Temple 1 and storerooms
Temple 1 and storerooms
This temple, also known as The Great Temple, is
the largest building structure in the city of Hattusha. It was used during the
Empire Period, but perhaps built even earlier. The temple measures 65 x 42 m,
and together with the storerooms that surround it, the temple complex covers an
area of approximately
The court, open to the sky, was surrounded by high walls and paved with large flat stones (some of which are preserved in the eastern-the back right-corner). Although today the court makes rather a drab impression, we know from the Hittite texts that most celebrations took place in the temple courtyards; with a little imagination you should be able to picture the court milling with brightly dressed onlookers and brightened by standards and pennants, the air filled with music and incense. The cuneiform tablets of the Hittites describe such ceremonies in detail.
The cult chambers, the Holy of Holies, were situated at the north-eastern side of the court. The fact that there are two cult chambers here indicates that the temple was a twin temple dedicated to two deities. Considering the size of the temple, it is only appropriate that the two most important deities of the Land were honored here: the Weather God of Hatti and the Sun Goddess of Arinna. Only the King and Queen-as the High Priests of the Land-and a few select temple priests could reach the innermost sanctuary.
Other rooms in the temple could also have been used for rituals; they also served as dressing rooms for the priests and storage for cult paraphernalia. They were unfortunately mostly empty when discovered, as were the 82 ground-floor rooms on the long storage magazines which surrounded the temple. The only finds left were huge pottery vessels sunk into the ground, some of which are still in place.
The remains of hundreds of such vessels were found in the long narrow storerooms along the northwestern aisle. They held up to 2000 liters apiece and provided storage for the temple provender, which must have included cereal grains, dried beans and the like, oil and wine. The contents of the storerooms along the aisle on the opposite side of the temple were different; thousands of cuneiform tablets and fragments were found here, fallen from the wooden shelves on which they were once arranged like archives.