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Hierapolis

Street and Byzantine Gate

Hierapolis, the “Sacred City,” is located at present-day Pamukkale in south central Turkey.  In the first century it was part of the tri-city area of Laodicea, Colossae, and Hierapolis.  This connection between the cities lies behind Paul’s reference to Hierapolis and Laodicea in his epistle to the Colossians (Col 4:13).  Before 70 A.D. Phillip (either the apostle or the evangelist) moved to Hierapolis, where he was believed to have been martyred.

 

The Apollo Temple

In the foreground of this picture are the remains of the Apollo Temple.  Its foundations date to the Hellenistic period, but the structure itself was built in the 3rd century A.D.  Apollo was thought to be the city’s divine founder.  The temple was built beside the plutonium, an underground cavern from which poisonous gases emerged.  The city’s theater stands in the background.

 

The Theater

After an earthquake in 60 A.D., a theater was built against a hillside.  This theater contains one of the best examples of original Roman theater decoration.  The stage was ornate, decorated with various reliefs.  A seat for distinguished spectators was located in the center of the seating area (cavea).  Approximately thirty rows of seats are preserved.

 

The Necropolis

Another prominent archaeological aspect of Hierapolis is the necropolis, located just outside the northern city walls.  Here lies one of the largest and best-preserved cemeteries in all of Turkey.  It contains sarcophagi, many different types of tombs, and funeral monuments dating from the Hellenistic until the early Christian times.  There are also numerous inscriptions here, more than 300 of which have been translated and published.

 

 

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