Our tour stops at Pamukkale, adjacent to the ancient site of Hierapolis. At our earlier stop in Ephesus, we learned that the healing center at Ephesus was renowned for having an incredibly large success rate at healing those they accepted. The reason for this was that they were good at accepting only those who could be healed and referring everyone else to Hierapolis. Hierapolis was renowned for having an incredibly large graveyard.
Side note on our visit to Ephesus mentioned in the previous posts – the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (of which not much more than a column remained) was significant for being one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (and also regarded as the most unbalanced card in the 7 Wonders board game). Looking at the list of the Seven Wonders now, I’m a little sad we didn’t stop at the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, as it’s pretty well preserved and was not far from our tour’s path. Well, maybe a reason to go back to Turkey some day!
Not a lot is left of most of Hierapolis, and we hike quite a ways along a hill with ruins scattered around. This place was big. We spend a while in a well restored amphitheater which had a basin used as a pool for synchronized swimming… or whatever equivalent of water ballet they did at that time.
Our group splits into 3 parts, with the older two ladies skipping the ruins hike and heading directly to Pamukkale. I opt to take a side hike with my friend up to the Martyrion of St Philip. Philip was one of Jesus’s 12 Apostles, and is believed to have been martyred in the Hierapolis in 80 A.D. by the ruler of the city after converting the wife of the ruler of the city to Christianity. The Martyrion is the remains of the church and pilgrimage site built upon the tomb of St Philip, which was only excavated and discovered recently in 2011. It is preserved well enough that I can walk around the ruins of the small site and see where the chapel was, and where the rooms that used to house pilgrims were. It is also a very peaceful hike to get there, meeting no one else at all along the way, and provides a nice view down to the bright white of Pamukkale.
Pamukkale is a set of terraces made of, I think, white limestone, through which water from a natural hot spring flows, with what looks like only a little assistance in shaping the water flow so that most of the terraces get filled with water. The view down to the valley beneath Pamukkale is lovely.
This is the end of our rushed time with the tour bus. Up next, looking forward to a more relaxed pace for a couple days in Cappadocia!