Remains of ancient ‘Holy City’ (Ancient Greek: Ἱεράπολις, lit. "Holy City"), Hierapolis, can be seen right behind the white cliffs of Pamukkale.

About Hierapolis

Eumen II, king of Greek Pergamon, founded it in the 2nd century BC believing in miraculous and healing power of water. He thought that if the water had such power to change the entire landscape, it must be incredibly good for people. Entrance to the city used to be just at the place where you can see the alley today. Allegedly, every visitor would be sent to these natural bathrooms, close to the entrance to wash themselves and relax (at the time infectious diseases were widespread) before they would come into ‘Holy City’.

Although the city is not located near sea or a river, it was very important and developed for that time. The main reason for this is due to the fact that the “Silk Road” was transiting through Hierapolis.

After many damages made by the earthquakes, the city was abandoned in the 14th century. Today we can visit the ruins of this ancient city with saved arcades, pillars, remains of temples, grand amphitheater, numerous sarcophagus, the tomb of apostolus Philip, remains of holy place devoted to Pluto, as well as necropolis and amazing ancient thermals that are part of Hierapolis and are not Pamukkale. They are also known as Cleopatra’s pools.

According to historians the Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, used to come here for nourishment and relaxing, especially during her marriage with Mark Antony. Even today, her fascinating life story is a great inspiration for writers, historians and playwrights. Cleopatra was well-educated. She knew history, geography, math and astronomy. She was a great strategist and patriot and spoke 9 languages. In ancient times, ‘spirit and mind’ were considered as the most valuable human values and for that matter, Cleopatra was inviolable.

During the golden era of Roman Empire, emperors would come to take a bath and today, anyone who is willing to pay 35 lira (around £8) can enjoy Cleopatra’s baths. (This is what you have to pay additionally as it doesn't have anything to do with the ticket you paid to enter Pamukkale which costs 20 Turkish lira or £4.60.)

Here you can find a restaurant, coffee shop, various cosmeticians’ services - from massages to ‘fish foot therapy’ or you can just lay in shades and take a nap. Left from the entrance to Ancient pool, there is a museum with wonderful artifacts. The museum works every day except Monday.

The region of Pamukkale and Hierapolis is protected by UNESCO since 1988.

The story of underworld

Italian archaeologists, who worked on many ancient excavations in Turkey, are claiming they have found mythological ‘gates of hell’, so called ‘plutonium'. According to Greek and Roman mythology this passage will take you to the underworld. The scientists believe that place is here, as the findings and looks of the places coincide with historical descriptions.

Among the ruins archaeologists have found a basement with ionic pillars and words directed at god and goddess of underworld, Pluto and Kori, written on them. They have also found remains of the temple, pool and stairway above the cave. All this corresponds with initial descriptions of this place in ancient texts that say that people could only see this holy place from the stairs.

Greek geographer Strabo described it in 65 BC in these words: “Plutonium is a hole, wide enough so a man can get in. It is quite deep. There is a fence around it, covered in thick fog from which you almost can’t see the place. The air outside the fence is quiet and if it’s not windy it is possible to get closer to the entrance. Yet, any being that would try to get in, would instantly die. The basement is full of steam and it’s difficult to see the ground. Animals that get in here, immediately die because of the poisonous gases.”

Toxic fumes in the cave are seen during the excavation and due to hallucinations they cause, the cave and healing springs in the nearby were place for pilgrimage for a long time. Pilgrims would usually sleepover nearby and the dreams they had here were considered predictive.

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