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Open map of TurkeyFlag of TurkeyTurkey / Ancient /
Open map of TurkeyFlag of SyriaSyria / Ancient /
Turkish: Karkamiş
In Rome called: Europos
Other modern spellings: Karkemish


A mound where the ancient city of Carchmish once ruled this part of Euphrates river.
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A mound where the ancient city of Carchmish once ruled this part of Euphrates river. Photo: David Padfield.

A two-headed sphix.

A two-headed sphix.

Ancient city, important to the Mitanni and Hittite Empires, capital of its own kingdom from around 1175-990 BCE.
It is located on the west bank of the Euphrates River, just north of the Syrian town Jerablus, but on the Turkish side of the border. It lies 60 km southeast of Gaziantep.
Carchemish' economy was originally based on wood exports, being shipped down the Euphrates. Later, the economic focus became the caravans passing between Syria, Mesopotamia and Anatolia, its position representing the best ford for crossing the river.
Carchemish was located to a fertile area along the river. The city was protected by thick double walls. A high citadel in the centre controlled the activities on the river. The present-day ruins are extensive but of limited interest; most movable artefacts have been relocated to museums. Access to the area is also restricted.

8th millennium BCE: The site of Carchemish is settled, this belonging to the Neolithic Period.
Early 15th century: Conquered by King Tuthmosis 1 of Egypt.
14th century: A puppet state under the Hittite Empire is established, with the son of the Hittite king, Piyashshili, as the administrator.
13th century: Carchemish is destroyed most probably by the Sea people.
12th century: The Sea People destroys the Hittite Empire.
Around 1175: A new kingdom emerges with Carchemiosh as its capital. It is referred to as Kingdom of Carchemish.
11th century: Carchemish reaches its highest level of importance and wealth.
990: End of the Kingdom of Carchemish.
9th century: Carchemish is forced to pay tribute to Assyria.
717: Conquered by King Sargon 2 of Assyria, and becomes part of the empire.
605: An important battle is fought between the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar 2 and the Egyptian army, in which the Egyptians were expelled from the area. This would effectively bring the importance of Carchemish to an end.

Modern times
1876 CE: The location of Carchemish is identified.
1911-1920: Excavataions are performed at Carchemish.

By Tore Kjeilen