Hierapolis | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Hierapolis

Pamukkale, Aegean Region, Turkey

Lily Johnson

23 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Hierapolis

Hierapolis was once a thriving, multicultural ancient city and spa, the remains of which can now be seen in modern day Turkey.

Hierapolis history

Hierapolis is said to have been founded by the rulers of Pergamum, a powerful ancient Greek city in modern-day Turkey. A member of the Attalid Dynasty, its founding is usually attributed specifically to King Eumenes II (197BC-159BC), however it is suspected that Hierapolis was actually in existence a couple of centuries earlier.

Whatever the case, part of what made (and still makes) Hierapolis such an attractive site was its hot springs, once thought to have had miraculous healing properties. Visitors would travel to Hierapolis to take in the waters, something visitors still do today.

Most of the ruins at Hierapolis date from the Roman period. The Romans occupied Hierapolis in 129AD and the city grew into something of a multicultural haven, with Romans, Jews, Greco-Macedonians, and others living there side by side.

Of course, Hierapolis was not a complete utopia. In fact, it is said that Philip the Apostle was crucified there and the city suffered from devastating earthquakes, particularly in the 1st century.

Hierapolis today

There is plenty to see at Hierapolis today, including its vast ancient amphitheatre, Hellenistic layout and streets, many standing columns, the nymphaeum, and a large necropolis to name a few. As mentioned above, visitors can also take a dip in the hot springs, a unique experience.

As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Hierapolis is paired with the stunning natural site of Pamukkale, known as the Cotton Palace, which is nearby.

Getting to Hierapolis

Hierapolis is located in the town of Pamukkale in Turkey, and is best reached via Denizli bus station. There is a direct train from Izmir Basmane to Denizli which runs several times a day, with the journey taking about 4.5 hours. Shuttles from Denizli bus station run to Pamukkale regularly, with a minibus also available.

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