Hierapolis ancient city Everything you need to know

Hierapolis is an ancient city in Turkey, located about 30 km east of Denizli. It was built by Eumenes II, king of Pergamon or Attalus I Soter, the founder of Pergamum. The name Hierapolis comes from two Greek words: “Hieros” meaning sacred and “polis” meaning city.

Hierapolis 1

The History of Hierapolis

The abundance of Hierapolis’ water resources drew several villages to the city. Pergamum is often regarded as the city that was founded by the people of ancient Pergamon. Much of the history of Hierapolis before the Hellenistic period remains unknown, however the town likely had already been in use prior to that time period. Due to this historical evidence, we know that about the year 1900 BC Luwis existed in the area. Cydrara was the most cultured city of its day, and they built a sacred temple here.

Many settlers left Greece and south-east Europe and traveled to Anatolia in the Hittite Period when the city of Troy was sacked by Greek warriors in Homer’s “The Iliad.” While they’ve constructed new cities or captured the old cities, we still don’t know if they did both or if they merged with others to live.

Disagreements soon developed between the population several millennia after everything was finalized. The Lydians that had lived in the west of Asia invaded Anatolia and, as a result, they became the most powerful group in the region. Afterwards, statements referring to King Croesus of Lydia use Lydian King Croesus. Their campaign was short-lived, however; Lydian was vanquished by the Persians in 646 BC. Anatolia and Greek land were important to the Persians as well. At the end of many conflicts, Anatolia was captured by the Greeks. But it had little impact on Anatolians, for better or worse.

Attalus III gave his kingdom to Rome when he died in 133 BC. Here in Hierapolis, the Romans made the province of Asia part of their empire.

The city of Tiberium was completely destroyed in AD 17 during the administration of the emperor Tiberius.

hierapolis phrygia

A church was created in Ephesus under the influence of Christian apostle Paul, while he was there.

The last few years of Philip’s life were spent in this area. Many scholars say that the Martyrium, the crucifixion site of Philip, was built on the exact area where he was crucified in AD 80. In addition, it was also reported that his daughters acted as local prophets.


The city of Rome was utterly destroyed during the year 60 during the dictatorship of Nero. After then, the city was reconstructed in the manner of the Roman Empire, supported by imperial funding.

This happened at the same time the city was shaped as it is now. In order to see the Emperor Hadrian, the theatre was built in 129.

The building was renovated under the reign of Septimius Severus (193–211). In 215, Caracalla paid a visit to the town and gave it the much-desired honor of being known as the neocoros, which, according to the city, bestowed on it special advantages and the right of sanctuary.

hierapolis ruins

Hierapolis was the most prosperous time in this city’s history. Thousands of people flocked to the hot springs for the health benefits. Buildings of both practical and cultural value were initiated: the building of baths, an exercise gymnasium, many temples, a main thoroughfare with a colonnade, and a hot spring fountain. At the time, the arts, philosophy, and trade in the Roman Empire flourished in Hierapolis, one of the most renowned cities in the empire. The town grew to a population of 100,000 and prospered. The emperor Valens visited the city of Ctesiphon, the Sassanid capital, on his way to the decisive battle against Shapur II.

Pluto’s Gate (a ploutonion) was filled with stones around the 4th century, and this gesture implied that Christianity had overtaken other religions in the area and was removing them.

Before the Byzantine emperor Justinian elevated the bishop of Hierapolis to the rank of metropolitan in 531, the see of Phrygia Pacatiana was known as a see of Phrygia Meanderthalonica. A spa complex once used by the Romans was converted into a Christian church. While the city continued to prosper, it also remained an important center for Christianity during the Byzantine period.

Hierapolis in Medieval times

It took the town several years to recover from a second severe earthquake, after which it was ravaged by Persian soldiers.

The area was controlled by the Seljuk Sultanate of Konya from the 12th century until it was conquered by the crusaders and their Byzantine allies in 1190. Although the town has been abandoned for almost three centuries, the Seljuks built a castle about the year 1300.

By the end of the 14th century, the village had been abandoned. At the beginning of the 13th century, a catastrophic earthquake leveled the ruins of the ancient city. Over the course of years, the ruins were buried behind a thick layer of limestone. After about two months, the city layer of limestone was repaired and patched.

Carl Humann excavated Hierapolis in the summer of 1887. Altertümer von Hierapolis is the title of his 1889 book, which contains his excavation notes. His explorations were a bit all-inclusive, and they included quite a few drill holes.

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