High school and college students in Korea study world history as part of their regular curriculum. Deep in their world history textbooks about ancient civilizations, the young learners stumble across the rarely-heard-of empire of the ancient Hittites. 

About 3,300 years ago, there was a historic battle between Ramses II (1303 B.C.-1213 B.C.) of Egypt and the Hittite emperor Muwatallis (1295 B.C.-1272 B.C.). The Battle of Kadesh marked a milestone in world history and is still considered by many to have been one of the most remarkable historic events to this day. 

Although it is now not uncommon for Koreans to hop on a plane for a trip somewhere, they are rarely aware of where or when the Hittite Empire used to be. The capital of the empire, Hattusha, has been unearthed in what is now Corum Province in Turkey, a nation truly rich in history and one which literally connects the East and the West. 

Koreans often refer to Turkey as a “Brother Nation,” one which has many things in common with Korea, especially in terms of language and national spirit. In fact, the two nations shared the ordeal of the Korean War (1950-53), as Turkish troops came to fight for South Korea. 


On Oct. 7 in Corum Province, about four hours by car from Ankara, there was a special event to celebrate the long brotherhood between Korea and Turkey. Governor Ahmet Kara of Corum Province and Korean Ambassador to Turkey Cho Yoon-su were among the attendees from the two nations at the event.

There were a series of lectures about the province and the Hittite Empire, and exhibitions shed new light on traditional craftworks from both countries, including Joseon pottery. Participants had the chance to sample some ancient Hittite food, too. On Oct. 8, participants took a tour of some of the best historic Hittite sites in the region. 

“I first learned about the existence of the Hittite Empire when I was studying ancient ironware. In those days, people would melt chunks of iron at a temperature of over 100 degrees Celsius to manufacture things out of iron. This also shows how civilization developed in those times,” said Ambassador Cho. “What the Hittite Empire used to look like and its traces here are quite intriguing for Koreans who travel to Turkey,” said Ambassador Cho as he called for Korean historians and archeologists to be part of Turkey’s efforts to excavate unfound Hittite sites. 


In response, Corum Governor Ahmet Kara said that, “The people in Korea and Turkey share the same blood and the same roots.” 

“The Turkish people migrated from Central Asia to Anatolia, and the Koreans migrated down the Korean Peninsula. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, Turkey fought for its brother. Such brotherhood and friendship continues to this day. I will never forget when the Korean people rooted wholeheartedly for the Turkish team during the 2002 FIFA World Cup,” he concluded.