Main Attractions in Hierapolis

There is so much to see and do in Hieropolis. The sight of the cotton-white plateau formed by the calcium rich waters itself is fascinating. Hot water springs spout from under ground at a temperature of 35 degree centigrade. These are rich in calcium and carbon dioxide. The salt precipitates and is calcified as the water starts cooling. This water flowing down the mountainside over several years has caused the formation of steps. This is a wondrous sight for it looks like a collection of tiny fountains with a small pool behind each. In fact the Romans once built the city around a sacred warm water pool. Earlier you could walk through these pools, but this was eventually stopped as it spoiled the travertine. You are now allowed a swim in the pool for a small fee. These thermal pools are said have curative powers for ailments of the heart, kidney, nerves or rheumatism.

Among the ruins in Hieropolis, you must observe the city gates. These are actually victory arches and a fine example of Roman architecture.

The city baths with its massive walls and vaulted chambers are interesting examples of ancient engineering skills combined with fine artistry. The larger of them has two halls with pools, one for the emperor and the other for the athletes. The baths are complete with caldarium, tepidarium and frigidarium that are roofed with vaults. Hot air generated by furnaces flows through pipes to provide heating. Sunlight coming in from the large windows also helps in heating.

Another interesting monument to see would be the ancient theatre. Though once destroyed by an erthquake, it was later rebuilt against a hillside. The theatre is ornate and a fine example of theatre decoration. In fact so lavish was the decoration that despite their best efforts, the citizens could not complete the work. So you will find parts of it left incomplete. The theatre orchestra was also perhaps used for athletic events. You may observe that among the many reliefs and statues unearthed, the relief in the centre is dedicated to athletic events.

The visit to the Apollo Temple of this "sacred city" should form an important part of your itinerary. Apollo was presumably the residing deity of Hieropolis. The temple gives you an idea of cult worship prevalent in the Hellenistic period. The new temple is built over a cave called Plutonium from which a sort of poisonous gas is emitted. It is said that priests made use of this gas to stage miracles.

The other historically significant site in Hieropolis is the Necropolis. You must not miss this, as this is the best-preserved cemetery in Turkey. Here you will different types of tombs and funeral monuments of the Hellinistic and early Christian times.

Apart from this there are many churches of the Byzantine period, the Martyrium of St. Philip and the many fountains, which came up because of the abundant water supply in Hieropolis.

Above all, while at Hierapolis, you must pamper yourself and undergo a complete healthcare regimen at one of the hotels.