A natural stronghold situated atop an impregnable area of steep rocky terrain, Hattusas had been inhabited as far back as the 3rd millennium B.C. The Hatti, an Anatolian people of unknown origin, settled here as early as 2500 B.C. Later, around 1800 B.C., King Anitta of Kushara (an ancient kingdom of similarly undetermined origins and whereabouts) invaded and set fire to the city, pronouncing it accursed, before moving on.

About 1km (2/3 mile) to the northeast (accessible by backtracking out of the entry/exit road to Hattusas and heading right and up the road) is the shrine of Yazilikaya, formed out of the convergence of two natural ravines and the largest known Hittite rock sanctuary. The purpose of the shrine remains a mystery, although we can speculate that it was used for annual cult celebrations or even as a royal funerary site.