Not to be confused with Karatepe, Termez, Uzbekistan, where a Buddhist mural from 3rd century was found, nor Kara Tepe Refugee Camp in Greece.

Karatepe (Turkish for "Black Hill"; Hittite: Azatiwataya) is a late Hittite fortress and open-air museum in Osmaniye Province in southern Turkey lying at a distance of about 23 km from the district center of Kadirli. It is sited in the Taurus Mountains, on the right bank of the Ceyhan River. The site is contained within Karatepe-Aslantaş National Park.

Karatepe Stadtmauer
Karatepe is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
LocationOsmaniye Province, Turkey
Coordinates37°17′45″N 36°15′14″E / 37.29572521°N 36.25394787°ECoordinates: 37°17′45″N 36°15′14″E / 37.29572521°N 36.25394787°E
Site notes
ConditionIn ruins


The place was an ancient city of Cilicia, which controlled a passage from eastern Anatolia to the north Syrian plain. It became an important Neo-Hittite center after the collapse of the Hittite Empire in the late 12th century BC. Relics found here include vast historic tablets, statues and ruins, even two monumental gates with reliefs on the sills depicting hunting and warring and a boat with oars; pillars of lions and sphinxes flank the gates.

Karatepe inscription


The site's eighth-century BC bilingual inscription, in Phoenician and Hieroglyphic Luwian, reflects the activities of the kings of Adana from the "house of Mopsos", given in Hieroglyphic Luwian as mu-ka-sa- (often rendered as 'Moxos') and in Phoenician as Mopsos in the form mpš. It was composed in Phoenician and then translated to Hieroglyphic Luwian.[1] This inscription has served archaeologists as a Rosetta stone for deciphering those glyphs. [2][3][4]

As we learn from the inscription, its author is Azatiwada (or Azatiwata), the ruler of the town. He was also its founder; the inscription commemorates the town's foundation. He acknowledged himself as a subordinate of Awariku, the king of Adanawa (Adana), which was the ancient kingdom of Quwe. Azatiwataya seems to have been one of the frontier towns of Adanawa.[5][6]

Another inscription of the same type, the Cinekoy inscription, was discovered more recently. It also mentions king Awariku, who may have been the same ruler, or part of the same dynasty.

Troy theory

According to a 2010 ZDF documentary featuring the writer and translator Raoul Schrott, the fortress and surrounding landscape at Karatepe significantly match Homer's descriptions of Troy in the Iliad. According to this theory, Homer may have used his knowledge of the legend of Troy and combined it into historical fiction, using his own experiences and access to writings as a scribe in the service of the Assyrians in Karatepe.[7]


After the site was discovered in 1946, Karatepe was excavated from 1947 to 1957 by a team led by Helmuth Theodor Bossert (1889–1961), revealing the ruins of the walled city of king Azatiwataš. [8][9] Restoration work was then carried on for many years, which included some further soundings. In the late 1990s, archaeological work, now led by Halet Çambel (1916–2014), was conducted on a palace at the site. [10]

Estimates for the dating of Azatiwataš rule have ranged from the early 8th century BC to the early 7th century BC. [4][11][12]

The artifacts are exhibited today in the Karatepe-Aslantaş Open-Air Museum, which is part of the Karatepe-Aslantaş National Park.[13]


In the 2004 exploration of Mars, "Karatepe" was the name given to a site designated for entering the Endurance crater to investigate the layering of the bedrock.


