Pamukkale has a unique natural beauty and is one of the must-see places in Turkey. Although Pamukkale is famous for its travertine thermal pools, it actually promises visitors much more than that. In this article you can find information about Pamukkale, also known as Cotton Castle. In addition, Pamukkale (Hierapolis) entrance fee and opening hours are also noted.
There is the ancient city of Hierapolis in Pamukkale, which has a history of thousands of years. You can see the Temple of Apollo, the Great Theater and the Necropolis in the Hierapolis ruins.
If you like history, Pamukkale Archeology Museum, where historical artifacts collected from the ancient city are exhibited, may also attract your attention. When you get tired of all these activities, you can cool off in the Cleopatra’s Antique Pool full of ancient ruins.
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The History of Hierapolis (Pamukkale)
The history of Hierapolis Ancient City goes back even before the Ancient Greek period. The discovery of the Mother Goddess cult suggests that the history of the city dates back to the old Anatolian civilizations. At that time the city had not yet been named Hierapolis. However, we don’t have certain knowledge regarding the geographical area of the former ancient city.
Ancient geographer Strabo indicates that Hierapolis was located in Caria region, nearby Laodicea and Tripolis. According to Strabon’s works, the city of Hierapolis dates back to the Phrygians era.
Although the settlement in the city dates back to earlier times, it’s known that the city was officially founded by Eumenes II, the King of Pergamon and it was named after an Amazon queen named Hiera. The buildings, objects and other discovery in this ancient city prove that Hierapolis was an important culture and religion center.
The ancient city was built and designed in Hellenistic style and until an earthquake that took place in Emperor Nero’s era, it remained the same. After the earthquake, it was rebuilt in a Roman style and it turned into a typical city of Roman Empire. Hierapolis, which was an important center during the Roman period, preserved this feature in the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) period.
Immortal Priests of Hierapolis
Hierapolis was a place where miracles were believed to have happened in ancient times. Although it may seem like a legend at first glance, the clergy of this city were known as the immortal priests of Hierapolis.
There were caves at the city that were believed to be the gates of hell. These caves were seen as the passages to the underground world and the animals that were about to be sacrificed would be taken down and they would die without any human contact. This phenomenon is explained by a poisonous gas released in the caves.
On the other hand, it was recorded numerously in historical resources that the monks going inside these caves to sacrifice animals would come back unharmed. Moreover, Strabo confirms this case and he narrates that the monks would put their heads inside the gate of hell and they would not be affected by the gas.
According to an article published in Archeological Sciences in 2018, this incident can be explained that the monks were aware of the chemical atmosphere in the cave. Pfanz, one of the co-authors of the article, explains that the monks knew that the gas they named as “deadly breath” would not go over a certain limit.
The monks also knew at which hours the gas was intense and the limit it would reach. Therefore, they performed the sacrifice rituals accordingly.
Things to Do in Pamukkale (Hierapolis) 2023
Things to do in Pamukkale include exploring the Hierapolis ruins, visiting the archaeological museum and swimming in the Cleopatra pool. Of course, you can also walk to the snow-white travertine thermal pools and enjoy the magnificent view. In addition, you can participate in a hot air balloon flight and take amazing photos.
1. Travertine Terraces
Travertine terraces in Pamukkale offer its visitors a fairy-tale experience. You can even go to Pamukkale just to watch the happiness on the faces of people walking on snow-white travertines filled with thermal waters.
Travertine terraces are located on a hill overlooking the surrounding area and offer you great photo opportunities. You can capture incredible Instagram photos, especially if you have a balloon flight above you.
2. The Great Theatre
The Great Theater is the pearl of the ruins in Pamukkale. Hierapolis Ancient Theater, which has a history of 1800 years, stands out as one of the best preserved Roman structures around the Mediterranean.
Moreover, some unique examples of Pergamon art school can also be seen at this theater. Reliefs that you can see at Hierapolis Ancient City indicate that gladiator fights took place at this theater.
3. Cleopatra’s Ancient Pool
Cleopatra’s Ancient Pool offers a unique environment for those who come to Pamukkale. The pool, full of ancient columns and ruins, is an experience that crowns the visit to Hierapolis ruins. Swimming at Cleopatra’s Ancient Pool is among the popular things to do in Pamukkale in 2023.
4. Pamukkale Archaeological Museum
Pamukkale Archeology Museum is the place where artifacts found during excavations in the ancient city of Hierapolis are exhibited. There are wonderful sarcophagi and sculptures symbolizing Pamukkale’s Greco-Roman past. You can visit this museum with the ticket you bought at the entrance to Pamukkale.
5. Hot Air Balloon Tour
You can join a hot air balloon flight in Pamukkale and take amazing photos. One of the two places where you can have a balloon experience in Turkey is Pamukkale and the other is Cappadocia. You can book a hot air balloon tour in Pamukkale by clicking this link.
Pamukkale Hierapolis Entrance Fee 2023
Pamukkale entrance fee is 700 Turkish Liras as of 2023. The entry fee you pay in Pamukkale includes the travertine thermal pools, the ancient city of Hierapolis, the archeology museum and the Cleopatra antique pool. The information on the ticket price was last updated on August 6, 2023.
Pamukkale & Hierapolis Full-Day Guided Tour
To fully enjoy the things to do in Pamukkale, I suggest you take a guided tour. The history of the ruins at Hierapolis is difficult to grasp without a guide. On this 7-hour tour, you can be aware of many details that you cannot discover on your own as a first-timer.
You can book a full-day guided tour in Pamukkale by clicking this link here. Tours are guaranteed by GetYourGuide, an international travel platform, and can be canceled up to 24 hours with a full refund.
Pamukkale Hierapolis Opening Hours 2023
Pamukkale opening hours are between 08:00 in the morning and 21:00 in the evening. You can buy tickets from the box office until 20:30. Pamukkale thermal pools and Hierapolis ruins are open to visit everyday of the week. Information on visiting hours was last updated on August 6, 2023.
Visiting hours of Pamukkale travertines and Hierapolis archaeological site may change due to renovations and events. So before you go, you can visit the official website of the museum to see the latest situation.
Pamukkale is definitely one of the most special places to visit in Turkey. Those who travel to the country for the first time generally prefer the triangle of Istanbul, Ephesus and Cappadocia. If you have one more free day in your trip, Pamukkale is definitely worth it.
Among the must-do things in Pamukkale are walking on the travertine terraces, exploring the ruins of Hierapolis and swimming among the ancient columns in the Cleopatra Pool.
However, if you have time, you can also visit the Archaeological Museum. Finally, if you want to have an experience that you will never forget, you can fly in Pamukkale by hot air balloon.
Written by Serhat Engul