settled by the Assyraian merchants during 1950 -1650 B.C who came to Anatolia for trading. Sections from large pubic and religious buildings, houses, shops and workshops revealed at the tumulus and the karum are displayed as an open air museum.

Soğanlı Site

It is located in the Soğanlı village which is 15 km away from Yeşilhisar District on Kayseri - Adana highway.
It is a settlement where natural formations similar to those seen at Ürgüp, Göreme, Ihlara and Zelve valleys and rock graves and caves are fully integrated with the current village houses.

It was one of the centres of Christianity in Cappadocia since the 4th century and sustained its importance in the 7th and 8th centuries.
The existence of nearly fifty rock churches is known, but only Balıklı, Gök, Tokalı, Karabaş, Yılanlı, Kubbeli, Geyikli and St. Barbe churches can be visited. In all these churches there are frescoes of Jesus Christ and his apostles as their theme.

Among the Churches - chapels and monasteries built between 8th and 13th centuries, those with the most interesting plans and appearances were those built at Soğanlı. The ancient folk of Soğanlı lived in houses and shelters which were carved into the rocks.
Today there are thousands of rock-cuts of a religious nature and civic rock settlements in Cappadocia. About 600 of these rock-cuts are in the villages of Soğanlı and Erdemli.

Soğanlı is at a distance of 80 km to Kayseri, 70 km to Göreme and Ürgüp and 35 km to the underground cities of Derinkuyu and Doğanli.

Soğanlı experienced cave-ins during earthquakes and the caved in areas were further sunk by flood waters producing deep valleys with steep precipices.
The most interesting natural sight appearing as a result of the earthquakes and erosion are the table -shaped mountains. Table shaped hills and domed rock churches are local cultural and natural assets which cannot be encountered anywhere else in Cappodocia and in any other region of the world.
At the rock churches of Soğanlı there are multi-coloured wall paintings and frescoes. Furthermore inside these churches and in some rockcuts there are monochrome geometrical motifs and crosses from the Iconoclassic period when religious pictures were forbidden.

The themes of the frescoes are from the Bible. There are frescoes depicting the birth of Christ, his baptism, trial, miracles, crucification, those showing the incidents Virgin Mary encountered, her horse-back trip to Jerusalem and those which are about the saints.
Among the Soğanlı churches the most popular and the most visited are Tokalı, Gök, Karabaş, Canavar, Meryem Ana, St. Barbe churches and the church with the deer (Geyikli)

Kültepe-Kaniş-Karum Historical Site

Kültepe, or Kaniş as it was formerly known, which represents the origin of the material at the Kayseri Museum is 21 km northeast of Kayseri on the old Kayseri - Sivas and Kayseri - Malatya main highway. Kültepe consists of the mound where the native folk were settled and the lower city or the Karum area where the Assyrian traders were settled. The mound has a diametre of 500 metres and it rises 20 m. above the ground level of the plain. The mound is surrounded on four sides by the lower city / karum. Karum looks to be of the same level as the plain in its three sides but is about 1.5 - 2.5 higher in the east. Karum, with its diametre of nearly 2 kilometres, the mound and the citadel at its centre are all surrounded by strong walls.

Kültepe caught the attention of the researchers after 1981. Until that time there was a fast flow of hieroglyph inscripted tablets towards the museums. E. Chantre in 1893 and 1894, H. Wickler H. Grothe in 1906 carried out excavations but failed to locate the source of the tablets. B.Brozny in 1925 by pure luck discovered the location from which the tablets were beeing recovered and thus found the Centre / Karum of the Assyrian Trading Colonies.
Systematic excavations which were started in 1948 at the Mound and the Karum on behalf of the Turkish History Association and the General Directorate of Historical Works and Museums have been continued since then.

