The reliefs found at the Hittite sanctuary of Yazilikaya are by far the most interesting sculptures to come out of this civilization both from an artistic and a religious point of view. This rock shrine Is in an excellent natural setting where once a stream ran through the small vailey. The sanctuary is a short distance from the site of the capital, Hattusas, two kilometers to the northeast.
Most of the reliefs at the sanctuary were done during the reign of King Tudhollya IV who ruled the empire from 1220 to the start of its decline in 1190 B.C. He was the last of the great Hittite kings who made an attempt at strengthening Hittite control In Western Anatolia by warring with the local nobles. The sanctuary was actually started during the reign of King Hattushili Id, who ruled from Hattusas between the years 1275 to 1250 B.C. Temple buildings that were built at the entrance to the open-air sanctuary were done at three different periods. A mortuary temple found inside the small gallery was reserved for royalty and was built by Tudhaliya. The first building, the monumental gate-building was erected by Hattushili 111 as was the main building of the temple found beside the gate, The third building in the line that enters into the small gallery is thought to have been erected by Tudhaiiya IV. During the earliest building phase of the sanctuary, on enclosing wall separated the shrine from the outside. The second period saw the addition of a temple to serve as the monumental gateway to the area. A gateway to the small gallery was also erected during this phase. In the last period of building at Yazilikaya, a wing was added to the eastern side of the main structure. The temple that was built during the second period, much like the ones at the capital city, was made up of rooms surrounding a central courtyard and a columned hail that led Into the cuit-statue room.
Galleries And Reliefs : The rock-cut sanctuary consists of two galleries, referred to as the large and srnall galleries. The reliefs found In the large gallery consist of sixty-four figures, representing slxty-three separate deities of the Hittite pantheon…>>