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General Information About Hierapolis

Hierapolis is an ancient Hellenistic city located in present-day Pamukkale, known as the city of the cotton castle, in Turkey, specifically in the province of Denizli.

Ancient Hierapolis today lies in ruins, however it continues to be impressive and one of the most important traces of Roman and Hellenic civilization. Thanks to these incredible archaeological finds, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1998.

In order to reach Hierapolis, it is necessary to first pass through Pamukkale and its famous white travertine pools, a fascinating natural heritage that gives the city its name and world fame. This is why we can say that a visit to Hierapolis has an incredible natural and historical-cultural wealth.

Some of the treasures that you will find in Hierapolis are temples dedicated to the Greco-Roman Gods, fountains, caves, baths, tombs and even a magnificent theater.

Without a doubt, it is a city to fully immerse you in ancient times, after walking barefoot through the white castle of natural sediments and submerging yourself in the pool of Cleopatra VIII herself.

Hierapolis: the Summer City of the Roman Nobles

Hierapolis was built around 180 BC by Eumenes II, the King of Pergamum at the time. The objective of this city was to function as a center for facilities close to the nearby hot spring area.

In this way, the Hellenic population could take advantage of the benefits of the curative waters with greater facilities.

During the first century, Hierapolis was partially destroyed by an earthquake, so it had to be rebuilt. This reconstruction was carried out in the 2nd and 3rd centuries; however, in the process, it lost its Hellenistic façade and was transformed into a Roman city, where Roman nobles came during the summer.

In the middle of the 14th century, Hierapolis suffered another earthquake, which completely destroyed it. That is why today we can only visit its ruins; however, there are still some very well-preserved parts.

Hierapolis Highlights

What to Eat If You Travel to Hierapolis

If you travel to Hierapolis, one thing is certain: you will eat very tasty food, since Turkish cuisine is the order of the day in this mythical city and you will find a great gastronomic offer, whether you want to sit down to eat in a restaurant or if you opt for the street food.

One of the dishes that you cannot stop trying is Döner kebab, a dish that you will find in any fast food stall and that is made with lamb, chicken or beef and is served with vegetables inside pita bread.

Also, another delicious dish is Dolma, which is made from vegetables, which are stuffed with meat, rice and spices. A true explosion of flavor that will fascinate you.

Another delight that you can find on your trip is Kofta, a skewer made from seasoned minced meat that you will surely find very tasty.

And if you are a fan of sweet things, without a doubt you should try Baklava, a delicious cake made of puff pastry and walnuts (or pistachios) that will win you over.

As for the drink, the star of Turkey is the tea, which is usually taken lukewarm with your meals.

Archaeological Museum of Hierapolis

One of the most striking attractions in Hierapolis is its fascinating archaeological museum, located in one of the largest and most imposing buildings in the area: the Bath Complex.

The ruins of the Baths are impressive, as its walls are covered in marble and the large rooms reserved for the Emperor and the celebrations make this construction a magical place.

The Archeology Museum has been in operation since 1984 and inside it houses works of art found in the excavations carried out in the place, as well as curious crafts and artifacts from the Bronze Age. You will also be able to see objects found in Caria, Pisidia, and Lydia.

Inside the museum, you will find three rooms. The first exhibits the findings from the excavations at Hierapolis and Laodicea, such as pedestals, columns, statues dedicated to various gods, and even impressive terracotta sarcophagi and representations of scenes from life that decorated the tombs.

In the second room, lots of objects used in ancient times in everyday life are exhibited, including a vast collection of coins and jewelry with precious stones.

Finally, in the third room, there are works of art that were found in the Hierapolis theater, where motifs related to the Gods prevail.

Sites of Interest of Hierapolis 

Hierapolis is one of the most outstanding archaeological jewels in Turkey, as its heritage has left traces of great value to bring us closer to the different ancient civilizations that passed through there and their worldviews.

Below, we mention some of the most amazing sites in Hierapolis that you cannot miss on your trip through this fascinating archaeological site.