  1. ^ Ilya Yakubovich (2015). "Phoenician and Luwian in Early Iron Age Cilicia". Anatolian Studies. 65: 35–53. doi:10.1017/s0066154615000010.
  2. ^ Cyrus H. Gordon, Azitawadd's Phoenician Inscription, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 108–115, 1949
  3. ^ R. D. Barnett, Karatepe, the Key to the Hittite Hieroglyphs, Anatolian Studies, vol. 3, pp. 53–95, 1953
  4. ^ a b J. D. Hawkins and A. Morpurgo Davies, On the Problems of Karatepe: The Hieroglyphic Text, Anatolian Studies, vol. 28, pp. 103–119, 1978
  5. ^ Yakubovich, 50
  6. ^ Trevor Bryce, The World of The Neo-Hittite Kingdoms: A Political and Military History. Oxford University Press, 2012 ISBN 0199218722
  7. ^ http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/#/beitrag/video/951028/Der-Fall-Troia/ Archived 2010-11-24 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Halet Çambel, Karatepe: An Archeological Introduction to a Recently Discovered Hittite Site in Southern Anatolia, Oriens, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 147–162, 1948
  9. ^ Helmuth Theodor Bossert, Karatepe kazilari (birinci ön-rapor) Die Ausgrabungen auf dem Karatepe (erster Vorbericht), Türk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 1950
  10. ^ Halet Çambel and Asli Özyar, Karatepe-Aslantas, azatiwataya, die bildwerke, Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 2003, ISBN 3-8053-3085-5
  11. ^ Irene J. Winter, On the Problems of Karatepe: The Reliefs and Their Context, Anatolian Studies, vol. 29, pp. 115–151, 1979
  12. ^ David Ussishkin, The Date of the Neo-Hittite Enclosure in Karatepe, Anatolian Studies, vol. 19, pp. 121–137, 1969
  13. ^ "Karatepe-Aslantaş Milli Parkı". Doğa Koruma ve Milli Parklar genel Müdürlüğü. Retrieved 2016-04-26.

Further reading

  • Halet Cambel, Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, Vol. 2: Karatepe-Aslantas (Undersuchungen Zur Indogermanischen Sprachund Kulturwissenschaft, Vol 6), Walter de Gruyter, 1998 3-11-014870-6
  • Cyrus H. Gordon, Phoenician Inscriptions from Karatepe, The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 41–50, 1948
  • Julian. Obermann, New Discoveries at Karatepe. A Complete Text of the Phoenician Royal Inscription from Cilicia, Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, vol. 38, 1948
  • Benno Landsberger, Sam'al, Studien zur Entdeckung der Ruinenstaette Karatepe, Druckerei der Türkischen Historischen Gesellschaft, 1948

External links

See also

Aslantaş Dam

Aslantaş Dam (Turkish: Aslantaş Barajı) is an embankment dam on Ceyhan River in Osmaniye Province, southern Turkey, built between 1975 and 1984.

Aslantaş Dam is situated 80 km (50 mi) northeast of Adana. Built for irrigation, flood control and electricity generation purposes by the State Hydraulic Works (DSI), the dam is 95 m (312 ft) high and has a volume of 8.493 hm3 (11,108,425 cu yd) filled with rock. The dam creates a 49 km2 (19 sq mi) wide lake with 1,150 hm3 (4.1×1010 cu ft) capacity at normal water level. It irrigates an area of 149,849 ha (370,280 acres). It also supports a 138 MW power station, which generates 569 GWh electricity annually. According to some sources, the construction of the Aslantaş Dam resulted in involuntary resettlement of 60,000 people.

Partly on the western and eastern banks of the dam reservoir, the Karatepe-Aslantaş National Park is located. On a peninsula at the west bank, the hill Karatepe is situated inside the national park. Overlooking the dam reservoir, a walled settlement of the Neo-Hittites was discovered on Karatepe dating back to the 8th century BC. Following archaeological excavations between 1946 and 1952, the site was preserved as the Karatepe-Aslantaş Open-Air Museum in 1958. The Kumkale on Domuztepe, another settlement of the Neo-Hittites and a fortification built by the Crusaders , which is located about 2 km (1.2 mi) north of this site, was flooded by the dam reservoir.

