Hierapolis is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey. Here tourists can admire not only the unique mineral hot springs but also get acquainted with the remains of ancient civilization, visiting the ruins of ancient architecture that have survived to the present day. Here are detailed pieces of information about Hierapolis Ancient City.
The first settlements appeared in Hierapolis in the 2nd Millennium BC. It is believed that the founder of the settlement was the king of Pergamum Eumenes II. The city was founded in 190 BC and was called the “Holy City” or Hierapolis.
The city was built on frozen limestone tuffs and is surrounded by numerous hot springs of natural origin. These springs were the object of worship of the ancient inhabitants and also contributed to the flourishing of the settlement as a kind of resort area for the nobility of the ancient period.
Today Hierapolis is famous not only for the nearby thermal springs but also for the preserved monuments of ancient history. Here you can see the real masterpieces of ancient architecture.
The history of the city of Hierapolis
Since 133 BC Hierapolis Ancient City was under the rule of the Roman Empire. It was destroyed more than once by earthquakes that occurred in this area. However, each time the buildings were restored or rebuilt. You should visit Hierapolis Ancient city by participating in a Pamukkale daily tour as soon as possible.
Since the 60s of the I century ad, Hierapolis has become a kind of resort town for aristocratic Roman families. There were baths and huge Roman baths. In the late 300-ies of our era, the city came under the control of the Byzantine Empire. Emperor Constantine the Great even gave the settlement the status of the center of the region of Phrygia.
Six centuries later, the city fell into the power of the Turkish Sultan. Since Hierapolis was located between the ancient cities of Laodicea and Colossus, it constantly found itself on the border of the opposing lands and experienced repeated changes of power. In 1210, Hierapolis finally fell into the possession of the Turkish state.
However, a peaceful life was established in the settlement for a short time. Soon a strong earthquake destroyed most of the buildings. Later, a new castle was built here and the city was rebuilt, but with a different name. The new settlement was given the name Pamukkale, or “cotton castle”. Cotton is still grown in the valley at the foot of the hill.
In 1354, the city was again almost completely destroyed by a powerful Thracian earthquake. After that, the area remained in desolation until the end of the 19th century, when the first archaeological excavations began here.
The cultural and religious significance of Hierapolis
Thanks to the mineral springs with hot water located around the city, since ancient times, the sick and the suffering came to the settlement. All of them hoped to be healed with the help of thermal springs. For residents and incoming travelers, there were several baths. Over time, Hierapolis became a major center, known throughout Asia Minor.
There were many cultural buildings, such as an amphitheater, Agora, majestic temples, baths and basilica, and fountains. Thanks to the hot springs used to treat various diseases, Hierapolis in its essence became one of the first resort cities in the world. The healing power of the springs and to this day attracts a lot of tourists from around the world. You can see also important structures in Hierapolis Ancient City from our other articles.
It is also possible to note the religious significance of the ancient city. Since ancient times, many temples and places of worship were built here. Therefore, the city was called “sacred”. According to another legend, sacred in ancient times was considered hot mineral springs, which abound in the area. The inhabitants worshipped them, built altars, temples and entire settlements around them.
Hierapolis played a role in the emergence and formation of Christianity. During the reign of the Byzantine Empire, the city was a kind of a center of the bishopric. One of the 12 biblical apostles, Saint Philip, died in this area. In 2011, the burial site with his remains was discovered by a group of Italian archaeologists during excavations in Hierapolis. In the tomb, there are inscriptions confirming its belonging to St. Philip.
How to get to the city of Hierapolis
The closest to Hierapolis is a large modern resort of Turkey-Antalya. From here, tourists will need to make the way in the North-West direction to the city of Denizli, near which the attraction is located.
Also, only 3 – 4 hours away from the ancient city of tourists who came to rest in Marmaris. Tourists who went from here to Pamukkale have time to return to the hotels for dinner. To visit Hierapolis from other resort towns of the coast, tourists need to book a Pamukkale Day tour from Istanbul. Possible one-day tours and tours with an overnight stay in local hotels. You can book a similar tour in every travel Agency of any of the Turkish resorts.
Excursion to Pamukkale to visit the unique thermal springs with mineral water and explore the ruins of the Roman and Byzantine architecture of the ancient city of Hierapolis will undoubtedly be one of the most vivid and memorable holiday experiences in Turkey. After all, it is not the only natural wonder of the world, but also a grandiose monument of ancient world culture.