Hierapolis /ˌhaɪəˈræpəlɪs/ (Ancient Greek: Ἱεράπολις, lit. "Holy City") was an ancient city located on hot springs in classical Phrygia in southwestern Anatolia. Its ruins are adjacent to modern Pamukkale in Turkey and currently comprise an archaeological museum designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The hot springs have been used as a spa since the 2nd century BC, with many patrons retiring or dying there. The large necropolis is filled with sarcophagi, most famously that of Marcus Aurelius Ammianos, which bears a relief depicting the earliest known example of a crank and rod mechanism.

Part of the archeological site of Hierapolis

The great baths were constructed with huge stone blocks without the use of cement and consisted of various closed or open sections linked together. There are deep niches in the inner section, including the bath, library, and gymnasium.

Hierapolis colonnade
The main thoroughfare of Ancient Greek City Hierapolis
Hierapolis is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
LocationPamukkale, Denizli Province, Turkey
Coordinates37°55′30″N 29°07′33″E / 37.92500°N 29.12583°ECoordinates: 37°55′30″N 29°07′33″E / 37.92500°N 29.12583°E
Foundedearly 2nd century BC
Abandoned14th century (final occasion)
PeriodsRoman Republican to High Medieval
Site notes
Excavation dates1887, 1957–2008
ArchaeologistsCarl Humann, Paolo Verzone
Official nameHierapolis-Pamukkale
Criteriaiii, iv, vii
Designated1988 (12th session)
Reference no.485
UNESCO RegionEurope and North America


Hierapolis is located in the Büyük Menderes (the classical Meander) valley adjacent to the modern Turkish cities of Pamukkale and Denizli. It is located in Turkey's inner Aegean region, which has a temperate climate for most of the year.


Ancient Hieropolis

There are only a few historical facts known about the origin of the city. No traces of the presence of Hittites or Persians have been found. The Phrygians built a temple, probably in the first half of the 7th century BC. This temple, originally used by the citizens of the nearby town of Laodicea, would later form the centre of Hierapolis.

Coin of Eumenes II

Hierapolis was founded as a thermal spa early in the 2nd century BC within the sphere of the Seleucid Empire. Antiochus the Great sent 2,000 Jewish families to Lydia and Phrygia from Babylon and Mesopotamia, later joined by more from Judea. The Jewish congregation grew in Hierapolis and has been estimated as high as 50,000 in 62 BC.[1]

The city was expanded with the booty from the 190 BC Battle of Magnesia where Antiochus the Great was defeated by the Roman ally Eumenes II. Following the Treaty of Apamea ending the Syrian War, Eumenes annexed much of Asia Minor, including Hierapolis.

Hierapolis became a healing centre where doctors used the thermal springs as a treatment for their patients. The city began minting bronze coins in the 2nd century BC. These coins give the name Hieropolis. It remains unclear whether this name referred to the original temple (ἱερόν, hieron) or honoured Hiera, the wife of Telephus, son of Heracles and the Mysian princess Auge, the supposed founder of Pergamon's Attalid dynasty. This name eventually changed into Hierapolis ("holy city"),[2] according to the Byzantine geographer Stephanus on account of its large number of temples.

Roman Hierapolis

In 133 BC, when Attalus III died, he bequeathed his kingdom to Rome. Hierapolis thus became part of the Roman province of Asia. In AD 17, during the rule of the emperor Tiberius, a major earthquake destroyed the city.

Through the influence of the Christian apostle Paul, a church was founded here while he was at Ephesus.[3] The Christian apostle Philip spent the last years of his life here.[4] The town's Martyrium was alleged to have been built upon the spot where Philip was crucified in AD 80. His daughters were also said to have acted as prophetesses in the region.[5][6]

In the year 60, during the rule of Nero, an even more severe earthquake left the city completely in ruins. Afterwards, the city was rebuilt in the Roman style with imperial financial support. It was during this period that the city attained its present form. The theatre was built in 129 for a visit by the emperor Hadrian. It was renovated under Septimius Severus (193–211). When Caracalla visited the town in 215, he bestowed the much-coveted title of neocoros upon it, according the city certain privileges and the right of sanctuary. This was the golden age of Hierapolis. Thousands of people came to benefit from the medicinal properties of the hot springs. New building projects were started: two Roman baths, a gymnasium, several temples, a main street with a colonnade, and a fountain at the hot spring. Hierapolis became one of the most prominent cities in the Roman Empire in the fields of the arts, philosophy, and trade. The town grew to 100,000 inhabitants and became wealthy. During his campaign against the Sassanid Shapur II in 370, the emperor Valens made the last-ever imperial visit to the city.

During the 4th century, the Christians filled Pluto's Gate (a ploutonion) with stones, suggesting that Christianity had become the dominant religion and begun displacing other faiths in the area. Originally a see of Phrygia Pacatiana,[7] the Byzantine emperor Justinian raised the bishop of Hierapolis to the rank of metropolitan in 531. The Roman baths were transformed to a Christian basilica. During the Byzantine period, the city continued to flourish and also remained an important centre for Christianity.

Medieval Hierapolis

In the early 7th century, the town was devastated first by Persian armies and then by another destructive earthquake, from which it took a long time to recover.

In the 12th century, the area came under the control of the Seljuk sultanate of Konya before falling to crusaders under Frederick Barbarossa and their Byzantine allies in 1190. About thirty years later, the town was abandoned before the Seljuks built a castle in the 13th century. The new settlement was abandoned in the late 14th century. In 1354, the great Thracian earthquake toppled the remains of the ancient city. The ruins were slowly covered with a thick layer of limestone.

