This ancient spa city's location atop Pamukkale's tourist-magnet travertines is quite spectacular. Founded as a curative centre around 190 BC by Eumenes II of Pergamum, it prospered under both the Romans and Byzantines, when large Jewish and Orthodox Christian communities comprised most of the population. Recurrent earthquakes brought disaster, and Hierapolis was finally abandoned after an AD 1334 tremor. When visiting, don't miss the Roman Theatre, the agora and the on-site museum. From mid-October to March, the last tickets are 5pm.
The World Heritage-listed saucer-shaped travertines (or terraces) of Pamukkale wind sideways down the powder-white mountain above the village, providing a stunning contrast to the clear blue sky and green plains below. To protect the unique calcite surface that overruns with warm, mineral-rich waters, guards oblige you to go barefoot (or in socks or shower shoes), so if you're planning to walk down to the village via the travertines, be prepared to carry your shoes with you.
Although the ridges look rough, in reality, the constant water flow keeps the ground mostly smooth, even gooey in places, and the risk of slipping is greater than that of cutting your feet. To walk straight down without stopping takes about 30 minutes. The constant downward motion can be hard on the knees.
Although the terrace pools are not particularly deep, you can get fully submerged in the thermal water. There is a gushing channel of warm water at the top of the path down through the travertines, where representatives of many nations sit and give their legs a good soak. If you do not have a bathing suit or shorts, or otherwise do not wish to get too wet, note that although there are usually many dry sections leading down, the amount of pools (up to calf-height) you have to wade through depends on the time of year. Also, note that midday to 4 pm means crowds and sharp sunlight reflecting off the dazzling white surface; early morning or sunset is better.
The Roman theatre is the highlight of Hierapolis, dramatically sitting uphill from the site and overlooking the ruins and mountains beyond. The stage area, with its decorative panels, and 12,000-spectator capacity seating tiers have been carefully restored. It was built in two stages by the emperors Hadrian and Septimius Severus. The theatre at Hierapolis has some of the best-preserved decorative features of any theatre in Turkey.
The theatre at Hierapolis had forty-five rows of seats separated by two diazomata. Eight staircases divide the seats into nine cunei and a series of præcinctiones (audience passageways) provide access to the upper cavea sections through four arched entrances (aditus). Eight steps lead from the orchestra to the seats at each side of the stage. A massive marble tribunalia dominates the center of the lower cavea. This ornately carved, curved seat of honor spans the width of the fourth, fifth and sixth rows in the central seating section (cunei) and was reserved for priests, dignitaries or other honored guests.
This memorial structure, which was discovered in excavations a few years ago, is located in a field to the east of Frontinus Avenue. The agora, which was erected in the 2nd century AD, was one of the largest agoras of antiquity. It measured approximately 170m wide and 280m long. The agora is surrounded on three sides with porticoes formed by Ionic columns. At a higher location is a stoa -basilica which dominates the eastern side. This place is currently under restoration. The stoa -basilica, which is 280m long and 20m wide, sits above a 4m-high flight of steps and dominates the square. One can see golgo masks, eros figures carrying garlands, and a sphinx lion strangling a bun figure with its teeth, an of which decorate the center section of the monotonous facade formed by columns which carry aqueducts.
Necropolis means cemetery. In Greek language it means the city of the dead. Necropolis is a large burial site generally it was located outside the settlement. Hierapolis cemetery is one of the widest cemeteries in Anatolia. It has three different parts, north, south and west. The north one is the largest one in Hierapolis with more than 1200 graves. Graves in Hierapolis necropolis have suitability for the social class of the dead.
There are 4 different types of graves here and belong to the late Hellenistic, Roman and Eastern Roman periods: Tumulus Graves, Sarcophagus, Public Graves, Family Type Graves. Hierapolis was not a very big settlement in itself but it has huge necropolis lands because it was a holy city and old people used to come to benefit from the thermal baths and spend their last days here and many of them died and buried here.
Among these all types just sarcophaguses were made from marble all others made from limestone. Each tomb has an inscription about the name and life of the deceased and also social clubs in the city and their activities are mentioned.