Yerkapi, the Sphinx Gate, not only pierces the wall of the upper city at its most southerly point but is also positioned on the central axis of the site of Hattusas. The combination of the gate itself, the intriguing postern tunnel 70m/230ft long, the vast incline of the earthen rampart 20m/65ft high, 250m/275yds wide and 80m/262ft across at the base, its outer slopes paved, the staircase ramps either side and the 3m/10ft wide paved pathways, form a marvelously symmetrical ensemble unmatched by any other example of Hittite architecture. The actual gate, set high on top of the huge rampart, was flanked on each side by two substantial towers of dressed stone, and later by an impressive outer wall with six towers. The triangular-sectioned postern tunnel (corbel vaulting) running through the rampart below the gate could be closed off by double gates at both ends. The Sphinx Gate proper had three offset passages of which only the outer was secured by gates. Four sphinxes adorned the gate, two inside and two out. Only one of these winged creatures with the body of a lion and aborescent decoration on the head has survived. Two had their entire trunk carved out of the stone, the others only the forequarters.At one time the whole structure was thought to have some special military purpose. Now its role is believed to have been purely social and religious.
Map of Bogazkale Attractions
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