Modern excavations

Hierapolis was first excavated by the German archaeologist Carl Humann during June and July 1887. His excavation notes were published in his 1889 book Altertümer von Hierapolis.[8] His excavations were rather general and included a number of drilling holes. He would gain fame for his later discovery of the Pergamon Altar, which was reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

After the large white limestone formations of the hot springs became famous again in the 20th century, it was turned into a tourist attraction named "Cotton Castle" (Pamukkale). The ancient city was rediscovered by travellers, but also partially destroyed by new hotels that were built there. These buildings have been removed in recent years; however, the hot water pool of one hotel was retained, and (for a fee) it is possible to swim amongst ancient stone remains.

Excavations began in earnest in 1957 when Italian scientists, led by Paolo Verzone, began working on the site. These studies continued into 2008 when a restoration of the site began. Large columns along the main street near the gate named for Domitian were erected again. A number of houses from the Byzantine period were also unearthed, including an 11th-century courtyard house. Many statues and friezes were transported to museums in London, Berlin, and Rome. In 1970, the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum was built on the site of the former Roman baths.

Significant structures

Domitian gate at Hierapolis
Domitian gate

The Hellenistic city was built on a grid with streets running parallel or perpendicular to the main thoroughfare. This main street ran from north to south close to a cliff with the travertine terraces. It was about 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) long and 13.5 metres (44 ft) wide and was bordered on both sides by an arcade. At both ends of the main street, there was a monumental gate flanked by square towers built of massive blocks of stone. The side streets were about 3 metres (9.8 ft) wide. Another gate, the Domitian Gate, was close to the northern city gate. This triumphal arch flanked by circular towers consists of three arches and was built by the proconsul Julius Frontinus (84–86).[9]

The town was repeatedly rebuilt following major earthquakes and improved prior to various imperial visits to the healing springs. In addition, Septimius Severus had a number of new buildings constructed in Hierapolis in gratitude for his secretary Antipater, a native of Hierapolis who also tutored the emperor's two sons.

The Main Street and the gates

Frontinus Gate

Puerta de Domiciano - Hiérapolis
Frontinus Gate

This is the monumental entrance to the Roman city and leads onto the large plateia, 14 m wide, which crosses the whole settlement, exiting a gate at the opposite side, to connect with the road that goes to Laodicea on the Lykos and then Colossae. It is worth admiring the well preserved structure with three openings, in carefully squared travertine blocks, with elegant arches decorated with a simple cornice moulding, flanked by two round towers that recall Hellenistic city Gates such as that of the Pamphilian city of Perge, near Antalya.

North Byzantine Gate

The north gate forms part of a fortification system built at Hierapolis in Theodosian times (late 4th century) and is its monumental entrance, matched by a symmetrical gate to the south of the city. Built of reused material from the demolition of the Agora, it is flanked by two square towers, as in other nearby cities such as Blaundus. Four large marble brackets with heads of lions, of panther and of a Gorgon were found collapsed in front of the gate. They are quite expressive and, whilst belonging to antique buildings, were evidently reused as apotropaic elements on the two sides of the gate so as to ward off evil influence.


The Theatre in 2010

The Theatre was probably constructed under the reign of Hadrian after the earthquake of 60 AD.[10] The facade is 300 feet (91 m) long, the full extent of which remains standing. In the cavea there are 50 rows of seats divided into 7 parts by 8 intermediate stairways. The diazoma, which divided the cavea into two, was entered by two vaulted passages (the vomitoria). There is an Imperial loge at the middle of the cavea and a 6-foot-high (1.83 m) wall surrounding the orchestra.

During the reign of Severus at the beginning of the 3rd century, the old scaenae frons was replaced by a new, more monumental one, organized on three storeys and flanked by two imposing side entry buildings. Sculptural reliefs, displaying mythological subjects, were placed on the different storeys, while dedicatory inscriptions ran along the entablatures. The transformation was outstanding due to the size of the structures, the high quality of workmanship and materials employed.[11]

The auditorium was rebuilt as well, substituting the ancient limestone seats with others in marble, and realizing a high podium on the orchestra in order to adapt the building to the organization of venationes and gladiator schools.

An earthquake in Hierapolis in the 7th century caused the collapse of the entire building as well as the ultimate abandonment of the city. Since the 18th century, the monument's striking ruins have become a recurrent theme in European travellers’ descriptions and engravings.

Septimius Severus is portrayed in a relief together with his wife Julia Domna, his two sons Caracalla and Geta, and the god Jupiter. In AD 352, the orchestra was probably transformed into an arena for aquatic shows, which had become fashionable. The stage, which is 12 ft (3.7 m) high, had 5 doors and 6 niches. In front of these there were 10 marble columns, decorated with alternate rectilinear and curved segments. The wall behind the scene was decorated with three rows of columns one behind another. The columns on the front row do not have grooves and stood on octagonal bases.

The auditorium consisted of stacked seating with a capacity of 15,000 and was bisected by the main aisle. It featured an imperial box. The lower part originally had twenty rows and the upper part twenty five, but only thirty rows altogether have survived. The auditorium is segmented into nine aisles by means of eight vertical passageways with steps. The proscenium consisted of two stories with ornately decorated niches to the sides. Several statues, reliefs (including depictions of Apollo, Dionysus, and Diana), and decorative elements have been excavated by the Italian archaeological team and can be seen in the local museum.

The theatre has been the object of important restorations between 2004 and 2014.[12]

Temple of Apollo

A temple was raised to Apollo Lairbenos, the town's principal god during the late Hellenistic period.[13] This Apollo was linked to the ancient Anatolian sun god Lairbenos and the god of oracles Kareios. The site also included temples or shrines to Cybele, Artemis, Pluto, and Poseidon. Now only the foundations of the Hellenistic temple remain. The temple stood within a peribolos (15 by 20 metres (49 by 66 ft)) in Doric style.