Babadağ (mountain)

Babadağ (ancient Mount Anticragus, Ancient Greek: Ἀντίκραγος) is a mountain near Fethiye, in Muğla Province, southwest Turkey.The mountain has a principal summit at an elevation of 1,969 metres (6,460 ft) and a second one called "Karatepe" at an elevation of 1,400 metres (4,593 ft). These two summits face each other and are separated by a flood valley, which led to the term "mountain range" to be used in some sources in association with Babadağ. The mass is composed mainly of limestone. It is noted for its rich flora, including the endemic Acer undulatum, and forests of Cedrus libani.

It is also notable for the proximity of its summit to the sea (less than 5 km) which is one of the factors that make it particularly suitable and popular for paragliding.

Bahadır Alkım

Uluğ Bahadır Alkım (February 28, 1915 – May 6, 1981) was a Turkish archaeologist.

Uluğ Bahadır Alkım was born in İzmir, then Ottoman Empire on February 28, 1915. After his high school education, he entered the Faculty of Letters at Istanbul University in 1935 studying Assyriology, Hittitology, Archaeology and Ancient history. He graduated in 1939, and in 1941 he became a scientific assistant at the same faculty. Alkın obtained a PhD degree in 1944. In 1945, he became a lecturer, and in 1960, he was appointed professor serving at this post until his death. Between 1962 and 1975, he lectured at Robert College, where he acted as the Turkish director in the 1963–64 term. He founded the Institute of Archaeometry at the same institution, which is now the Boğaziçi University. He served at several European universities as visiting scholar.Alkım took part at archaeological excavations in Vize (1942), Alaca Höyük (1942), and with Leonard Woolley in Alalakh (1947). In 1947, he was elected member of the Turkish Historical Society (Turkish: Türk Tarih kurumu), which sponsored all his later archaeological excavations.He participated at Karatepe excavation in southern Turkey with Helmuth Theodor Bossert (1889–1961) and Halet Çambel (1916–2014) in 1947. The discovery of Karatepe Bilingual decisively led to the decryption of Hieroglyphic Luwian with the help of Phoenician alphabet.

In 1949, he carried out research work at Domuztepe across Karatepe. His expeditions between 1947 and 1957 in the area of Anti-Taurus Mountains and Amanos Mountains led him the discovery of an ancient trail network. From 1957 until 1961, Alkım excavated at the Yesemek Quarry and Sculpture Workshop in Gaziantep Province, which was discovered by Felix von Luschan (1854–1924). He took part also at the excavation in Amik Valley, Cilicia.His excavation between 1958 and 1972 at Tilmen Höyük unearthed four overlaid settlements dating back from the Late Chalcolithic period to the Islamic epoch, including a 19th-century BC old city and a palace building of the Yamhad Kingdom. He began in 1964 to work at Gedikli Karahöyük excavation, which lasted until 1967. There, a necropolis was revealed featuring unusual burial forms of ancient Asia Minor.Alkım localized more than fifty settlements at his surface surveys he carried out in the Black Sea Region in the years from 1971 to 1973. His last excavation was at İkiztepe near Bafra, Samsun Province, he began in 1974, and lasted until his death. At İkiztepe, finds and artifacts dating back to the Early Bronze Age and the Early Hittite Period were retrieved.Bahadır Alkım died at age 66 in Istanbul on May 6, 1981. He was married to Handan Alkım, who worked with him at several excavations.

Endurance (crater)

Endurance is an impact crater lying situated within the Margaritifer Sinus quadrangle (MC-19) region of the planet Mars. This crater was visited by the Opportunity rover from May until December 2004. Mission scientists named the crater after the ship Endurance that sailed to the Antarctic through the Weddell Sea during the ill-fated 1914-1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, considered to be the last expedition of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration organized by Ernest Shackleton.

The rover entered the crater interior on its 134th mission sol (June 15), and exited on the 315th sol (December 14). During this time it traversed various obstacles, steep inclines, and overcame large wheel slippage when driving over fine sand.

Halet Çambel

Halet Çambel (27 August 1916 – 12 January 2014) was a Turkish archaeologist and Olympic fencer. She was the first Muslim woman to compete in the Olympic Games.

