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Hittite Sun Disc in Ankara

Photo credit: Carrie Simpson
Hittite Sun Disc in Ankara
  • (worth a detour)
  • less than 1 km
  • Easy
  • Free
  • 1 hour or less
  • 2 2

The symbol of the 4000 year old history of Ankara

Sıhhıye Kvş, Ankara, Turkey

Turkey in general, and Ankara in particular, is very patriotic. Everything reminds you of the strong nationalistic and Islamic views of almost every citizen. However, there still are some places which can take you back millennia ago and reveal the very old history of the country, which has been thoroughly forgotten.


Sihhiye Meydan is a square between the poorer Ulus and the richer Kizilay districts of Ankara. In the center of it, surrounded by the rivers of heavy traffic, stands a green grass island with a big, strange at first sight, monument. It is known as the Hittite Sun Disc.


Hittites were an ancient civilization which existed about 4 thousand years ago on the territory of modern Turkey. At those times, it was very big and powerful. Hittites are even referenced in the Bible, Old Testament, along with Egyptians and Assyrians. At the same time, the world hadn’t known much about them until the 20th century, when scholars eventually managed to ‘decipher’ their language. Meanwhile, archaeologists found 13 Royal Tombs belonging to Hittites. Sun Discs were found in every one. Naturally, they were very significant for those people.


The Ankara’s Sun Disc is soaked in myths. The stag which stands in its center was the Hittite protective god, and the bulls standing near it were connected in their mythology with the weather god. In fact, the Disc was adopted as the official emblem of the city in 1978, as the answer to those who claimed that Ankara had no history.


However, soon after that Turkish nationalists and Islamists started debates about the emblem. The former didn’t like the idea of pre-Ottoman symbol, and the latter were dissatisfied with the pre-Muslim image. Eventually, in 1995 the official emblem was changed to the ‘traditional’ mosque-based one.


It’s almost a miracle that the Hittite Sun Disc still stands on its place. Maybe its ancient mythical beauty still intrigues and charms the locals, saving the monument?

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