Pamukkale, also known by its ancient name Hierapolis, is located about 20 kilometers north of Denizli in Turkey. This city draws millions of visitors each year to experience its stunning waterfalls and travertines, as well as to explore the sarcophaguses and ruins of the ancient Roman city. The plateau, situated on the southern slopes of Mount Çökelez, is formed from hot water with calcium oxide and presents a captivating sight. For centuries, the thermal water containing calcium salts and carbon dioxide gas at a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius was believed to have healing properties for various diseases and illnesses. Today, the city aims to regain its status as a spa center in Turkey, as it was during the Roman era.

In the Roman period, Hierapolis was a highly sought-after spa center among the Roman aristocracy. Its natural terraces fed by hot mineral water, pools in front of the travertines, charming ancient Roman colonnaded streets, stores, temples, and thermal baths made it a popular destination for healers and visitors. The 10,000-seat capacity of the Hierapolis theatre also provided entertainment through Greek tragedies, celebrations, concerts, speeches, and public events. This is why Hierapolis was a famous vacation center in Asia Minor after Ephesus, with a population of around 100,000 during the Roman period.

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Hierapolis, meaning “Holy City” in Greek and a “Hot Spa Centre” in Roman, was founded as a Hellenistic town by Eumenes II during the Pergamene Kingdom in 190 BC. Despite several earthquakes that destroyed the city in the 1st century AD, it was rebuilt and experienced a golden age between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD during the Pax Romana, or Roman peace. During this time, numerous structures including a theatre, baths, agoras, temples, sanctuaries, and beautiful edifices were built. St. Philip, one of Jesus’s disciples, was also said to have been crucified upside down on the gate of Hierapolis, making the city a significant religious site for early believers. In 395 AD, Hierapolis became a Byzantine city until the end of the 11th century when the Turks took over, beginning the Turkish era. During the Ottoman period, the city was known as Pamukkale, meaning “Cotton Castle,” and was used as a thermal center, especially for its hot water and mud. The baths were also used by travelers and caravan masters, as well as those traveling on trade roads.
Hierapolis, also known as Pamukkale, was added to the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1988, attracting millions of visitors from around the world to Denizli to witness its beauty. The listing details are as follows:

List Number: 485

Name: Hierapolis-Pamukkale

Year: 1988 (World Heritage)

Location: Denizli, Aegean Region

Category: Cultural and Natural


The city gate of Hierapolis was a ceremonial road that was believed to be accompanied by a monumental gateway, with a width of 14 meters and a length of about 1 kilometer. It was here that St. Philip was said to have been crucified upside down. The road had a drainage system underneath to remove dirty water from the city center. Stores, warehouses, and shops lined both sides of the road. However, the main road was damaged and shortened to 8 meters wide due to earthquakes and occupation by different nations. The surface of the road was covered with a layer of limestone.
The area behind the Fronties road was turned into an agora or shopping mall after a major earthquake in 60 AD, when stores were constructed there. Prior to the earthquake, the area was used as the cemetery, or necropolis, of the city. In the 2nd century AD, the agora became one of the largest shopping centers in Asia Minor, covering an area of 170 meters wide and 500 meters long. Excavations in the agora started in 1979 and are still ongoing, conducted by Italian archaeologists. Many of the discoveries from the site are on display in the museum.THE THRITHON FOUNTAIN HOUSE

The Trithon Fountain House, along with the Temple of Apollo, is one of two major monumental buildings in Hierapolis. The building opens to the street from a 70-meter-long pool, with niches carved into them, featuring a statue with two folds. The Amazonomachi blocks and the personification of the river reliefs are noteworthy. A Latin inscription by Emperor Septimus Severus, written in the middle of the 3rd century AD, tells us that the fountain house was built during that time.


The main deity of Hierapolis was Apollo, thus the sanctuary was dedicated to him as the healing and sun God. The sanctuary was situated on a terrace and was accessible by a marble staircase. The terrace below was surrounded by marble colonnades in the Doric order. The sanctuary was used for predictions for centuries and was a significant source of income for Hierapolis. Roman pagans used to visit the sanctuary to seek advice. Although it was built in the 1st century AD, several alterations were made until its final form was established in the 3rd century AD.


The Ancient Hierapolis Amphitheatre is 1800 years old and took about 150 years to complete. It is considered one of the unique amphitheatres from antiquity, featuring mythological reliefs, a magnificent stage building, and spectator seats. The theatre had a capacity of approximately 10,000, suggesting that Hierapolis had a population of around 100,000 in Roman times. One of the finest theatres in Asia Minor, the amphitheatre is situated on a hillside and is well-preserved, with 50 rows of seats divided by a diasoma. There is a vaulted passageway leading to the vomitorium from the diasoma. The columns are adorned with statues and marble reliefs, and the walls behind the stage feature depictions of Apollo and Artemis’ births, Dionysus and Satyr, the Geometric period, Marsyas and Apollo’s musical competition, the wars between the gods and giants, and an architrave above the door depicting Emperor Septimus Severus’ coronation ceremony. These mythological scenes can still be seen today in the Hierapolis Amphitheatre.


The Plutonium is located to the right of the Apollo Temple. The temple entrance was decorated with marble niches featuring sea shell motifs, located in front of the travertines. There was a staircase leading to the top of the sanctuary, signifying its holiness. At the entrance of the Plutonium, the sound of groundwater can be heard. However, the Plutonium is closed to visitors due to the danger posed by toxic gas emissions.


Hierapolis and Cotton Castle offer a unique and breathtaking travel experience for those who appreciate history, culture, and natural beauty. Hierapolis, also known as the “City of the Sun”, was once a thriving ancient Roman city and is now a well-preserved archaeological site with numerous structures, including the Temple of Apollo, the Amphitheater, and the Plutonium. The Cotton Castle, on the other hand, is a natural wonder formed by hot springs and mineral deposits that create white, fluffy terraces. Both Hierapolis and Cotton Castle are located in the Pamukkale region of Turkey and are easily accessible by road.

Visiting Hierapolis and Cotton Castle is an opportunity to witness the blend of ancient and modern cultures in Turkey, as well as to admire the natural beauty of the region. The Temple of Apollo, for instance, is a testament to the religious and cultural significance of the ancient city, while the Cotton Castle symbolizes the power of nature and its ability to create breathtaking landscapes. The Amphitheater, on the other hand, offers a glimpse into the entertainment culture of ancient times and is a testament to the skilled architectural and engineering capabilities of the Romans.

Not only is Hierapolis and Cotton Castle a treat for history buffs, but it also offers a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life. The tranquil surroundings, the stunning views, and the serene atmosphere make it a perfect destination for those seeking a peaceful and rejuvenating getaway.

So why not make the most of this unique travel experience and visit Hierapolis and Cotton Castle with Tour Maker Turkey? Our tours offer a hassle-free way to explore the best of what these destinations have to offer, with expert guides and comfortable transportation. We take care of all the logistics, leaving you with nothing to worry about but making unforgettable memories.

Don’t miss this chance to visit Hierapolis and Cotton Castle, book your tour with Tour Maker Turkey today!