The structures of the temple are later, though the presence of two Ionic capitals in the Museum (see under Museum), as well as of a Corinthian capital of the 1st century AD and other architectural fragments lead archeologists to suppose the existence of an earlier temple on the site.

The temple, which has a marble staircase, lies within a sacred area, about 70 metres (230 ft) long. It was surrounded by an enclosure wall (temenos). The back of the temple was built against the hill, the peribolos was surrounded on the remaining southern, western and northern sides, by a marble portico which has been partially excavated. This portico has pilasters bearing fluted Doric semi-columns supporting capitals that are decorated below with a row of astragali and beads and which, on the decorated below with a row of astragali and beads and which, on the echinus, bear a series of ovolos.

The new temple was reconstructed in the 3rd century in Roman fashion, recycling the stone blocks from the older temple. The reconstruction had a smaller area and now only its marble floor remains.

The temple of Apollo was deliberately built over an active fault.[14] This fault was called the Plutonion. It was the oldest religious centre of the native community, the place where Apollo met with Cibele. It was said that only the priest of the Great Mother could enter the cave without being overpowered by the noxious underground fumes. Temples dedicated to Apollo were often built over geologically active sites, including his most famous, the temple at Delphi.[15]

When the Christian faith was granted official primacy in the 4th century, this temple underwent a number of desecrations. Part of the peribolos was also dismantled to make room for a large Nympheum.


Next to this temple and within the sacred area is the oldest local sanctuary, Pluto's Gate, a ploutonion (Ancient Greek: Πλουτωνειον) or plutonium, which here means a shrine to the Greek god Pluto. This plutonion was described by several ancient writers, including Strabo, Cassius Dio, and Damascius. It is a small cave just large enough for one person to enter through a fenced entrance, beyond which stairs go down and from which emerges suffocating carbon dioxide gas caused by subterranean geologic activity. Behind the 3 square metres (32 sq ft) roofed chamber is a deep cleft in the rock, through which fast-flowing hot water passes while releasing a sharp-smelling gas.[16]

During the early years of the town, castrated priests of Cybele descended into the plutonion, crawling over the floor to pockets of oxygen or holding their breath. Carbon dioxide is heavier than air and so tends to settle in hollows. The priests would then come up to show that they were miraculously immune to the gas and infused with divine protection.[17]

An enclosed area of 2,000 square metres (22,000 sq ft) stood in front of the entrance. It was covered by a thick layer of suffocating gas, killing anyone who dared to enter it. The priests sold birds and other animals to the visitors, so that they could try out how deadly this enclosed area was. Visitors could (for a fee) ask questions of Pluto's oracle. This provided a considerable source of income for the temple. The entrance to the plutonion was walled off during the Christian times[18][19][20][21] and has just been recently unearthed.[22]

Hierapolis fontanna RB
The Nymphaeum


The Nymphaeum is located inside the sacred area in front of the Apollo temple. It dates from the 2nd century AD. It was a shrine of the nymphs, a monumental fountain distributing water to the houses of the city via an ingenious network of pipes. The Nymphaeum was repaired in the 5th century during the Byzantine era. A retaining wall was built with elements from the peribolos of the Apollonian temple. By doing so, the early Christians cut off the view of the pagan temple. The Byzantine gate was constructed in the 6th century. Now only the back wall and the two side walls remain. The walls and the niches in the walls were decorated with statues. The Italian archaeological team has excavated two statues of priestesses, which are now on display at the local museum.

The Nymphaeum has a U-shaped plan and sits on the continuation of the main colonnaded road. The stone pavement columns and other architectural remains mark a great part of the colonnaded road which ran through the city in a north-south direction. It has statues and shops around it, underneath which passed canals. The road had a base covered with stone blocks, now under the pool of the Private Administration. There are two huge doors which were constructed at the end of the 1st century AD and left outside the city walls.


Beyond the city walls and meadow, following the main colonnaded road and passing the outer baths (thermae extra muros), an extensive necropolis extends for over 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) on both sides of the old road to Phrygian Tripolis and Sardis. The other goes south from Laodikya to Closae. The necropolis extends from the northern to the eastern and southern sections of the old city. Most of the tombs have been excavated. This necropolis is one of the best preserved in Turkey. Most of about the 1,200 tombs were constructed with local varieties of limestone, though marble has been used, as well.

Hierapolis Necropolis

Most tombs date from the late Hellenic period, but there are also a considerable number from the Roman and early Christian periods. People who came for medical treatment to Hierapolis in ancient times and the native people of the city buried their dead in tombs of several types according to their traditions and socio-economic status.

The tombs and funeral monuments can be divided into four types:

  1. Simple graves for common people
  2. Sarcophagi, some raised on a substructure and others hollowed out from the rock. Many are covered with a double-pitched roof. Most are constructed in marble and are decorated with reliefs and epitaphs showing the names and professions of the deceased and extolling their good deeds. These epitaphs have revealed much about the population. Most, however, have been plundered over the years.
  3. Circular tumuli, sometimes hard to discern. These mounds each have a narrow passageway leading to a vaulted chamber inside.
  4. Larger family graves, sometimes monumental and resembling small temples.

Northern Necropolis

Römische Sägemühle
Scheme of the water-driven Roman sawmill, depicted on the Sarcophagus of Marcus Aurelius Ammianos on the north necropolis. The 3rd century mill is the earliest known machine to incorporate a crank and connecting rod mechanism.[23]

The monuments are situated in the large area, together with many travertine lahids, inscribed with Soros suffixes written in Greek (some over 2,000 years old) generally in the epigraphs on lahids.

