Archaeological Tours

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Karain Cave - Antalya
Catalhoyuk - Konya
Beycesultan - Denizli
Alacahoyuk - Corum
Hattusa - Corum
Hattusa - Corum
Yazilikaya - Eskisehir
Hagia Sophia


The history of Turkey tells of a 10.000 year old civilization. Find out more about historical timeline, prehistoric times, Anatolian civilizations, Roman period, Seljuk Empire, Ottoman Empire and modern Turkish Republic.


Paleolithic Age (2 Million – 10000 BC), also known to be the old stone age, began somewhere around 2 million years ago, and ended 10.000 years before our time.

This time period marked the beginning of the existence of the ancestors of man. The most important place in Anatolia where all the three phases; Upper, Middle and Lower in the Paleolithic Age can be seen, is the Karain Cave on the 30 km northwest of Antalya.


Mesolithic period (10000 – 8500 BC) gives way to the most impressive development of the human kind, the New Stone Age. The Middle Stone Age is a period of transition of the human from the Old Stone Age to the New Stone Age.


Neolithic period (8000 – 5500 BC) reveals a new step in the history of mankind with the development of the established and settled societies, and in production of food. Anatolia, once again, gives the most comprehensive sites in the world for this age in the Cayonu, Hacilar, Catalhoyuk and Koskhoyuk excavation sites.


In Chalcholithic period (5000 – 3000 BC), in addition to stone tools, copper pieces also come into sight. Burdur – Hacilar 5500 BC is the oldest site in Anatolia where metal objects are discovered. One other important settlement area of the Chalcholithic period in Western Anatolia is the Beycesultan site, going back to 4000-3000 BC, located 5km southeast of town of Civril in Denizli.


Bronze Age (3000 – 1200 BC) began around 3000 BC in Anatolia, around 2500 BC in the Aegean and Crete, and around 2000 BC in Europe. Alacahoyuk, 67 km to Yozgat and 3 hours away from Ankara was the most advanced settlement area in Anatolia in this period. Another important place in the bronze age is Troy in Canakkale.


The result was a unique Anatolian civilization which has long inspired the thoughts and legends of the West. The ancient Bronze Age witnessed the establishment of the first independent city states. At that time, the centre and southeast of Anatolia were inhabited by the indigenous Hattis. The most spectacular findings from this time are those of Alacahoyuk in the Kizilirmak region and of Horoztepe near Tokat, in the Black Sea region. They are contemporary with the royal tombs of Mycenae in Greece.


Troy was founded around 3000 BC, and played a major role in the importation of tin, vital for the production of bronze.


The Hittites arrived in Anatolia towards the second millennium BC. They absorbed much of the Babylonian civilization and long enjoyed a monopoly of iron in Asia. This, combined with the use of the chariot, gave the Hittites a military superiority over Egypt and other Mesopotamian states. The victorious raid against Babylon in 1590 BC was the climax of the first Hittite Empire, followed by a period of decline. Then, in the first half of the fourteenth century, came a revival of power. This second era saw a Hittite hegemony snatching from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.


The Mitanni Kingdom was a contemporary and the enemy of the Hittites. It was founded by the Hourrites, a people originally from the South Caspian Sea. The Hourrites exercised considerable influence over the religion of the Hittites, and spread the use of two wheel chariots and the breeding of horses throughout the Near East.


At the beginning of the first millennium BC, the Urartus created a unified state whose territory extended from the Caucasus to Lake Urmiya, with its capital in the present city of Van. The Urartus were masters in hydraulic works and skilled in irrigation, drainage and the construction of canals and artificial lakes. They were also known for their horse breeding and formidable cavalry.


The Phrygians between 750 and 300 BC settled in Central and Western Anatolia, in the Afyon – Ankara – Eskisehir triangle, declaring Gordion on the Sakarya river to be their capital.

Their civilization met its apogee in the second half of the 8th century BC, under the famous King Midas whom, according to the mythology, Apollo ridiculed by having him grow ears of a donkey, and whom Dionysus invested with the power to turn everything he touched into gold. Gordion fell to Persian domination around 550 BC and was liberated in 333 BC by Alexander the Great.


Around East of Izmir in Sardes, lived another people, the Lydians, thought to have invented money between 800 and 650 BC. In the 6th century BC, Croesus, the King of Lydia, agreed with the advancing Persians to divide Anatolia along the river Kizilirmak. The Persians, however, did not keep this commitment and continued to encroach on Lydian territory. They remained the sovereign power in Anatolia until the arrival of Alexander the Great in 333 BC.


After the death of Alexander the Great, Anatolia became the hub of the Seleucid Empire. Pergamon grew at the expense of its neighbours, and snatched part of Phrygia in 241 BC. The kingdom became prodigiously rich, the emporium of Anatolia and a brilliant intellectual centre.


The era of Roman Empire is an essential chapter in the history of the region. In 330, Constantine, the Roman emperor, transferred his capital from Rome to Roman Empire. Roman Empire, at that time a small city founded 1000 years earlier by Greeks on the shores of the Strait was henceforth called Constantinople.

The centre of the Empire thereafter became the Orient, in particular Anatolia, inhabited by the descendants of Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Greeks and others. Roman Empire became the Eastern Roman Empire; its official religion was proclaimed to be Christianity in 380 and in 392 paganism was banned.

In 476, Rome collapsed and Constantinople remained the sole capital of the empire. Roman Empire was both a state and a civilization, built along the lines of the Roman state, the Greek culture and the Christian faith. The emperor enjoyed divine power and relied heavily on the Church.


Roman Empire knew its first golden age under Justinian. One thousand years of Roman jurisprudence were gathered together in four volumes, a work which had a lasting influence for many centuries.

Justinian was also a great builder. The Basilica of Hagia Sophia (AD 532-7) was constructed during his reign.

The history of Roman Empire is one of alternating periods of glory and decay, of religious dissent, of conflicts and wars with Persians, Arabs, Seljuks, Ottomans and peoples of the North.

By the 13th century, Roman Empire was drawing her final breath. After the mortal wound of 1204, when the Crusaders occupied Constantinople, sacked the city, forced the emperor to leave and established a Latin kingdom, she was a small state. Bulgaria declared her independence and a new maritime power, Venice took for herself the whole Aegean complex of islands.

In 1261, the Byzantines had regained possession of their capital, but there were new threats.

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