Hierapolis, Pamukkale, Turkey

The extensive ruins of the Roman mineral water spa city of Hierapolis include a grand theater, a vast North Necropolis(cemetery), colonnaded streetbaths, and numerous other ruined structures.

Plan to spend 1 to 2 hours seeing the ruins and travertines, 3 if you’re very interested in Roman architecture.

If you have your own transport, drive to the north entrance (toward Karahayıt), park, and walk through the kilometer-long North Necropolis with Roman tombs large and small, simple and elaborate.

Hierapolis, it would appear, was a place many sick people came in search of a cure, but died instead. One of these was the Apostle Philip, who died while on a visit here with his daughter in the year 80. Ruins of his grand martyrium (monumental tomb of a martyr) lie up the hill and just outside the city walls.

There is another extensive necropolis on the hill to the east of the city.

Driving from the north entrance, but before reaching the main part of the plateau with its Antique Pool and theater, you pass the colonnaded street on the left, with the Arch of Domitian at its northern end. The arch, built about the year 82 or 83 by Julius Frontinus, Proconsul of Asia, in honor of his emperor.

The grand street has been excavated and partly restored, and is worth a stroll along its giant paving stones from the Arch to the southern end.

At the center of the plateau are the Antique PoolArcheological Museum, and the calcium travertines.

Up the hill about a 10-minute walk from the Antique Pool is the great Roman theater. Restored by Italian artisans in 1972, it was capable of seating more than 12,000 spectators.

—by Tom Brosnahan

Roman Theater

Hierapolis Museum


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