There are many architectural grave monuments in Hierapolis and they show different architectural techniques. The oldest graves are of the Hellenistic Period (1st and 2nd centuries BC), and are Tumulus graves, which are located on the east side of the foothill. The stone is cut properly limited to the drum cylinder which bonds the top of the burial chamber. The grave room is accessible from the corridor dramos.

These tombs belonged to rich families. Poor families' tombs were carved into the rock and are simple. On the north side of the city, the graves made as the 2nd and the 3rd, are generally surrounded by walls and they have gardens decorated with flowers and trees (especially cypress). Grave monuments which are completely made of travertine, show different types; like simple lahids, and home kind graves which has two or more lahids on it. On the sarcophagus that holds the lahid, there is an inscription written in Greek (bomas, "altar"). "Bomas" was used as symbol which stresses that with the connection of a dead body of a person in high position, his or her remembrance will be exalted. These monuments have the same functions with heroon. (The grave monuments made for celebrating are for the heroes' and important persons’ who are believed to become gods after they die.)

A raised relief on the Sarcophagus of a certain Marcus Aurelius Ammianos, a local miller, depicts the earliest known machine to incorporate a crank and connecting rod.[23] On the pediment a waterwheel fed by a mill race is shown powering via a gear train two frame saws cutting rectangular blocks by the way of connecting rods and, through mechanical necessity, cranks (see diagram). The accompanying inscription is in Greek.[24]

In June 2014 the sarcophagus was stored at the Hierapolis Museum and not displayed.

Southern Necropolis

On the right side, fascinating signs of the earthquake can be seen. Large travertine area is completely demolished. The rectangle and hallow graves, which may be simpler and older than the necropolis, attracts attention. While digging, experts in Denizli Museum, found a grave with long inscriptions. Close to it, Epigraphic marble blocks had been founded which are dated to the Early Hellenistic Period. On the North side of the area, digging works are going on. On the hillside, Byzantine ramparts, on the grave builds, marble lahids had been founded. This lahids are staying on a stone base. The roof that built with cob brick is covered with tiles. This was a new style in this period, and inside the grave it is decorated with coloured wall paintings.

On the way to Laodikeia and Colossae is another grave related to the Necropolis. This is the grave of Tiberius Cladius Talamos, whose name was written in the long epigraph, and it attracts attention due to the resemblance of its facade to a home.


The St. Philip Martyrium stands on top of the hill outside the northeastern section of the city walls. It dates from the 5th century. It was said that Philip was buried in the center of the building and, though his tomb has recently been unearthed, the exact location has not yet been verified.[25] The Martyrium burned down at the end of the 5th or early 6th century, as attested by fire marks on the columns. Philip is said to have been martyred in Hierapolis by being crucified upside-down[26] or by being hung upside down by his ankles from a tree.

Hierapolis martyrium Filipa2 RB
Tomb of Philip the Apostle Hierapolis
Tomb of Philip the Apostle, Hierapolis

The martyrium is usually taken to have been named after the Christian apostle Philip but from early times there has been some dispute as to the actual identity of "Philip of Hierapolis".[27] This confusion started with a report by Polycrates of Ephesus in his Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History [28] and in his controversial letter written to Victor of Rome towards the end of the 2nd century. In the letter, he reports that the graves of Philip "of the twelve apostles", and of his two aged virgin daughters were in (the Phrygian) Hierapolis; a third daughter, "who had lived in the Holy Ghost", was buried at Ephesus. With this may be compared the testimony of Clement of Alexandria, who incidentally speaks of "Philip the Apostle" as having begotten children and as having given daughters in marriage.

On the other hand, Proclus, one of the interlocutors in the "Dialogue of Caius", a writing of somewhat later date than the letter of Polycrates, mentions "four prophetesses, the daughters of Philip at Hierapolis in Asia, whose tomb and that of their father are to be seen there", where the mention of the daughters prophesying identifies the person meant with the Philip of Acts.[29] Early traditions say this Philip was martyred by hanging in Phrygia.[30] and was also known as "Philip the Apostle". The reasons for setting aside the evangelist identification, and for holding that the Philip who lived at Hierapolis was the Apostle are stated by Lightfoot, Colossians (2).[31] Fresh confirmation of his view was afforded by the discovery of an inscription at Hierapolis, showing that the church there was dedicated to the memory "of the holy and glorious apostle and theologian Philip."Early traditions say this Philip was martyred by hanging in Phrygia.[30] and was also known as "Philip the Apostle".

The martyrium had a special design, probably executed by an architect of a Byzantine emperor. It has a central octagonal structure with a diameter of 20 metres (66 ft) under a wooden dome which is covered with lead tiles. This is surrounded with eight rectangular rooms, each accessible via three arches. Four were used as entrances to the church, the other four as chapels. The space between the eight rooms was filled with heptagonal chapels with a triangular apse. The dome above the apse was decorated with mosaics. The whole structure was surrounded by an arcade with marble columns. All the walls were covered with marble panels.

In 2011, it was announced that Philip's gravesite may have been discovered about 40 metres (130 ft) from the Martyrium.

Antique Pool

Especially in the period of the Roman Empire, Hierapolis and its site were a health center. In those years, thousands of people used to come to the baths, of which there are more than 15, and they found their remedy in those baths. Today's Antique Pool was shaped by the earthquake which happened in the 7th century AD. The marble portico with Ionic arrangement fell into the spring during that earthquake.

Cleopatra's Pool

The water in the thermal pool is 36–57 °C, pH value is 5.8 and radon value is 1480 pCi/l. The spa water contains bicarbonate, sulphate and carbon dioxide, as well as iron and radioactive combination. The water in this spring is suitable for taking showers and drinking cures, 2430 MG/liter melt metal value.

The Baths

Another set of baths was constructed outside the north gate at the beginning of the 3rd century AD. This building was converted into a church in the early Christian era (c. 5th century). It is apparent that the building had stuccoed, vaulted ceilings and that the halls were decorated with marble slabs.


