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Karadağ Inscriptions

About 35 km north of the Karaman city center is the inactive volcano 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 disappeared under the ruins of the church. On the northwest wall of the corridor, there is a 2 meters long, one-line inscription in Hieroglyphic Luwian with a partially damaged end on the left. J. D. 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, Türkmen-Karahöyük, and Burunkaya. It has been dated to the 8th century BCE.

Like Kızıldağ, 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 newcomers 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 the pictures for larger images.

The corridor - G. Bell 1907 B. B. Charles, 1911 J. Yakar, 1998 J. D. Hawkins, 2000 J. D. Hawkins, 2000 Second inscription - J. D. Hawkins, 2000

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

Image sources:
Gertrude Bell, 1907, University of Newcastle Gertrude Bell Project (
Benson B. Charles, Hittite Inscriptions, Ithaca, 1911.
Jak Yakar, 1998.
J. David Hawkins, 2000.