Hierapolis /ˌhaɪəˈræpəlɪs/ (Ancient Greek: Ἱεράπολις, lit. "Holy City") was an ancient Greek city located on hot springs in classical Phrygia in southwestern Anatolia. Its ruins are adjacent to modern Pamukkale in Turkey and currently comprise an archaeological museum designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site has the Tomb of Philip the Apostle. The hot springs have been used as a spa since the 2nd century BC, with many patrons retiring or dying there. The large necropolis is filled with sarcophagi, most famously that of Marcus Aurelius Ammianos, which bears a relief depicting the earliest known example of a crank and rod mechanism. The great baths were constructed with huge stone blocks without the use of cement and consisted of various closed or open sections linked together. There are deep niches in the inner section,including the bath, library, and gymnasium.
There are only a few historical facts known about the origin of the city. No traces of the presence of Hittites or Persians have been found. The Phrygians built a temple, probably in the first half of the 7th century BC. This temple, originally used by the citizens of the nearby town of Laodicea, would later form the centre of Hierapolis.
Hierapolis was founded as a thermal spa early in the 2nd century BC within the sphere of the Seleucid Empire. Antiochus the Great sent 2,000 Jewish families to Lydia and Phrygia from Babylon and Mesopotamia, later joined by more from Judea. The Jewish congregation grew in Hierapolis and has been estimated as high as 50,000 in 62 bc.The city was expanded with the booty from the 190 BC Battle of Magnesia where Antiochus the Great was defeated by the Roman ally Eumenes II. Following the Treaty of Apamea ending the Syrian War, Eumenes annexed much of Asia Minor, including Hierapolis.
Hierapolis became a healing centre where doctors used the thermal springs as a treatment for their patients. The city began minting bronze coins in the 2nd century BC. These coins give the name Hieropolis. It remains unclear whether this name referred to the original temple (ἱερόν, hieron) or honoured Hiera, the wife of Telephus, son of Heracles and the Mysian princess Auge, the supposed founder of Pergamon's Attalid dynasty. This name eventually changed into Hierapolis ("holy city"), according to the Byzantine geographer Stephanus on account of its large number of temples
In 133 BC, when Attalus III died, he bequeathed his kingdom to Rome. Hierapolis thus became part of the Roman province of Asia. In AD 17, during the rule of the emperor Tiberius, a major earthquake destroyed the city. Through the influence of the Christian apostle Paul, a church was founded here while he was at Ephesus. The Christian apostle Philip spent the last years of his life here. The town's Martyrium was alleged to have been built upon the spot where Philip was crucified in AD 80. His daughters were also said to have acted as prophetesses in the region.
In the year 60, during the rule of Nero, an even more severe earthquake left the city completely in ruins. Afterwards, the city was rebuilt in the Roman style with imperial financial support. It was during this period that the city attained its present form. The theatre was built in 129 for a visit by the emperor Hadrian. It was renovated under Septimius Severus (193–211). When Caracalla visited the town in 215, he bestowed the much-coveted title of neocoros upon it, according the city certain privileges and the right of sanctuary. This was the golden age of Hierapolis. Thousands of people came to benefit from the medicinal properties of the hot springs. New building projects were started: two Roman baths, a gymnasium, several temples, a main street with a colonnade, and a fountain at the hot spring. Hierapolis became one of the most prominent cities in the Roman Empire in the fields of the arts, philosophy, and trade. The town grew to 100,000 inhabitants and became wealthy. During his campaign against the Sassanid Shapur II in 370, the emperor Valens made the last-ever imperial visit to the city.
During the 4th century, the Christians filled Pluto's Gate (a ploutonion) with stones, suggesting that Christianity had become the dominant religion and begun displacing other faiths in the area. Originally a see of Phrygia Pacatiana, the Byzantine emperor Justinian raised the bishop of Hierapolis to the rank of metropolitan in 531. The Roman baths were transformed to a Christian basilica. During the Byzantine period, the city continued to flourish and also remained an important centre for Christianity.
Temple of Apollo
A temple was raised to Apollo Lairbenos, the town's principal god during the late Hellenistic period. This Apollo was linked to the ancient Anatolian sun god Lairbenos and the god of oracles Kareios. The site also included temples or shrines to Cybele, Artemis, Pluto, and Poseidon. Now only the foundations of the Hellenistic temple remain. The temple stood within a peribolos (15 by 20 metres (49 by 66 ft)) in Doric style. The structures of the temple are later, though the presence of two Ionic capitals in the Museum (see under Museum), as well as of a Corinthian capital of the 1st century AD and other architectural fragments lead archeologists to suppose the existence of an earlier temple on the site.
The temple, which has a marble staircase, lies within a sacred area, about 70 metres (230 ft) long. It was surrounded by an enclosure wall (temenos). The back of the temple was built against the hill, the peribolos was surrounded on the remaining southern, western and northern sides, by a marble portico which has been partially excavated. This portico has pilasters bearing fluted Doric semi-columns supporting capitals that are decorated below with a row of astragali and beads and which, on the decorated below with a row of astragali and beads and which, on the echinus, bear a series of ovolos. The new temple was reconstructed in the 3rd century in Roman fashion, recycling the stone blocks from the older temple. The reconstruction had a smaller area and now only its marble floor remains. The temple of Apollo was deliberately built over an active fault. This fault was called the Plutonion. It was the oldest religious centre of the native community, the place where Apollo met with Cibele. It was said that only the priest of the Great Mother could enter the cave without being overpowered by the noxious underground fumes. Temples dedicated to Apollo were often built over geologically active sites, including his most famous, the temple at Delphi.
When the Christian faith was granted official primacy in the 4th century, this temple underwent a number of desecrations. Part of the peribolos was also dismantled to make room for a large Nympheum.
Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a natural site in Denizli in southwestern Turkey. The area is famous for a carbonate mineral left by the flowing water. It is located in Turkey's Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which has a temperate climate for most of the year.The ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis was built on top of the white "castle" which is in total about 2,700 metres (8,860 ft) long, 600 m (1,970 ft) wide and 160 m (525 ft) high. It can be seen from the hills on the opposite side of the valley in the town of Denizli, 20 km away.Known as Pamukkale (Cotton Castle) or ancient Hierapolis (Holy City), this area has been drawing the weary to its thermal springs since the time of Classical antiquity. The Turkish name refers to the surface of the shimmering, snow-white limestone, shaped over millennia by calcium-rich springs. Dripping slowly down the vast mountainside, mineral-rich waters foam and collect in terraces, spilling over cascades of stalactites into milky pools below. Legend has it that the formations are solidified cotton (the area's principal crop) that giants left out to dry.
Tourism is and has been a major industry in the area for thousands of years, due to the attraction of the thermal pools. As recently as the mid-20th century, hotels were built over the ruins of Hierapolis, causing considerable damage. An approach road was built from the valley over the terraces, and motor bikes were allowed to go up and down the slopes. When the area was declared a World Heritage Site, the hotels were demolished and the road removed and replaced with artificial pools. Overshadowed by natural wonder, Pamukkale's well-preserved Roman ruins and museum have been remarkably underestimated and unadvertised; tourist brochures over the past 20 years have mainly featured photos of people bathing in the calcium pools. Aside from a small footpath running up the mountain face, the terraces are all currently off-limits, having suffered erosion and water pollution at the feet of tourists.
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