  1. Plutonium. Known as the gateway to the Underworld, Plutonium was a grotto, to which, according to Strabo, pilgrims arrived from different parts of the world to carry out sacrifices in honor of Pluto, for which they paid the priests. During the excavations carried out by archaeologists in 1957, the possible location of the Plutonium was investigated near the temple of Apollo, in a place to which one descends by stairs with arcades. However, in 2012, another team of archaeologists found a cave by discovering numerous bird carcasses, whose cause of death was the toxic gases that came from the cave. And in 2013, upon discovering a 1.5 meter high statue of Cerberus, the theory that that cave was indeed Plutonium was confirmed.
  2. Theater. This fascinating ancient theater was built on a slope in the 2nd century and is one of the best preserved sites.
  3. Roman Baths. Here currently works the archaeological museum where we can not only marvel at the discoveries on display but also with the infrastructure of the place itself, which is impressive.
  4. Temple of Apollo. This was built during the Hellenistic era. And, although, after the earthquake and the reconstruction, it lost its central place and was reduced, still this construction will surprise you.
  5. Tomb of San Felipe. It is the tomb of the apostle, who also has his own monument on the site.
  6. Nympheum. This fountain has preserved its crescent-shaped façade since the 4th century, it will undoubtedly surprise you.
  7. Necropolis. Without a doubt, a fascinating stop for the most curious.
  8. The gates of the city of Hierapolis. These were built in different historical periods, so it is great to be able to observe the nuances of history in them.

What to Give If You Travel to Hierapolis

If you are planning a trip to Hierapolis and want to bring a gift to your loved ones, you should know that you will find different commercial stalls in the city where you can find the best presents.

There you will find, for example, statuettes of the Cotton Castle and extraordinary replicas of the objects exhibited in the museum, but in their version ready to take home.

Also, you will find the typical Turkish eye everywhere, an ancient amulet whose main function is to protect against envy, undoubtedly a nice present to cheer anyone up.

How to Get Around Hierapolis

As we have already mentioned, to get to Hierapolis it is necessary to enter Pamukkale. You can arrive from the airport by taxi, renting a car or, the most comfortable option: reserving your private transfer with Greca.

Once there, you will see a place where the cars are parked and you will have to take off your shoes to walk through the terraces of the fabulous cotton castle, as these travertine pools are usually called. Yes, walking! But don't worry; it's only a 30-minute tour.

If this does not convince you, there is another entrance through which you enter directly to Hierapolis, which can be reached by bus and, if you wish, visit the cotton castle after seeing the ruins of this city.

The ancient city can be explored perfectly on foot; do not forget to wear comfortable shoes.

Some Recommendations to Visit Hierapolis

Both Hierapolis and the Pamukkale pools were declared World Heritage Sites, so when you visit it is important that you remember to take care of the environment so that future generations can also enjoy these wonders.

Some time ago, these facilities had even more to offer travelers, however, irresponsible tourism ended up damaging the territory and, for example, today you cannot walk barefoot through the original travertine pools as they deteriorated due to little care.

It is for this reason that it is very important that you follow the rules and ask if you have any questions about how to proceed.

If you can, visit the old city and natural castle early in the day, as there is so much to see. Also, stay to watch the sunset if you want to be part of a magical postcard.

Finally, don't forget the sunscreen and enjoy your visit!

What to See and Do in Hierapolis

Hierapolis is an incredible destination thanks to its historical-cultural wealth since its ruins present an outstanding archaeological site in the midst of a magical natural environment.

Undoubtedly, it is one of the jewels of Turkey where you can immerse yourself in the mystery of past civilizations while walking on soil where the past has left its traces.

In turn, due to its proximity to Pamukkale and Ephesus, many tourists combine these destinations with their visit to Hierapolis.

Do you want to see the most impressive ruins of a Hellenic city? Would you like to visit an ancient theater or the mysterious Plutonium grotto? Do you want to marvel at the most amazing archaeological discoveries?

In that case, book your trip to Hierapolis right now. You can build your trip through Hierapolis with Greca according to your preferences and needs. Make your dreams come true today and travel to Hierapolis!

01
How much does it cost to eat in Hierapolis?

This will depend on the type of trip you want to take, however eating in Hierapolis is not very expensive and you will find great options even for less than two dollars.

02
What is the cheapest time to visit Hierapolis?

The low season of Hierapolis is from November to March, as it is its cool season. However, the attractions are open all year.

03
When is the best time to travel to Hierapolis?

We recommend you visit Hierapolis between the months of April to November, when you can enjoy the best temperatures. Although this fascinating site is always open.

04
What are the requirements to visit Hierapolis?

You must have a 6-month passport to enter anywhere in Turkey.

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