The history of Turkey tells of a 10,000 year-old
civilization. Anatolia is a melting pot where
cultures from Sumer, Babylon and Assyria interacted
for centuries with peoples such as the Hattis,
Hittites, Hourrites. The result was a unique Anatolian
civilization which has long inspired the thoughts
and legends of the West. The Ancient Bronze Age
witnessed the establishment of the first independent
city states. At that time, the center and southeast
of Anatolia were inhabited by the indigenous Hattis.
The most spectacular finding from this time are
those of Alaca Höyük in the Kizilirmak region
and of Horoztepe near Tokat, in the Black Sea
region. They are contemporary with the royal tombs
of Mycenae in Greece.
THE LEGENDARY TROY
Troy was founded 3000 BC, and played a major
role in the importation of tin, vital for the
production of bronze.
THE HITTITES ARRIVE
The Hittites arrived in Anatolia towards the
second millenium BC. They absorbed much of the
Babylonian civilization and long enjoyed a monopoly
of iron Asia. This, combined with the use of the
chariot, gave the Hittites a military superiority
over Egypt and other Mesopotamian states. The
victorious raid against Babylon in 1590 BC was
the climax of the first Hittite empire, followed
by a period of decline. Then, in the first half
of the fourteenth century, came a revival of power.
This second era saw a Hittite hegemony stretching
from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Persian
The Mitanni kingdom was a contemporary and the
enemy of the Hittites. It was founded by the Hourrites,
a people originally from the South Caspian Sea.
The Hourrites exercised considerable influence
over the religion of the Hittites, and spread
the use of two-wheel chariots and the breeding
of horses throughout the near-East.
THE URARTIAN STATE
At the beginning of the first millenium BC, the
Urartus created a unified state whose territory
extended from the Caucasus to lake Urmiya, with
its capital in the present city of Van. The Urartus
were masters in hydraulic works and skilled in
irrigation, drainage and the construction of canals
and artificial lakes. They were also known for
their horse breeding and formidable cavalry.