Write: Ersin Demirel
Hittite Way, a 385-kilometer cycling and hiking trail, opened in the ruins of the ancient town of Hattusha, which is on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List, awaits its visitors.
In 1274 BC, the Hittites signed the world’s oldest known written peace treaty in the aftermath of battle between Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II and Hittite ruler Muwatalli II, making a permanent mark on this era in antiquity. Today, the city of Hattusha is home to thousands of artifacts, such as its palaces and temples; its archives, which contain thousands of tablets; monumental doors; giant granaries; and the partially erased Nişantepe Inscription, the Hittites’ longest hieroglyphic text. Among the historic areas in Çorum dating back to the Hittites are the Yazılıkaya sanctuary reflecting the splendid visuality of Hittite beliefs; Alacahöyük, renowned for its Portal Sphinx before which there are walls engraved with various descriptions; and the ruins of Shapinuva, where rituals to be cleansed of the evil and dirtiness on the old trade routes were carried out.
A Total of Seventeen Trails
A 2634 square kilometer area in the district of Boğazkale encompassing the ruins of the Hittite capital Hattusha and Alacahöyük, declared a national park in 1988, constitutes the heart of Hittite Way. The Hittite Way Hiking and Cycling Trails, formed on historic routes along the triangle connecting the important Hittite cities of Hattusha, Alacahöyük, and Shapinuva, passes over ancient caravan and migration routes. With seventeen hiking trails, Hittite Way covers a total distance of 385 kilometers. Outlined with red and white lines, yellow and green signs, a detailed map, and GPS coordinates, the Hittite Way trails consist of three sections—short day-trip trails, long camping trails, and cycling routes. The Alacahöyük–Karakaya trail stretching along the banks of the Kızılırmak River is around nine kilometers long. The Alacahöyük–Mahmudiye route presents the opportunity to explore Kalehisar and the Behramşah Mosque Complex, a Seljuk relic. To see the largest Cybele relief, meanwhile, all you must do is go out to İncesu Canyon in the district of Ortaköy. Near the canyon, there is a cave in which there are remains of old settlements. Furthermore, the shores of the Evci, Kızılhamza, Soğucak, Kalecikkaya, Gölpınar, and Boğazkale ponds offer visitors the chance to camp year-round. A habitat for rare creatures, the ponds possess rich potential in terms of plants and bird watching. The ponds also harbor areas ideal for water sports such as canoeing, rowing, and sailing. The Alaca Valley trail near the district of Alaca has also been presented for tourism. It is possible to take exciting—if somewhat damp—hikes along the valley trail connecting the Akçasoku, Kalbikışla, and Pazarlı caves. Passing through the ancient cities of the Hittites, who dazzle the world’s eyes with their splendid history, exhibits the natural and cultural wealths of the Anatolian landscape. Hiking on Hittite Way, which promises relief—however brief—from intense business and urban life, is an activity everyone can do easily, as the relatively low-difficulty routes appeal to participants of all ages. Hiking on Hittite Way, on which you can have full of surprises you will encounter at every step, turns into a close relationship with nature or history in every stage.
MUSTS IN THE REGION
We suggest you see the historic Sungurlu and Çorum Clock Towers, the Alacahöyük and Boğazkale Museums, the district of İskili so famed for its historical houses, and Kargı Plains, which upholds the old architectural texture called “çatkı.”
Do not return without sampling such regional delicacies that reflect the cultural heritage of thousands of years such as roast chickpeas, keshkek, İskilip rice pie, and pole kebab, or without buying artistic gifts based on the manual skills of Ortaköy, Kargı, and Bayat-Eskialibey.
The Twelve Deity Relief found in the Yazılıkaya sanctuary.
The green banks of Evci Pond are connected via small wooden bridges.
The historic Behramşah Mosque Complex is located near Kalehisar.
Yellow signs point out the direction of the trail on Hittite Way.
The Sphinx Portal is one of the most impressive places within the ruins of Alacahöyük.
The ancient water canals in Gerdek Kaya gave life to Hattusha.
A waterfall near the area of Karahacip in Ortakoy district.
A section of Hattusha’s ancient city walls was rebuilt.
With its green shores and still water, Hatap Dam Lake is ideal for canoeing.
A historical Çorum house in the village of Karamahmut in Alaca district.
The flatlands in the vicinity of Külah Village are full of ancient Roman ruins.
The walls of İncesu Canyon lead down to the Yeşilırmak River.
The historical grain silos in Shapinova are impressive in appearance.
The trails of Hittite Way meander amid onion fields.
Enriched bread being baked in the village of Emirler, near Boğazkale.