Pools in Hierapolis
Pools in Hierapolis

The Roman Bath, one of the biggest buildings of Hierapolis antique city, has been used as the site of the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum since 1984.

In this museum, alongside the historical artifacts which were found in Hierapolis, there are some artifacts from Laodiceia, Colossae, Tripolis, Attuda and other towns of the Lycos (Çürüksu) valley. In addition to these, the museum has a large section devoted to artifacts found at Beycesultan Hüyük and which includes some of the most beautiful examples of Bronze Age craft.

Artifacts which have come from the Caria, Pisidia and Lydia regions are also on display in this museum. The museum's exhibition space consists of three closed areas of the Hierapolis Bath and open areas in the eastern side, which are known to have been used as the library and the gymnasium. The artifacts in the open exhibition space are mostly marble and stone.

Tombs and Statues Gallery

This room contains finds from the excavations in Hierepolis and Laodiceia, including sarcophagi, statues, gravestones, pedestals, pillars and inscriptions. Among these artifacts there are statues of Tyche, Dionysus, Pan, Asklepios, Isis, Demeter and Trion which, although executed by the Romans, were inspired by the Hellenistic tradition. The representations of local customs on family tombs are particularly interesting.

The most beautiful examples of baked earth sarcophagi are specific to this area. One of the most valuable works of art in this room is the sarcophagus belonging to a certain Arhom, of the 'Sidemare' type. On it is an inscription to Maximilian, and it is the finest work to emerge from the ancient towns of Lahdi and Laodicia.

Small Artifacts Gallery

In this room, there are small findings from several civilizations of the last 4,000 years. These works, which are displayed in chronological order include works from many archaeological sites in and around Denizli. A special importance is given to the findings from Beycesultan Höyük. These discoveries are an example of an ancient civilization. These works, which were found in the excavation conducted by the British Institute of Archaeology include idols, baked earth bowls, libation cups, seals and other stone artifacts. In other parts of the room are displayed objects from the Frigan, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine period such as glass cups, necklaces, gemstones (in the form of rings, bracelets, earrings and so on) and earthenware lamps. This room also contains an important sequence of ancient coins arranged in chronological order. The earliest of these coins were minted in the 6th century AD and the display proceeds through the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Selçuk and Ottoman periods with coins of gold, silver and bronze.

Theater's Ruins Gallery

In this room, decorative works from the theater of Hierapolis, most of which have been restored, are displayed. Some of the reliefs of the scenery building remain in site but parts of them have been replaced by copies. In the works that are found in the room there are reliefs devoted to the myth of Apollo and Artemis, the delights of Dionysos and the coronotion of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. There are depictions of the abduction of Persephone by Hades, Apollo, Leto, Artemis, and Hades and sculpted sphinxes. Sculpted relief reminiscent of Attalus and Eumenes are on display. Inscriptions describing the coronation of the goddess Hierapolis and decisions of the assembly concerning the theater may be seen.

Notable residents

  • Epictetus
  • Philip the apostle ( according to both The Urantia Book and recent scientific discoveries )


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  20. ^ [2], "Turkey Travel Guide", from Istanbul Hotels website
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2007-09-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link), from Peten Tours (website reference no longer available)
  22. ^ "'Gate to Hell' found in Turkey". foxnews.com. 1 April 2013. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  23. ^ a b Ritti, Grewe & Kessener 2007, p. 161
  24. ^ Ritti, Grewe & Kessener 2007, pp. 139–141
  25. ^ "Tomb of St. Philip the Apostle Discovered in Turkey". Foxnews. 2011-07-27. Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  26. ^ "Acts of Philip". Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1924. Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-09-29.
  27. ^ "Philip the Evangelist". Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Retrieved 2007-09-29.
  28. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea. "Chapter XXXI.—The Death of John and Philip". Historia Ecclesiae. Archived from the original on 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2007-09-29.
  29. ^ Acts 6:1–7; 21:8–9.
  30. ^ a b "Acts 21:8–9 Philip the evangelist". Archived from the original on 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2007-09-29.
  31. ^ note 3, p. 45 seq


  • Giorgio Bejor. Hierapolis. Le statue. vol. 3, Roma, Giorgio Bretschneider, 1991. ISBN 8876890637.
  • Francesco D'Andria. Hierapolis. Le sculture del teatro. I rilievi con i cicli di Apollo e Artemide. vol. 2, Roma, Giorgio Bretschneider, 1985. ISBN 8876890866.
  • Grewe, Klaus (2009). "Die Reliefdarstellung einer antiken Steinsägemaschine aus Hierapolis in Phrygien und ihre Bedeutung für die Technikgeschichte. Internationale Konferenz 13.−16. Juni 2007 in Istanbul". In Bachmann, Martin (ed.). Bautechnik im antiken und vorantiken Kleinasien (PDF). Byzas. 9. Istanbul: Ege Yayınları/Zero Prod. Ltd. pp. 429–454. ISBN 978-975-8072-23-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-11.
  • Filippo Masino, Giorgio Sobrà, La frontescena severiana del Teatro di Hierapolis di Frigia. Architettura decorazione e maestranze, in Sebastiano Ramallo, Nicole Röring (eds.) La scaenae frons en la arquitectura teatral romana, Cartagena 2010. ISBN 9788483719954.
  • Filippo Masino, Giorgio Sobrà, A monumental Altar of Hadrianic age at Hierapolis in Phrygia, in Trinidad Nogale Basarrate, Isabel Rodà I Llanza (eds.), Roma y Las Provincias. Modelo y Difusión, Roma 2011, Vol. I, 169–181.
  • Filippo Masino, Giorgio Sobrà, Ricerche e interventi nel Teatro, in Francesco D'Andria, Maria Piera Caggia, Tommaso Ismaelli (ed.s), Hierapolis di Frigia V. Le attività delle campagne di scavo e restauro 2004–2006, Istanbul 2012, 207–233.
  • Ritti, Tullia; Grewe, Klaus; Kessener, Paul (2007). "A Relief of a Water-powered Stone Saw Mill on a Sarcophagus at Hierapolis and its Implications". Journal of Roman Archaeology. 20. pp. 138–163.
  • Giorgio Sobrà, The analysis of the fragments from the scaenae frons of the Theatre at Hierapolis, in Filippo Masino. Giorgio Sobrà (eds.), Restoration and Management of Ancient Theatres in Turkey, Lecce 2012, 183–204. ISBN 978-88-6766-026-1.

