The Ivriz Cultural Landscape

The Ivriz Cultural Landscape

Ivriz, a rural village situated in the Konya province, is approximately 170 kilometers southeast of the city. The village is nestled on the slopes of Mount Bolkar, which is a part of the Taurus Mountain range's middle section. Ivriz offers breathtaking views of the wetlands and streams that are fed by the Ivriz Creek and run northwest.

The Ivriz Cultural Landscape, located in southwestern Turkey, consists of two magnificent Neo-Hittite rock carvings, a small Neo-Hittite altar, a Middle Byzantine Period monastery, two caves, and natural features such as springs. Over a long period from the Late Bronze Age (1650-1200 BC) through the Iron Age (1200-650 BC) and down to the Middle-Late Byzantine period (843-1543 AD), the site was utilized as a religious and cultic area as well as a border marker.

The site was mentioned by the Hittites in the Late Bronze Age and was an essential border marker during the Iron Age. During the Iron Age, it became a significant water cult sanctuary, and it continued into the Byzantine Period, where it was used as a religious setting for an important monastery.

In the 8th century BC, Warpalawas, a local king of the Neo-Hittite kingdom of Tuwanuwa, carved a rock relief and erected several inscriptions in Luwian hieroglyphic script and a sculpture of himself next to the springs. The Neo-Hittite rock carving of the 8th century BC is known as the Ivriz Rock Relief.

The Ivriz Rock Relief is 4.2 meters tall and 2.40 meters wide, carved on a hillside of one of the rock outcrops. It portrays Warpalawas, king of Tuwanuwa, together with the Luwian weather god Tarhunzas, who can be identified from the inscriptions on the monument. There are three inscriptions on the relief. The first is in front of the head of the weather god, the second behind the king, and the third at the bottom in a tiny cavity where a dedication of the artist is inscribed. The weather god, who holds a wheat bundle with his left hand and grapes with his right, is depicted in the middle of the relief. He bears grapes and grape leaves on his belt, representing fertility in the valley. A grape plant's limb hangs behind him.

The Ivriz Cultural Landscape

Tarhunzas has a beard and curly hair. He's wearing a helmet with horns, which is the Hittite tradition. His hair and beard are shown in the Assyrian or Aramaean style, according to Assyrian or Aramaean art. Warpalawas is standing in front of Tarhunzas; he is depicted as being smaller than the god and holding both of his hands up while wearing a round decorated hat and a long embroidered robe with a fibula attached. Previously, a spring stood in front of this relief; but today the water from this location is gathered via basins and channels of the Ivriz water dam.

A second Neo-Hittite rock relief is located 7 kilometers south of Ivriz Village in a dried out river bed in a narrow valley of the Taurus Mountains, and is known as Ambarderesi. The Sannabadae Monastery (also known as the Palace of Girls and Boys), which lies across this relief, is a Byzantine monastery. The monastic complex continues on both sides of the narrow valley. In 2015, a scrap of an inscribed stele with Luwian hieroglyphs was discovered near Ambarderesi, which is extremely significant since it implies that inscribed steles were positioned in front of the monument at Ambarderesi and part of a large water sanctuary. Ambarderesi depicts a scene that is very similar to the Ivriz Relief, but it has been exposed to much harsher weather conditions. This iconography is also a symbol of fertility, in addition to representing the manifestation of power and cult.

The Hittites carved reliefs on important roadways and at key entrances to communicate with other districts. The location's inclusion in a Hittite treaty suggests its importance as a border marker and religious center.

In 2017, the Ivriz Cultural Landscape was added to the Tentative List of UNESCO.