Like Yazilikaya and Hattusas, this exceptionally interesting archeological site, halfway between Bogazkale and Çorum, forms part of the Tasari National Park. Alaça Hüyük's importance lies chiefly in its finds from the period prior to the Hittite migrations. Rediscovered by Hamilton in 1836, the 330m/1,083ft-wide hüyük has since been researched and excavated several times; it comprises fourteen different levels representing four cultures.Alaça Hüyük was evidently first occupied in the middle of the fourth millennium B.C. (early Bronze Age) and remained so until the collapse of the Hittite Empire (1200 B.C.). For a brief period in the ninth and eighth centuries B.C. it was the site of a Phrygian settlement.
In addition to its ethnological collection the little museum in Çorum mainly houses finds from the Hittite, Phrygian and Islamic periods (including a model of Hattusas).
During excavation of the Early Bronze Age settlement mound at Eski Yapar (6km/4mi west of Alaça Hüyük village) in 1967, R. Temicer unearthed an important hoard of jewelry. It too is now in the Hittite Museum in Ankara.
Alaca Archeological Site
First impressions of the archeological site can be confusing, but help is provided in the form of a clearly marked circular walk. The single most spectacular feature is undoubtedly the "Sphinx Gate", in what was the south inner city wall (nothing remains of the other gates except the postern underneath the west wall). The two sphinxes flanking the gate show clear Egyptian influence. On one side is a relief of a goddess seemingly floating above a double-headed eagle clutching two hares (the significance of which is unknown). The originals of the reliefs on the adjacent wall (cult and hunting scenes) are now in the Hittite Museum in Ankara. Two small forecourts lead to a wide colonnaded street furnished with drains, to the right of which extends a palace-like building believed by some scholars to be modeled on the temple at Hattusas.Most interesting of all, however, are the thirteen royal tombs dating from the third millennium B.C. when the Hatti, a pre-Hittite non-Indo-European people had a major settlement here. Some of the tombs - large rectangular stone-lined pits, originally roofed over with thick planks and then covered - are laid out exactly as they were when first opened. The single and double graves contained a whole array of priceless grave goods (weapons, jewelry and standards from funeral carts) most of which, together with other finds, are in the Hittite Museum in Ankara.
Cemilbey (Pazarli), Turkey
About 20km/12.5mi from Çorum, near the small town of Cemilbey, lies the Pazarli archeological site where, in 1937, H. Kosay uncovered a nobleman's house and fort from the Phrygian period (ca. 500 B.C.). Wall paintings, mosaics and other finds from this site, known to have been occupied as early as 3500 B.C., are in the Hittite Museum in Ankara. They include a terracotta plaque showing a row of bulbous-nosed foot-soldiers with drawn swords and circular shields. Not far from the township are the ruins of an old, much altered fortress. Ancient tombs and cisterns are found in the surrounding countryside.
The little town of Hacihamza, about 90km/56mi northwest of Çorum, boasts a 17th century caravanserai (ca. 1666) endowed by Köprülü Mehmet Pasa. From Hacihamza upstream almost as far as Osmancik the Kizilirmak valley is awash with rice paddies. Derelict norias - large waterwheels, the traditional method of irrigation along many Anatolian rivers - line the river bank.
Deposits from the lime-rich waters of the Karapinar karst spring, which surfaces here in this village near Cemilbey, have built up over millennia into limestone terraces similar to those at Pamukkale.