King's Gate (Hattusa)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The King’s Gate in Hattusa (the capital of the Hittite Empire in the Late Bronze Age) was part of the city's fortifications. The gate is decorated with a sculpture of the God of War in high relief and measuring 2.25m in height. The original relief can be seen today in the Museum of Ancient Civilizations in Ankara.


The King's Gate (tr. Kral Kapısı) is situated in the south-eastern part of Hattusa city walls. It is worth the attention of visitors especially because of its excellent state of preservation. Its shape and size are similar to the Lion Gate in the south-western part of the fortifications. The gate is flanked by two towers, and there are two parabolic-shaped door passages: external and internal.

circa 1500 BCE

The King's Gate, is one of the three most notable gates of Hattusa's Upper City fortifications, other two being Lion's Gate, the Sphinx Gate. According to Professor Neve, these three gates were integrated into a sacred road used for processions, which started from Temple 5, left the city at the King's Gate, and then continued to the Lion Gate where it re-entered the city. In the time of the Hittite civilization, this double gate had wooden doors, opening inward. Inquisitive visitors can still find the beam and the bolt holes of the gate. The approach to the gate from the outside was up the ramp, which was protected by additional walls and a bastion.

circa 1500 BCE

The name of the gate is misleading, and it originated from the relief placed on the left side of the inner gate. This relief was discovered during the archaeological excavations in 1907. It depicts an important-looking person, holding an axe, carrying a crescent sword in his belt. He is wearing a spiral-pattern tunic and a spiked helmet with wide cheek-guards and a protective collar. The relief is larger than life as it measures 2.25 m from the top of the helmet to the tip of the toe. Therefore, it was initially thought to depict a Hittite king.

circa 1500 BCE

Later, the researchers established that it shows a warrior or a war god protecting the people who passed through the gate. The reason for this change of opinion was because of a horn depicted at the front of the figure's helmet. Because horns on the helmet were the attributes of the gods in Hittite religion, the warrior is likely to be the representation of a god.


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