Great for: Roman History, Big Walls, Little Towns
Just outside of the little town of Örükaya in the southern Çorum prairie is a large dam built across a narrow ravine over 2000 years ago by a Roman legion stationed in the area. The dam at Örükaya is one of only four dams in Turkey from this era.
As of 2018 excavation and restoration efforts carried out by Hitit University are ongoing at the site. Set above the dam itself, on the hillside to the left of the ravine the remains of a settlement have been discovered and is being excavated along with the dam.
The town of Örükaya is typical of small Anatolian villages where work opportunities are limited, and the youth are leaving for the big cities. The locals are hoping that the excavations and opening a small archaeological park at the foot of the dam will bring in visitors and a financial boost to the small town.
How To Get There
As there is no public transit directly there we’d recommend using a rental car. Örükaya is directly south of the Town of Alaca. To get to Örükaya head south from the Alaca town centre down Yozgat street. Just after leaving town you will go directly across the D190, a small local highway and continue for 1 km where you will hit a fork in the road. At the fork keep to the left and follow the signs to Örükaya. The dam is just on the other side of the town.
If you really want to visit this place and don’t have your own vehicle we’d recommend taking a bus to Alaca and then a taxi from there. Returning could be a challenge if you don’t arrange something with the taxi. Hitchhiking on these gravel roads is relatively easy as farmers will usually be more than willing to give you a lift.
Where To Stay
The nearby town of Alaca has some limited accommodation, beyond this your best bet is to look in Çorum where there is an excellent range from the cheap (including one place we stayed that was too cheap) to some very comfortable four-star hotels.
Planning on visiting the Örükaya Dam? Make sure to check out what other sights are in the area!
Have any tips or info to add? Spot any mistakes? We’d love to hear about it.