Pamukkale and Hierapolis
Pamukkale is a region abundant with thermal water sources believed to have healing effects. With this characteristic, it has always attracted attention, and people have settled in Pamukkale and its surroundings to benefit more from it. Pamukkale has transformed from an ancient pagan cult site to a spa center in modern times.
The white terraces are formed by the flow of thermal water, averaging 35°C and containing calcium bicarbonate at a rate of 250 liters per second. The region has 17 thermal water sources, with temperatures ranging from 33 to 100 degrees Celsius. Pamukkale derives its name from the resemblance of these formations, approximately 14,000 years old, to piles of cotton when viewed from a distance.
It is suggested that Hierapolis, which became part of the Pergamon kingdom and later came under the dominion of the Roman Empire, is a Phrygian city intertwined with Pamukkale. Until the major earthquake in 60 A.D., it maintained its original texture adhering to Hellenistic urbanization principles. However, it suffered significant damage from the earthquake during the reign of Nero and was completely rebuilt. Subsequently, the city appeared Roman, losing its Hellenistic character. Hierapolis became an important center during the Byzantine period as well. Anatolia's largest ancient cemetery is the region's northern necropolis, with more than 2000 tombs. In addition to empty sarcophagi and some tumuli, large tombs containing several bodies attract the most attention. Most of these tombs belong to Christians, and it is thought that at least one prominent Christian basilica existed in Hierapolis. Many devout Christians wanted to be buried as close as possible to where Apostle Philip was martyred in the 1st century A.D. A particular society maintained the cemetery gardens, which took on the duty of placing wreaths on the tombs on special occasions.
After the northern necropolis, the Roman bath, built in the 2nd or 3rd century A.D., was probably converted into a basilica during the early Christian period, around the 5th century A.D.
The city has a main street approximately 1 km long and 14 m wide. This street divides the settlement from one end to the other. On both sides of the street are stores, warehouses, shops, and public buildings. The road is adorned with monumental gates at both ends, and a closed sewer system runs through the middle with stone blocks covering it. A small church is on the left side of the Frontinus Gate. Immediately after this small Byzantine church, there is a well-preserved structure with a Doric order, which was later identified as a latrine.
The extensive Roman bath, dating back to the 2nd century A.D., currently serves as a miniature museum where the surrounding archaeological objects are exhibited.
On the high plateau where Hierapolis was founded, there was a hole known that poisonous gasses emanated from this hole, and people of that time called it "Plutonium." This place is the temple of the God of the Dead, Pluto (Hades). The entrance to the Plutonium is on the right side of the temple, and the door is emphasized with a niche decorated with seashell motifs. Above the entrance, there is a round aedicula.
The theater, with a seating capacity of approximately 20,000, believed to have been restored in the 3rd century A.D., allows water shows to be performed with modifications made in the 4th century A.D. in the orchestra section.
The high and lion-footed progeria seating rows are believed to have been reserved for influential individuals, maybe even Emperor Caracalla. The Cavea combines with the magnificent stage building to form a single structure. Only the ground floor of the stage building has survived to the present day. This structure is adorned with spiral columns, composite capitals, and a marble cornice. The niches with seashell-shaped means contain decorations such as peacocks, predatory animals with serpent bodies, and crowns.
Hierapolis was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.