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Karadağ Inscriptions

About 35 km north of the Karaman city center is the inactive volcan Karadağ. Its highest point is the 2271 meters high Mahalaç (Mahalıç) hill. It is about 13 km southeast of Kızıldağ. On the hill are the ruins of a Byzantine church with a chapel and monastery. On the eastern side of the church, there is a rock-cut corridor from Hittite times. Whatever the corridor was leading to has now disappered under the ruins of the church. On the northwest wall of the corridor, there is a 2 meter long, one-line inscription in hieroglyphic Luwian with a partially damaged end on the left. Hawkins reads it as: "In this place (to/for?) the celestial Storm-God, the divine Great Mountain (and) every god, the Sun, Great King, Hartapu ..., (he) who conquered every country, (to/for?) the celestial Storm-God and every god ..." Diagonally opposite of the inscription, on the southeast wall of the corridor is a second short inscription that only says "Great King Hartapu". The name Hartapu also appears at Kızıldağ and Burunkaya. The date of the monument is argued to be immediately after the Empire Period (12th century BCE).

Like Kızıldağ, the Mahalaç hill was probably a cult place not only for the Hittites but also for other civilizations after them. The existence of early christian temples and Byzantine churches in the area can be seen as further supporting evidence, since it was very common for the new comers to build their temples over the previous ones.

Around the year 2000 a military radar base was built right around the ruins and access is restricted.

Click on pictures for a larger image.

Hawkins, J. D. "The Inscriptions of the Kızıldağ and the Karadağ in the Light of the Yalburt Inscription," in FsAlp, Ankara: TTK, 1992: 259-75.
Hawkins, J. D. Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, Vol 1, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2000: 429-42 and plts. 240-42.

Image sources:
Gertrude Bell, 1907, University of Newcastle Gertrude Bell Project (
Eberhard Rossner, Die hethitischen Felsreliefs in der Türkei. 1988.
John David Hawkins, Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions. 2000.