Hierapolis-Pamukkale (World Heritage)

By | September 15, 2021

Hierapolis was founded in the 2nd century by the kings in Pergamon and in 133 BC. Part of the Roman province of Asia. Numerous buildings from this period have been preserved. The city is in close proximity to the exceptionally beautiful sinter terraces.

Hierapolis-Pamukkale: facts

Official title: Hierapolis-Pamukkale ancient city
Cultural monument: the center of a confederation of cities with originally 9 m high pillar graves such as the Harpy Monument, with the Nereid Monument, a once magnificent tomb of a Lycian prince – rebuilt in the British Museum in London – with the Acropolis pillar, a 4.75 m high pillar with a burial chamber on top the Lycian Acropolis and the Arch of Vespasian in honor of Emperor Vespasian (69-79) and the Lycian sanctuary of Leto, mother of Apollo
Continent: Asia
Country: Turkey
Location: near Kinik, southeast of Fethiye and southwest of Antalya
Appointment: 1988
Meaning: the Lycian capital and the Leto sanctuary as particularly important testimonies to the history of Lycia

Hierapolis-Pamukkale: history

7th century BC Chr. Rule of the kings of Lydia
6th century BC Chr. Appearance of pillar graves
545 BC Chr. Destruction by a Persian army under Harpagosum
480 BC Chr. Creation of the harpy monument
431-404 BC Chr. Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens
429 BC Chr. Victory of Xanthos over the Athenian navy
334/33 BC Chr. Conquest by the army of Alexander the Great
42 BC Chr. Destruction during the Roman Civil War
2nd century AD new heyday under Roman rule
1838 Rediscovery by Sir Charles Fellows
1962 Exposure of the Leto sanctuary
1990s – 2009 Restoration and renaturation of the complex

Cotton Castle and Holy City

Pamukkale’s white terraces are one of Turkey’s greatest natural wonders. On the edge of the hill around the river level of the Meander, a geological fracture zone, thermal springs with a “bathing water temperature” of 36 ° Celsius arise in several places. When the limestone seeped through, they were enriched with mineral substances that precipitate on the surface of the earth when they cool and solidify to form calcareous sinter. Nowhere has this process been more impressive than near the ancient city of Hierapolis. About a hundred meters above the valley floor, terraces with hanging limestone cones, basins and troughs in which pale blue water glistens have been created over a stretch of two kilometers. The fairytale-like appearance corresponds to a fairytale-like name: In Turkish Pamukkale means something like “cotton castle”. For years hundreds of barefoot visitors climbed the tiered natural pools and let the water play around their calves. Visitors were allowed to move about freely on the terraces and even bathe in the sinters. For the access to the hotels built in the 1960s in the upper terrace area, a road was even broken across the sintered terraces. The world heritage suffered great damage as a result of the water abstraction from the four hotels and mass tourism on the terraces. The limestone lost its brilliant white color in many places and turned a desolate gray-black. In the 1990s, a bathing and access ban was therefore issued for the entire area of ​​the terrace complex. The hotels were demolished, the sinter terraces were extensively renatured and access for visitors was restricted. Fore more information about Turkey and Middle East, please visit behealthybytomorrow.

The ancient settlement on the Sinter Plateau was not a Hierapolis, that is, a “holy city” for the residents because of the source; rather, the kings of Pergamon, when they founded Hierapolis, wanted to create a border bulwark of the empire in a strategically favorable location. The place was later considered a holy city because of its many temples, of which only that of Apollo has survived in “traces”. A sanctuary of its own was the plutonium, an enclosed crevice near the temple of Apollo, from which poisonous fumes escaped. Only the eunuch priests who looked after the Pluto sanctuary were allegedly not affected by the fumes.

Ever since Asia Minor had become Roman territory as Provincia Asia after the death of the last Pergamene king, Hierapolis had less military than civil concerns in the foreground. The city flourished through trade and commerce to become one of the richest in Asia Minor. Its wool industry was particularly famous. Hierapolis received three imperial visits: 129 AD by Hadrian, 215 by Caracalla, 370 finally by Valens. Most of the buildings that have survived come from Roman times, built from mighty blocks in the typical colossal style of the imperial era: for example, two large thermal baths in the north and south-west of the city, a spacious theater, from the upper tier of which one overlooked the whole plateau, and one Forum – urban furnishing of a rural metropolis. While the residential districts, protected by a city wall, up the eastern slope, the main urban axis ran to the west, hard on the edge of the plateau. The three arches of the Frontinus Gate and a Byzantine gateway mark the train of this once paved street.

The main Byzantine building of Hierapolis was the martyrdom of St. Philip. The apostle is said to have preached in Phrygia and was martyred in Hierapolis sometime after the middle of the 1st century. The traditions are vague, but were believed in Hierapolis itself, because in the early 5th century a memorial building with an octagonal center was built for Philip.

All the ordinary city dwellers of Hierapolis, the wool dyers, carpet weavers and coppersmiths, who are named with these job titles in inscriptions, were finally led by death to the city’s necropolis in front of the north gate, probably the most impressive ancient cemetery on the soil of Asia Minor. The most varied of grave types, whether sarcophagi, tumulus or house graves, can be found here side by side, in excellent condition.

Hierapolis-Pamukkale (World Heritage)