Helmuth Theodor Bossert

Helmuth Theodor Bossert (September 11, 1889 – February 5, 1961) was a German art historian, philologist and archaeologist. He is best-known for his excavations of the Hittite fortress city at Karatepe, Turkey, and the discovery of bilingual inscriptions, which enabled the translation of Hittite hieroglyphs.

Ilieon Kome

Ilieon Kome was a town in ancient Troad, on Kallikolone mountain (modern Karatepe).Its site is located on Karatepe, Asiatic Turkey.

Karatepe, Antalya

Karatepe, Antalya is a village in the District of Antalya, Antalya Province, Turkey.

Karatepe, Gazipaşa

Karatepe, Gazipaşa is a village in the District of Gazipaşa, Antalya Province, Turkey.

Karatepe, Kalecik

Karatepe is a village in the District of Kalecik, Ankara Province, Turkey.

Karatepe, Köşk

Karatepe, Köşk is a village in the District of Köşk, Aydın Province, Turkey. As of 2010 it had a population of 412 people.

Karatepe, Merzifon

Karatepe is a village in the District of Merzifon, Amasya Province, Turkey.

Karatepe-Aslantaş National Park

Karatepe-Aslantaş National Park (Turkish: Karatepe-Aslantaş Milli Parkı), established in 1958, is a national park in southern Turkey. Situated on the banks of a dam reservoir, it contains an archaeological open-air museum.

Karatepe-Aslantaş Open-Air Museum

Karatepe-Aslantaş Open-Air Museum (Turkish: Karatepe-Aslantaş Açık Hava Müzesi) is an open-air museum in Osmaniye Province, Turkey. Karatepe ("black hill") is the location while Aslantaş ("lion stone") refers to the lion figure on stone sculptures. The site is situated inside a nationalpark with the same name.

Karatepe bilingual

The Karatepe bilingual (8th century BC), also known as the Azatiwada inscription, is a bilingual inscription on stone slabs consisting of Phoenician and Luwian text each, which enabled the decryption of the Anatolian hieroglyphs. The artifacts were discovered at Karatepe, southern Turkey by the archaeologists Helmuth Theodor Bossert (1889–1961) and Halet Çambel (1916–2014) in 1946.The stones featuring the Karatepe bilingual are situated along with many other statues and reliefs in stone at the Karatepe-Aslantaş Open-Air Museum, which is in turn part of the Karatepe-Aslantaş National Park.

List of national parks of Turkey

National parks in Turkey are one of the five protected areas in the country. Approximately, 1% of Turkey's total area consist of national parks.


Mopsus (; Ancient Greek: Μόψος, Mopsos) was the name of one of two famous seers in Greek mythology; his rival being Calchas. A historical or legendary Mopsos or Mukšuš may have been the founder of a house in power at widespread sites in the coastal plains of Pamphylia and Cilicia (in today's Turkey) during the early Iron Age.

Turkish Airlines Flight 452

Turkish Airlines Flight 452 was a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Istanbul Atatürk Airport to Antalya Airport, Turkey. On 19 September 1976, the Boeing 727-200 operating the flight struck a slope of a hill at Karatepe in Isparta Province, 60 mi (97 km) north of the destination airport due to a pilot error on approach resulting in the death of all 154 people on board.

Çineköy inscription

The Çineköy inscription is a Hieroglyphic Luwian-Phoenician bilingual inscription, uncovered in 1997 in Çineköy, Adana Province, Turkey (ancient Cilicia). The village of Çineköy lies 30 km south of Adana.

The inscription is dated to the 8th century BC. It was originally published by Tekoglu and Lemaire (2000). Another important inscription of the same type is known as the Karatepe inscription, which was known earlier. Both of these inscriptions trace the kings of ancient Adana from the "house of Mopsos" (given in Hieroglyphic Luwian as Muksa and in Phoenician as Mopsos in the form mps). He was a legendary king of antiquity.

Syro-Hittite states and cities
Luwian states
Aramaean states
Black Sea
Central Anatolia
Eastern Anatolia


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