External links

Agapius of Hierapolis

Mahbūb ibn-Qūṣṭānṭīn (Arabic: محبوب إبن قسطنطين‎, Christian name anglicised as Agapius son of Constantine) (d.941-2 AD) was a 10th-century Arabic Christian writer and historian, best known for his lengthy Kitab al-'Unwan (Book of headings or History). He was the Melkite bishop of Manbij (Mabbug, Hierapolis Bambyce), in Syria.

Alexander of Hierapolis (Syria)

Alexander of Hierapolis (Gr. Ἀλέξανδρος) (fl. 431) was a bishop of Hierapolis Bambyce in Roman Syria.Alexander was sent by John, bishop of Antioch, to advocate the cause of Nestorius at the Council of Ephesus. His hostility to Cyril of Alexandria was such that he openly charged him with Apollinarism, and rejected the communion of John, Theodoret, and the other Eastern bishops, on their reconciliation with him. He appealed to the pope, but was rejected, and was at last banished by the emperor Theodosius II to the mines of Famothis in Egypt, where he died. Twenty-three letters of his are extant in Latin in the Nova Collectio Conciliorum of Étienne Baluze, p. 670, &c. Paris, 1683.


Alphaeus (from Greek: Ἀλφαῖος) is a man mentioned in the New Testament as the father of two of the Twelve Apostles, namely:

Saint Matthew

James, son of AlphaeusThere were two men named Alphaeus. One of them was the father of the apostle James and the other the father of Matthew (Levi). Though both Matthew and James are described as being the "son of Alphaeus," there is no Biblical account of the two being called brothers, even in the same context where John and James or Peter and Andrew are described as being brothers.

Alphaeus is traditionally identified with Clopas, based on the identification from parallel Gospel accounts of Mary, the mother of James the third woman with Mary Magdalene and Salome wife of Zebedee beside the cross in Matthew with Mary, the wife of Clopas, the third woman in John's account.

According to the surviving fragments of the work Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord of the Apostolic Father Papias of Hierapolis, who lived c. 70–163 AD, Cleophas and Alphaeus are the same person: "Mary the wife of Cleophas or Alphaeus, who was the mother of James the bishop and apostle, and of Simon and Thaddeus, and of one Joseph" According to the Anglican theologian J.B. Lightfoot this fragment quoted above is spurious.The Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that etymologically, the names Clopas and Alphaeus are different, but that they could still be the same person. Other sources propose that Alphaeus, Clophas and Cleophas are variant attempts to render the Aramaic H in Aramaic Hilfai into Greek as aspirated, or K.

Castabala (city)

Castabala (Greek: Καστάβαλα), also known as Hieropolis and Hierapolis (Greek: Ίεράπολις) was a city in Cilicia (modern southern Turkey), near the Ceyhan River (ancient Pyramus).

The Turkish town of Kırmıtlı, in the Osmaniye district of Osmaniye Province, sits atop the ruins of the ancient city.

Comana (Cappadocia)

Comana was a city of Cappadocia (Greek: τὰ Κόμανα τῆς Καππαδοκίας) and later Cataonia (Latin: Comana Cataoniae; frequently called Comana Chryse or Aurea, i.e. "the golden", to distinguish it from Comana in Pontus). The Hittite toponym Kummanni is considered likely to refer to Comana, but the identification is not considered proven. Its ruins are at the modern Turkish village of Şar, Tufanbeyli district, Adana Province.


Denizli is an industrial city in the southwestern part of Turkey and the eastern end of the alluvial valley formed by the river Büyük Menderes, where the plain reaches an elevation of about three hundred and fifty metres (1,148 ft). Denizli is located in the country's Aegean Region.

The city has a population of about 577,000 (2013 census). This is a jump from 389,000 in 2007, due to the merger of 13 municipalities and 10 villages when the area under Denizli Municipality jurisdiction increased almost fivefold and the population around 50 percent. Denizli (Municipality) is the capital city of Denizli Province.

Denizli has seen economic development in the last few decades, mostly due to textile production and exports.Denizli also attracts visitors to the nearby mineral-coated hillside hot spring of Pamukkale, and with red color thermal water spa hotels Karahayıt, just 5 kilometres (3 miles) north of Pamukkale. Recently, Denizli became a major domestic tourism destination due to the various types of thermal waters in Sarayköy, Central/Denizli (where Karahayıt and Pamukkale towns are located), Akköy (Gölemezli), Buldan (Yenicekent), and Çardak districts.

The ancient ruined city of Hierapolis, as well as ruins of the city of Laodicea on the Lycus, the ancient metropolis of Phrygia. Also in the depending of Honaz, about 10 mi (16 km) west of Denizli is, what was, in the 1st century AD, the city of Colossae.

The weather is hot in Denizli in summers, whereas in winters, it may occasionally be very cold with snow on the mountains that surround the city. Some years, snow can be observed in the urban areas. Springs and autumns are rainy, mild climate, warm.

