Hierapolis is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey. 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 from past days to the present. Here is detailed information about Hierapolis Ancient City.
The first settlements appeared in this area in the 2nd Millennium BC. It is believed that the founder of this settlement was the king of Pergamum Eumenes II. The Hierapolis city was founded in 190 BC and was called the “Holy City” or Hierapolis.
The city was built on frozen limestone tuffs and was surrounded by numerous hot springs of natural origin. These hot springs were the focusing point 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 took place 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 huge Roman baths as a symbol of the high position of the Great Roman Empire. In the late 300s of our era, the city was under the control of the Byzantine Empire. Emperor Constantine made this residence 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 preserved in the settlement for a short time. Soon a strong earthquake destroyed most of the buildings. After the huge earthquake, a new castle was built here and the city was rebuilt but the name had changed. 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 entirely 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 wouldn’t enter 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, which was 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 which can be used to treat various diseases, Hierapolis in its essence has become one of the first resort cities in the world. The healing power of the springs 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 were considered hot mineral springs, which surrounds in the area. The residents worshipped them and built settlements such as altars and temples.
Hierapolis played a key role in the emergence and formation of Christianity. During the reign of the Byzantine Empire, the city was a kind of center of the bishopric. Saint Philip died in this settlement who is participated in 12 biblical apostles. In 2011, the burial site which includes 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 point to Hierapolis is a large modern resort in Turkey-Antalya. From here, tourists will need to make their 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 Marmaris to Pamukkale have time to return to the hotels for dinner. To visit Hierapolis from other resort towns on the coast, tourists need to book a Pamukkale Day tour from Istanbul. It can be either one-day tours or 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 living and culture.