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Necropolis of Hierapolis

Beyond the city walls and meadow, following the main colonnaded road and passing the outer baths (thermae extra muros), an extensive necropolis extends for over 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) on both sides of the old road to Phrygian Tripolis and Sardis. The other goes south from Laodikya to Closae. 

This necropolis is one of the best preserved in Turkey. Most of about the 1,200 tombs were constructed with local varieties of limestone, though marble has been used, as well. Most tombs date from the late Hellenic period, but there are also a considerable number from the Roman and early Christian periods.

Video about Necropolis


A martyrium  is a church or shrine built over the tomb of a Christian martyr. It is associated with a specific architectural form, centered on a central element and thus built on a central plan, that is, of a circular or sometimes octagonal or cruciform shape.

The St. Philip Martyrium stands on top of the hill outside the northeastern section of the city walls. It dates from the 5th century. It was said that Philip was buried in the center of the building and, though his tomb has recently been unearthed, the exact location has not yet been verified. The Martyrium burned down at the end of the 5th or early 6th century, as attested by fire marks on the columns. Philip is said to have been martyred in Hierapolis by being crucified upside-down or by being hung upside down by his ankles from a tree.

The martyrium is usually taken to have been named after the Christian apostle Philip, but from early times there has been some dispute as to the actual identity of "Philip of Hierapolis". This confusion started with a report by Polycrates of Ephesus in his Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History and in his controversial letter written to Victor of Rome towards the end of the 2nd century. In the letter, he reports that the graves of Philip "of the twelve apostles", and of his two aged virgin daughters were in (the Phrygian) Hierapolis; a third daughter, "who had lived in the Holy Ghost", was buried at Ephesus. With this may be compared the testimony of Clement of Alexandria, who incidentally speaks of "Philip the Apostle" as having begotten children and as having given daughters in marriage.

St Philip Martyrium

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St Philip Martyrium

The Great Baths

The great baths were centred upon the natural thermal pools and were one of the biggest buildings of Hierapolis. The Roman Baths, building is now serving as the Archaeology Museum.

The Archaeology Museum has been located in the great baths since 1984. The museum also includes artifacts from Laodiceia, Colossae, Tripolis, Attuda and other towns of the Lycos (Çürüksu) valley. In addition to these, the museum has a large section devoted to artifacts found at Beycesultan Hüyük and which includes some of the most beautiful examples of Bronze Age craft.

Artifacts which have come from the Caria, Pisidia and Lydia regions are also on display in this museum. The museum's exhibition space consists of three closed areas of the Hierapolis Bath and open areas in the eastern side, which are known to have been used as the library and the gymnasium. The artifacts in the open exhibition space are mostly marble and stone.


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The Roman Baths, building is now serving as the Archaeology Museum

Artifacts from Hierapolis Museum

The Pools in Hierapolis

Antique Pool

Especially in the period of the Roman Empire, Hierapolis and its site were a health centre. In those years, thousands of people used to come to the baths, of which there are more than fifteen, and they found their remedy in those baths. Today's Antique Pool was shaped by the earthquake which happened in the 7th century AD. The marble portico with Ionic arrangement fell into the spring during that earthquake.

Cleopatra's Pool

The water in the thermal pool is 36–57 °C, pH value is 5.8 and radon value is 1480 pCi/L. The spa water contains bicarbonate, sulphate and carbon dioxide, as well as iron and radioactive combination. The water in this spring is suitable for taking showers and drinking cures, 2430 MG/liter melt metal value.

kleopatra pool

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Cleopatra's Pool


İllustration of old Hierapolis by Jc Golvin

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