Denizli Province

Denizli Province (Turkish: Denizli ili) is a province of Turkey in Western Anatolia, on high ground above the Aegean coast. Neighbouring provinces are Uşak to the north, Burdur, Isparta, Afyon to the east, Aydın, Manisa to the west and Muğla to the south. It is located between the coordinates 28° 30’ and 29° 30’ E and 37° 12’ and 38° 12’ N. It covers an area of 11,868 km2, and the population is 931,823. The population was 750,882 in 1990. The provincial capital is the city of Denizli.

Diocese of Hierapolis

The Diocese of Hierapolis in Phrygia, was a Christian bishopric in Phrygia (modern central Turkey).

Through the influence of the Christian apostle Paul, a church was founded at Hierapolis while he was at Ephesus. The Christian apostle Philip spent the last years of his life here. The town's martyrium was alleged to have been built upon the spot where Philip was crucified in AD 80. His daughters were also said to have acted as prophetesses in the region.During the 4th century, Christianity had become the dominant religion and begun suppressing other faiths in the area. A see of the province of Phrygia Pacatiana, the Byzantine emperor Justinian I raised the bishop of Hierapolis to the rank of metropolitan bishop in 531. The city's Roman baths were transformed into a Christian basilica. During the Byzantine period, the city continued to flourish and also remained an important centre for Christianity. Tiberiopolis was a suffragan see.

Hierapolis (Phrygian Pentapolis)

Hierapolis /ˌhaɪəˈræpəlɪs/ (Ancient Greek: Ἱεράπολις) was a town of the Phrygian Pentapolis in ancient Phrygia, inhabited during Roman and Byzantine times.Its site is located near Koçhisar in Asiatic Turkey.

Hierapolis sawmill

The Hierapolis sawmill is believed to be a water-powered stone sawmill at Hierapolis, Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). Dating to the second half of the 3rd century, the sawmill is considered the earliest known machine to combine a crank with a connecting rod, although neither clear ancient scripts nor engineering drawings were yet found to support this theory.Some archaeologists believe that the watermill is evidenced by a raised relief on the sarcophagus of a certain Marcus Aurelius Ammianos, a local miller. On the pediment a waterwheel fed by a mill race is shown powering via a gear train two frame saws cutting rectangular blocks by the way of connecting rods and, through mechanical necessity, cranks (see diagram). The accompanying inscription is in Greek and attributes the mechanism to Ammianos' "skills with wheels".


The term logia (Greek: λόγια), plural of logion (Greek: λόγιον), is used variously in ancient writings and modern scholarship in reference to communications of divine origin. In pagan contexts, the principal meaning was "oracles", while Jewish and Christian writings used logia in reference especially to "the divinely inspired Scriptures". A famous and much-debated occurrence of the term is in the account by Papias of Hierapolis on the origins of the canonical Gospels. Since the 19th century, New Testament scholarship has tended to reserve the term logion for a divine saying, especially one spoken by Jesus, in contrast to narrative, and to call a collection of such sayings, as exemplified by the Gospel of Thomas, logia.


Manbij (Arabic: منبج‎, Kurdish: Minbic‎) is a city in the northeast of Aleppo Governorate in northern Syria, 30 kilometers west of the Euphrates. In the 2004 census by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Manbij had a population of nearly 100,000. The population of Manbij is largely Arab, with Kurdish, Circassian and Chechen minorities. Many of its residents practice Naqshbandi Sufism. On the course of the Syrian Civil War, the city was first captured by rebels in 2012, later overrun by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in 2014 and finally captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces in 2016. Since 2018, upon agreement wih SDF, Syrian Arab Army was deployed on the city's periphery as a buffer between Turkish occupation of Northern Syria and Rojava-controlled Shahba Canton.


Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a natural site in Denizli in southwestern Turkey. The area is famous for a carbonate mineral left by the flowing water. It is located in Turkey's Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which has a temperate climate for most of the year.

The ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis was built on top of the white "castle" which is in total about 2,700 metres (8,860 ft) long, 600 m (1,970 ft) wide and 160 m (525 ft) high. It can be seen from the hills on the opposite side of the valley in the town of Denizli, 20 km away.

Known as Pamukkale (Cotton Castle) or ancient Hierapolis (Holy City), this area has been drawing the weary to its thermal springs since the time of Classical antiquity. The Turkish name refers to the surface of the shimmering, snow-white limestone, shaped over millennia by calcium-rich springs. Dripping slowly down the vast mountainside, mineral-rich waters foam and collect in terraces, spilling over cascades of stalactites into milky pools below. Legend has it that the formations are solidified cotton (the area's principal crop) that giants left out to dry.Tourism is and has been a major industry in the area for thousands of years, due to the attraction of the thermal pools. As recently as the mid-20th century, hotels were built over the ruins of Hierapolis, causing considerable damage. An approach road was built from the valley over the terraces, and motor bikes were allowed to go up and down the slopes. When the area was declared a World Heritage Site, the hotels were demolished and the road removed and replaced with artificial pools.Overshadowed by natural wonder, Pamukkale's well-preserved Roman ruins and museum have been remarkably underestimated and unadvertised; tourist brochures over the past 20 years have mainly featured photos of people bathing in the calcium pools. Aside from a small footpath running up the mountain face, the terraces are all currently off-limits, having suffered erosion and water pollution at the feet of tourists.

Papias of Hierapolis

Papias (Greek: Παπίας) was a Greek Apostolic Father, Bishop of Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale, Turkey), and author who lived c. 60–163 AD. It was Papias who wrote the Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord (Greek: Λογίων Κυριακῶν Ἐξήγησις) in five books.

This work, which is lost apart from brief excerpts in the works of Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 180) and Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 320), is an important early source on Christian oral tradition and especially on the origins of the canonical Gospels.

Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem

Diodoros or Diodorus Greek: Διόδωρος; born Damianos G. Karivalis Greek: Δαμιανός Γ. Καρίβαλης (August 14, 1923 – December 20, 2000) was the Patriarch of Jerusalem in the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem from 1980 to 2000.

He was born on the Greek island of Chios on August 14, 1923. He became a monk in 1943 and was renamed Diodoros. Three years later he became a priest, then an archbishop of Hierapolis in 1965. He served in Hierapolis prior to his election and was Patriarchal Exarch in Amman, Jordan, until 1980 when he was raised to the Patriarchate.

Philoxenus of Mabbug

Philoxenus of Mabbug (Syriac: ܐܟܣܢܝܐ ܡܒܘܓܝܐ, Aksenāyâ Mabûḡāyâ) (died 523), also known as Xenaias and Philoxenus of Hierapolis, was one of the most notable Syriac prose writers and a vehement champion of Miaphysitism.


A ploutonion (Ancient Greek: Πλουτώνιον, lit. "Place of Pluto") is a sanctuary specially dedicated to the ancient Greek and Roman god Pluto (better known as Hades ). Only a few such shrines are known from classical sources, usually at locations that produce poisonous emissions and were considered to represent an entrance to the underworld.

At Eleusis, the ploutonion was near the north entrance to the sacred district (temenos). It was built by Peisistratos in the 6th century BC and rebuilt two centuries later, when the Eleusinian mysteries were at the height of their influence. The cave was the traditional site of the birth of the Divine Child Ploutos.

The Greek geographer Strabo mentioned three sites as having a ploutonion. One was on a hill between Tralleis and Nysa. Its precinct encompassed a sacred grove, a temple of Plouton and Persephone, and an adjoining cave called the Charonion, after the ferryman of the dead. According to Strabo, it "possesses some singular physical properties" and served as a shrine for healing and a dream oracle (incubation).

Pluto's Gate, the ploutonion at Phrygian Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale in Turkey), was connected to the local cult of Cybele. Inhaling its vapors was said to be lethal to all living things except the Galli, the goddess's eunuch priests. During the Roman Imperial era, the cult of Apollo subsumed existing religious sites there, including the ploutonion. Archaeological excavations in the 1960s showed that the ploutonion had been located within the sacred precinct of Apollo: "it consisted of a natural opening along a wall of travertine, leading to a grotto in which streams of hot water gushed forth to release a noxious exhalation". This site was also associated with a dream oracle; the Neoplatonist Damascius dreamed that he was Attis in the company of the Great Mother.

Strabo further records that Lake Avernus in Italy had been taken as a ploutonion because the gases it produced were so noxious that they overwhelmed birds flying overhead. According to earlier sources, he says, this was the oracle of the dead (nekumanteion) sought by Odysseus in Book 11 of the Odyssey; Strabo, however, seems not to have himself regarded Avernus as a ploutonion.

There was a Ploutonion at Acharaca.

Ploutonion at Hierapolis

The Ploutonion at Hierapolis (Ancient Greek: Πλουτώνειον Ploutōneion, lit "Place of Pluto"; Latin: Plutonium) or Pluto's Gate was a ploutonion (a religious site dedicated to the god Pluto) in the ancient city of Hierapolis near Pamukkale in modern Turkey's Denizli Province. The site was discovered in 1965 by Italian archaeologists, who published reports on their excavations throughout the decade. In 2013, it was further explored by Italian archaeologists led by Francesco D'Andria, a professor of archaeology at the University of Salento. As part of a restoration project, a replica of the marble statue of Hades and Cerberus has been restored to its original place. The statue is known to have been there in ancient times.


A sawmill or lumber mill is a facility where logs are cut into lumber. Modern saw mills use a motorized saw to cut logs lengthwise to make long pieces, and crosswise to length depending on standard or custom sizes (dimensional lumber). The "portable" saw mill is iconic and of simple operation—the logs lay flat on a steel bed and the motorized saw cuts the log horizontally along the length of the bed, by the operator manually pushing the saw. The most basic kind of saw mill consists of a chainsaw and a customized jig ("Alaskan saw mill"), with similar horizontal operation.

Before the invention of the sawmill, boards were made in various manual ways, either rived (split) and planed, hewn, or more often hand sawn by two men with a whipsaw, one above and another in a saw pit below. The earliest known mechanical mill is the Hierapolis sawmill, a Roman water-powered stone mill at Hierapolis, Asia Minor dating back to the 3rd century AD. Other water-powered mills followed and by the 11th century they were widespread in Spain and North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, and in the next few centuries, spread across Europe. The circular motion of the wheel was converted to a reciprocating motion at the saw blade. Generally, only the saw was powered, and the logs had to be loaded and moved by hand. An early improvement was the development of a movable carriage, also water powered, to move the log steadily through the saw blade.

By the time of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the circular saw blade had been invented, and with the development of steam power in the 19th century, a much greater degree of mechanisation was possible. Scrap lumber from the mill provided a source of fuel for firing the boiler. The arrival of railroads meant that logs could be transported to mills rather than mills being built besides navigable waterways. By 1900, the largest sawmill in the world was operated by the Atlantic Lumber Company in Georgetown, South Carolina, using logs floated down the Pee Dee River from the Appalachian Mountains. In the 20th century the introduction of electricity and high technology furthered this process, and now most sawmills are massive and expensive facilities in which most aspects of the work is computerized. Besides the sawn timber, use is made of all the by-products including sawdust, bark, woodchips, and wood pellets, creating a diverse offering of forest products.

Black Sea
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East Anatolia
Southeastern Anatolia
Black Sea
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Eastern Anatolia
Archaeological museums in Turkey
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