The Hittites, one of the great Bronze Age civilizations of the Mideast, are less well known than other great ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Sumarians, Persians and Egyptians but no less deserving of our attention. For a long time, the Hittites were only known to historians as an obscure tribe mentioned in the Bible. In 1834, when archeologist Charles Texier stumbled upon the ruins of Hattusha (modern-day Boghazkoy/Bogazköy), his discovery went unrecognized. The Hittites were an Anatolian people who established an empire at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1750 BC. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under Suppiluliuma I, when it encompassed an area that included most of Asia Minor as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia. After about 1180 BC, the empire came to an end during the Bronze Age collapse. The two main periods of Hittite history are customarily referred to as the Old Kingdom (1700-1500 BC) and the New Kingdom, or Empire (1400-1180 BC). The less well-documented interlude of about a hundred years is sometimes referred to as the Middle Kingdom. The early Hittites, whose prior whereabouts are thought to be in the southern Ukraine, borrowed heavily from the pre-existing Anatoloian Hattian and Hurrian cultures, and also from that of the Assyrian colonisers—in particular, the cuneiform writing and the use of cylindrical seals. The Boğazköy Museum is located 82 km southwest from Corum, in the district of Bogazkale. The museum, displaying excavation finds from the Hittite capital of Hattusha, opened on September 12 1966 and was completely refurnished in 2011.
Yazilikaya (written rock) is the largest known Hittite rock sanctuary. It may have served as a place for the celebration of the arrival of the New Year each spring. The main part of the Sanctuary is formed by the roofless, court-like, Chamber A (to the right) that was separated from the outside by a substantial building. The sides of the chamber bear representations of the gods of the Hurrian Pantheon in high relief. The deities are aligned in two rows, perhaps in procession, with females on the right side and males (with two exceptions) on the left. The name of each deity is given in Luwian hieroglyphs above its projecting hand. These two rows are directed towards the main scene on the back wall where the Storm God, Tesup, and the Sun Goddess, Hepat meet. The largest relief in the chamber, however, is on the wall opposite the main scene and depicts Tudhaliya IV, Great King of Hattusa. It was during his reign, in the late 13th century BC, that the complex was given its present form. Yazilikaya is an open air, natural rock shrine at a place where a spring of fresh water once flowed. The site has characteristics similar to other Anatolian spring-sanctuaries, and may well have been a place of worship for hundreds or thousands of years before the rise of Hittite power.