Exploring Pamukkale Part 2: The Roman ruins

Near the end of our day

After we made the climb up the terraces (in part 1) we headed off to see the Roman ruins of Hierapolis at the top. It was now early afternoon and we quickly discovered that most visitors only see the pools and some of the ruins near the spa and parking area at the top.

Most people only visit the ruins on the top right side of the map. At the bottom right you can see the trail we took to the top.
Also notice all of the terraces are full of water–not so accurate these days

We immediately headed over to the ruins on the west side as we saw few people there. It turned out to be a good decision, as I could count the number of other people we saw over there on one hand.

This path took us along the main street towards the bath, gate and ancient necropolis (cemetery).

Heading over to the ruins. This isn’t the ancient street but a seldom used road to one of the park entrances. In the distance where you see the pillars is the ancient street
Walking the ancient street
Passing through The Domitian Gate erected in 83 A.D.
Behind me are the remains of Roman baths that were later turned into a basilica by the 5th century

At the far end of Hierapolis, just outside the city gates, is the Necropolis where the wealthy citizens were buried. The oldest graves there were from the 1st and 2nd century B.C.

Walking through the Necropolis
The oldest graves were round (tumulus) style
You can see an inscription in Greek to the left of the door
Some of the more notable tombs had information about them

Very few tourists went this far from the main parking area so we only saw a couple other people in the Necropolis. Eventually it was only us but it was very peaceful there though slightly creepy.

Going inside
Of course they were all empty inside

The necropolis was so large we turned back before we had seen it all. The sun was setting and we still wanted to see a few more places before we finished.

Heading back along the ancient street
Broken column or road marker (milestone)?

Seeing the amphitheatre in the distance, we left the main road and took a smaller one. We had to be careful walking as some of the rocks were loose and had large pits around them from erosion.

On the way back we passed another set of ruins that were fenced off. Unfortunately it included one of the most interesting things to see at Hierapolis.

The Plutonium was considered to be a gateway to the underworld because toxic gases came up from the ground and suffocated any creatures that got too close. There was a temple erected there and the priests learned how to avoid the gases and survive, either by holding their breath or finding air pockets inside. This enabled them to appear to be immune to the effects of the gases and led to the temple gaining popularity until it was destroyed during the Christian era (though the gases have continued until the present).

Only recently was the mystery of the gases solved:


Closed off section near the Plutonium

On we went. After going up a short hill we were at the amphitheatre, with a view from up high just as the sun was going down. It was a great end to the day. We made our way pack to the travertine pools and headed back to the town.

Am I early for the show?
Enjoying the sunset

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