Explore the Labyrinth of the Honeycomb City on a Catalhoyuk Tour

If you overlook the Konya Plain in Turkey, you will see the unique and remarkable ancient city of Çatalhöyük. This largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date can be seen on a private Çatalhöyük tour. At a time when most of the world's people were nomadic hunter-gatherers, Çatalhöyük was a bustling town of as many as 10,000 people.  Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is known as one of the best sites on a daily Çatalhöyük tour for understanding human Prehistory.  Read More...

Explore the Labyrinth of the Honeycomb City on a Catalhoyuk Tour

Forming a large hill on the summit of the Southern Anatolian Plateau, Çatalhöyük is like a maze of mud-brick houses, described as a ‘honeycomb city’, made up of 18 successive layers representing stages of the city and reflecting different eras of its history. Çatalhöyük meaning 'forked mound' and refers to the site's mounds, features a peculiar streetless settlement of houses altogether in a honeycomb-like maze with most accessed by holes in the ceiling. The home's interior was made of plaster, and each main room was used for cooking and other daily activities. Ancillary rooms were used as storage and accessed through low openings from main rooms. Over time, houses were renewed by partial demolition and rebuilt on a foundation of rubble, which was how the mound was built up which you can now see on a Çatalhöyük tour.

One of the different features of the houses that you will see in tours to Çatalhöyük is the fact that most of them contained bodies buried in pits under the floor and beneath hearths. Skeletons were buried in the fetal position under raised platforms, which archaeologists believe were then covered with mats and used as beds. Disarticulated bones in some graves may suggest that bodies may have been exposed in the open air before the bones were then gathered and buried. In some cases, graves were dug up and the individual’s head removed from the skeleton which was then used in rituals, as some were found in other areas of the community.

Another strange feature of this unique city you will see on daily Çatalhöyük tours is the presence of perhaps hundreds of thousands of baseball sized clay balls which are made of fired clay and thought to have been formed by hand because many of them have got large fingerprints and nail prints in them. They were found inside the houses and also scattered among the mound. The primary purpose of the balls is still unclear, and some archaeologists suggest they were used for cooking as they were found with ash deposits, and others said they were used as weapons.

UNESCO said that the site is exceptional for its substantial size and great longevity of the settlement with its unique layout of back-to-back houses with roof access and the presence of a large assemblage of features including reliefs and wall paintings representing the symbolic world of the inhabitants. Based on the documented research at the site, the elements making it the most significant human settlement documenting settled agricultural life of a Neolithic community that you can learn about on sightseeing tours to Çatalhöyük. The wall paintings, sculptures, reliefs and other symbolic features, along with the unusual layout of the city, testify to the evolution of the social organisation and cultural practices as humans adapted to a more settled life.

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