Hierapolis Ancient City: Cleopatra's Pool and Archaeology Museum

The ancient city of Hierapolis is called the Holy City in the language of archaeology due to the presence of temples and religious buildings. This city next to Pamukkale travertines is thought to be a Phrygian city.

The ancient geographer Strabo and Ptolemy, who thought that it was a Phrygian city, adopted this idea due to its proximity to the cities of Laodicea and Tripolis.

Ancient city of Hierapolis history

Although the city, which was named Hierapolis because of Hiera, the queen of the Amazons, the wife of Telephos, the founder of Vergama, preserved its originality until the great earthquake during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero, the earthquakes and reconstructions as a result of the collapses caused it to lose its Hellenistic characteristic and gave it a Roman appearance.

Denizli Pamukkale Hierapolis Antik Kenti Gezi Haritasi

Built 3000 years ago, unearthing these cities is a time-consuming task. The actual city of Hierapolis is 3-4 meters below where we see it now, because over the centuries it has been covered with soil and calcareous stones that form travertines.

This accumulation continues upwards. Unless time and budget are allocated, it seems very difficult to see these structures.

Hierapolis Antik Kenti Kalintilari
Hierapolis Antik Kenti Tarihi Sutun

It is also known as Pamukkale and Hierapolis National Park. As the earthquakes it suffered were added to new ones over time, only some of these structures have survived to the present day.

Frontinus Street, agora, south and north Byzantine gates, gymnasium, Apollo sanctuary, water canals, nympheums, plutonium and city walls can be identified.

Places to Visit in the Ancient City of Hierapolis

9,500-seat Ancient Theater: One of the best surviving structures is the ancient theater.

The 9500-seat theater indicates that the city population was 100,000, which means that the city had a very crowded population.

The fact that the first rows of the theater are 1 meter higher than the stage indicates that gladiator and wild animal fights were held here.

Hierapolis Antik Kenti Tiyatrosu Gezisi
Hierapolis Antik Kenti Tiyatrosu

Necropolis: The necropolis you can see in the city is one of the largest necropolis areas. On the foreheads of these tombs, grave owners write various curses to scare people, to prevent them from entering the tomb and to prevent the theft of the items they are buried with.

Family graves may also have the names of the grave owner himself, his wife, his family and his children written on them.

May the thief who dives on my grave find no land to walk on and no sea to watch. May the curse of the gods be upon him when he dies after a childless and unhappy life.

In the necropolis of the city, the tombs in the areas where Pamukkale travertines are located must be seen.

These tombs have been surrounded by travertines over time and some of the tombs have disappeared from sight.

Hierapolis Nekropol Travertenler Mezar
Hierapolis Nekropol Mezar

The most striking point of the city is a hole called Cin hole. Inside the cavity, also called Cehennemağzı, there is bubbling water. There is carbon dioxide in the water

. The minerals dissolve and turn into limestone stones, but the carbon dioxide is released into the air. We know that breathing carbon dioxide in closed spaces brings death.

Since most of the people who descended down here also died, this hole is also called the hole of Hades.

The Bath at the City Entrance: The Bath Basilica, located close to the Pamukkale travertines of the ancient city of Hierapolis, is located outside the city entrance.

As in many ancient cities in Anatolia, people who wanted to enter the city had to bathe before they could enter the city. This measure was very important both in terms of cleanliness and protection against infectious diseases.

Hierapolis Antik Kenti Hamami
Hierapolis Antik Kenti Hamami Bazilika

Church of St. Philippus Martyrion: Hierapolis witnessed the arrival of St. Philippus, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, to spread Christianity.

But St. Philippus was killed in 80 AD and a martyrdom was built in his name in the 4th century AD, when Christianity was the official religion of Hierapolis. Its octagonal shape symbolizes rebirth.

People who came here to reach the Sanctuary of St. Philippus had to cross a bridge. However, the bridge was destroyed and only its foundations remain today.

Today’s bridge shows the size of the ancient bridge. After the bridge, a 70-meter-long staircase was built in ancient times to reach the sanctuary.

Hierapolis Aziz Philippus Kutsal Alani Koprusu
Hierapolis Aziz Philippus Kutsal Alani Mezari

After the stairs, we finally reach the tomb of St. Philippus. The 3.5 x 4 meter tomb chamber is empty today, but when you look inside, you can see the beds where the dead were placed on three sides.

When you climb up the stairs next to the tomb, we come across the octagonal church called Martyrion. The reason why it is octagonal is because it is likened to the symbol of eternity.

It is thought that Philippus reached the rank of martyr here. Moreover, it was thought that his grave was in this church for years, but no trace of the grave was found. During the Byzantine period, the tomb of St. Philippus was moved to a new tomb.

Hierapolis Aziz Philippus Kutsal Alani Merdivenleri
Hierapolis Aziz Philippus Kutsal Alani Sekizgen Kilise

Cleopatra’s Antique Pool

The ancient city of Hierapolis knew that the thermal spring waters were a source of healing and during the Roman Empire, Hierapolis was called a health center, so tourists were welcomed to use the thermal waters in ancient times. Today, one of these thermal waters is still active. You can swim and relax in the Ancient Pool accompanied by the columns that broke into the pool after an earthquake.

Denizli Pamukkale Antik Havuz Gezisi
Hierapolis Tarihi Sutunlu Antik Havuz

Hierapolis Archaeology Museum

The Roman Bath, one of the largest buildings of the city, is one of the rare structures that have survived to the present day.

After climbing the Pamukkale travertines and passing the cafe, the building on the right is the Roman Baths and has been serving as the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum since 1984.

Hierapolis Arkeoloji Muzesi Lahitler
Hierapolis Arkeoloji Muzesi Gezi Yazisi

In addition to the finds from Hierapolis, artifacts from cities such as Laodikeia, Colossae, Tripolis and Attuda are also exhibited in the museum.

Be sure to see the Sidemara-type sarcophagus, one of the most valuable artifacts in the Hall of Sarcophagi and Sculptures, where works such as sarcophagi, statues, tombstones and column capitals are exhibited.

A few steps from this hall, you will reach the Hall of Small Works, where oil lamps, votive vessels, necklaces, jewelry and coins are collected. In the open area of the museum, marble and stone artifacts such as column capitals are on display.

Hierapolis Arkeoloji Muzesi Gezi Rehberi
Hierapolis Arkeoloji Muzesi Gezilecek Yerler

What is the entrance fee to Hierapolis Ancient City?

The entrance to the ancient city of Hierapolis is paid. You can either enter from the entrance gate of Pamukkale or from the upper gate of the ancient city. If you have a Müzekart, it is possible to enter for free.

Where is the Ancient City of Hierapolis and how to get there?

Since the ancient city of Hierapolis is in a central point, it is very easy to reach. Pamukkale is 18 kilometers from Denizli city center.

The distance of Hierapolis Ancient City from Çardak Airport is 70 km (55 minutes). If you do not have a private car, you can be in Pamukkale in about 25 minutes by minibuses departing from Denizli Bus Station.

If you are coming from the airport and do not have a private car, you can use BayTur to reach a certain point and then transfer to Pamukkale.

The attendants drop off the passengers who want to go to Pamukkale at a certain point. For those coming from Karahayıt, the distance to Hierapolis is 8km (15 minutes), while the distance to Laodikeia Ancient City is 13km (13 minutes).

What are the visiting hours of Hierapolis Ancient City?

Visiting hours are 08:00 – 21:00 during the summer season and 08:00 – 17:00 during the winter season. Pamukkale and Hierapolis Ancient City can be visited every day of the week, including Monday.