Kültepe is an archaeological site, located 20 km southwest from the center of Kayseri. It was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Kanesh, and consisted of Kanesh (Kaniş in Turkish), a residental area of indigenous people, and Karum, a market place (Pazarşehir in Turkish) established in 1950-1650 B.C. by Assyrian colonies. A part of Karum was inhabited by both foreign and native traders to conduct their business. Its geographical position made Kültepe a center of culture, politics and trade between Anatolia, Syria and Mesopotamia by the end of 3,000 B.C to the first quarter of the 2,000 B.C. Today’s Kültepe was established by Hittites in 2000 B.C.
Kültepe has been known since 1871. Through the excavations, which have been conducted by Prof. Dr. Yahsin Özgüç since 1948, it is known that the site had consistently been inhabited from 3,000 B.C.-2,500 B.C. to the end of the Roman period. The site is composed of two parts: Upper Mound-Kanesh and Lower Town-Karum. At the site Karum (Pazarşehir), lying next to Kültepe, many clay tablets with cuneiform scripts were found in the ruins. Those tablets were very important aspects of Kültepe and we understand from them that the city served as a trade hub between Assyrian colonies and Hittite habitants in 2,000 B.C. Various aspects of daily life in Kültepe, such as relationships and family matters, are also documented on these tablets. All findings including clay tablets can be seen in the Kayseri Archaeology Museum.
World Heritage Tentative List: Archaeological Site of Kültepe-Kanesh
Some selected examples (please click on pictures to enlarge):