Karatepe was discovered in 1946 by Prof Helmut Bossert and Dr. Halet Çambel. The first excavations were made by Bossert and Prof Bahadır Alkım. Halet Çambel continued the excavation, protection and repair works in Karatepe and turned the castle into an Open Air Museum. This is Türkiye's first open-air museum.
Karatepe Azativataya Castle is a settlement area where the most concrete remains of the Que Kingdom survived to the present day in the mid 8th century BC during the Late Hittite Period. Azativataya, a unique castle reflecting almost all the features of the monumental art, architecture and technique of the period, ruled an important route on the trade routes of that period. The walls of the Castle are 195 m in east-west direction and 375 m in the north-south direction in height. The Castle, protected by a double fortification system, was supported by 33 towers.
The castle is accessed through two monumental gates called the North Gate and the South Gate, which are supported by towers. The north and south gates of the castle are decorated with inscribed statues, inscribed and embossed orthostats. After entering the South Gate, there is a sanctuary with Tarhunda statue. The inscriptions found in Karatepe are bilingual in Luwian and Phoenician. The inscriptions are the longest bilingual text known in these languages and have played an important role in the dissolution of Anatolian Hieroglyphics. The fact that the rulers claiming to be descended from Muksas-Mopsos accepted the Phoenician language as a written expression language represents the first step towards the creation of the Greek alphabet. It is stated in the inscriptions that Azativatas, a lord in the service of King Avarikus of Adanava, established this castle and named the castle Azativataya.
The statues and reliefs with inscriptions depict and represent the characteristics of different cultures such as Hittite, Egyptian, Assyrian, Phoenician, Aramaic, and Greek. Embossed depictions illuminate a dark period of the Iron Age and uniquely reflect the synthesis of eastern and western cultures. Reliefs, gods and mythological creatures of the period, social life, clothing, musical instruments, furniture, feasts, hunting parties, armor and weapons of warriors and warriors, horse-drawn chariots, fishing boats, warships are depicted in the embossments. Musical instruments, warships, armor and helmets of warriors and lotus-palmette decorations in orthostats were reflected in Western Anatolia and Greek culture.
Azativataya Castle was the starting point of the progress of Western Anatolia and Greek culture in science and art.