At the Karum Kaniş, the well known trading centre of the ancient world, there are four building layers (I-IV), last one having two stages (Ia-b). During this period of international trade relations of four thousand years ago, which was established in Anatolia by the Northern Mezopotomian / Assyrian traders and lasted more or less for a hundred and fifty years, Anatolia gained acces to the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia, learned how to write from them and raised its cultural level. The hieroglyph inscription tablets in the Assyrian language discovered in layers II and I give detailed information about the trade between the Assyrians and Anatolia and also provide lively informaton about borrowing and lending transactions, interest rates, marriages and divorces, inheritance, slave trading, court decisions and correspondence with the local lords. Among these, but fewer in number texts of literature and texts of school work can be found. These are the documents which enabled Anatolia to grasp the light of history and they are the oldest written documents of this land. The Anatolian history strated here and this is the most important characteristic of Kaniş. Kültepe / Kaniş was the capital of this trading system in Anatolia. It is also the centre of the kingdom of Kanish. Layers I and II are the richest and the most important layers in terms of archaeology, philology and city planning. The large neigbourhoods of these two cites which are separated by stone paved streets are now reveiled with their total plans. The representatives of these two countries of the ancient world, speaking different languages had managed to coexist in these cities. Their houses with their plans intact, their archives, workshops, depots and shops are discovered. In most of the fully equiped two storey houses living rooms, archives, pantry / storage areas were separated. Both cities were destroyed with fires. After these disasters the people were merely able to save their lives and abondened all their fire-resistant goods to us and to our times. Hittite culture and art is an art which was jelled from the intermixing of the Assyrians representing the ancient Babylion art, with the locals. The number of stamp seals, female and male goddess and god statuettes made from zinc, bronze, ivory and silver in the Hittite style of the later ages are too numerous to be ignored and prove that The Hittite art style had developed before the establishment of the ancient Hittite kingdom (1650). Most of these objects were poured into moulds which were discovered at the workshops. Among them tile statuettes imported from northern Syria can be seen besides the statuettes reflecting the influence of ancient Babylon. This is a characteristic which would naturally be expected from an international commercial centre.

Hittite ceramic art reached its peak in terms of technique and form at Kültepe. Some of the seramic objects are not suitable for everyday use and were probably used during ceremonies and on special days.

The craftsmen of Kültepe were masters of making earthenware animal shaped rythons (drinking cups). Besides these rythons which were given standing, lying, kneeling positions, there are also other shaped like animal heads. These sacred animals of the gods are the copies of those made from precious metals. The most common rythons discovered, were the ones in the shape of bull, lion, antilope and eagel.

Thousands of stamp sealed envelopes made from baked earth were found for inserting the tablets. Stamps and selas differ in style, reflecting the social structure. In both layers it is possible to follow the development of the styles and to put them in a chronological order.
Most of the cylindrical seals are at the second layer. The close relations established with Mesapotamia at that age has increased cylindrical seal use in Anatolia. The seals of this age are divided into the styles of 1.Old Babylion, 2.Old Assyrian, 3.Old Syrian, 4. Old Anatolia. The majority of the cylindrical seal imprints found at layer II are in the Old Assyrian style.

The Old Anatolian style reached maturity after the settlement of the Mesapotamian way of thinking in Anatolia. The first 25 yars of the 80 year life span of layer II should be set aside for this transition. This style which forms the basic source of the Hittite art consists of religious, battle and hunting scenes. In mythological scenes the Mesapotomian and Anatolian features are seen side by side.

The changes seen in the hieroglyph tablets in layer I can also be observed in the seals. The styles of this age are different than those at layer II. Furthermore, the tablets were also started to be sealed.

The seals which were incorporated into the Anatolian style are divided into two styles: 1. those loyal to the layer II tradition and 2- Old Hittite seals. The subjects of old Hittite seals which are in the shape of stamps are religious scenes, mixed creatures, heraldic eagles, animals and astral symbols. At that period, the commercial ties with Assyria were extremely weak, local characteristics were becoming more prominent and the new kings had become stronger. Anatolia was obviously on its way towards unification.

Layer II is dated to 1920 - 1840 BC and layer I to 1798- 1740. There is a gap of 50-60 years between layers II and I. It is seen that Kültepe Mound preserved its importance as a city of Roman- Hellenistic and Greco-Persian Ages and particularly as a city of the Tabal country during the Late-Hittite period. The palace of the Kanish King Varshama was discovered in the citadel. Despite the fact that a major part of the palace was destroyed, 50 rooms of the ground floor and part of the archive documents were revealed. The palace is a contemporary of layer. It was built on the ruins of the palace underneath it in layer II. and along the lines of the Old- Babylonian fashion.

At the hill, the late and middle stages of the Old Bronze Age which were underneath this layer were studied over a large area. This age of Kültepe coincides with the Sumerian, Acad, and Post- Acad periods. The typical ceramics and gold jewellery of the region were imported from Northern Syria and Mesopotomia and the cylindrical seals were imported from the Post-Acad. These all prove that Anatolia - Mesopotomia relations had started long before the Age of Assyrian Trading Colonies.