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KÜLTEPE

Bronze Age "Hill of Ashes"

At Kültepe, northeast of Kayseri off the road to Bünyan, you can visit the enigmatic remains of ancient Kaniş-Karum, a settlement dating back to the Old Bronze Age. This is mainly a site for serious enthusiasts since the ruins, while hugely important historically, are largely foundations and not easy to interpret. The setting is lovely though, rustic and isolated, awash with birds and butterflies. 

Around 1850 BC the city on this site was a hugely important trading centre with an Assyrian colony attached to it, but by around 1750 BC it had fallen to the Hittites who renamed it Nisa.

There are two separate sites separated by the road. the first is Kaniş which has the remains of several palaces and a tower enclosed within a defensive embankment. At Kanum there are more extensive remains of a settlement which makes it easier to imagine life here. However, the remains are now overgrown again and the interpretative signs are quite limited. 

Large numbers of cuneiform tablets describing life under the Hittites were found here; some are now housed in Kayseri Archaeological Museum, way out of the centre on Talas Caddesi. More can be seen in the museum in Çorum.

Transport info

Catch a Bünyan bus or dolmuş from Kayseri (from next to Atatürk İlkokul)) and ask to be let out at the junction (18km) with the road leading to the ruins (it's on the left as you approach from Kayseri). You will probably have to walk the last flat but shadeless 2km.

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