After a late night drive and early morning wake-up call, Pamukkale greeted us with dark skies and rain showers. Sleepiness and dampness aside, we were excited to get into the adjacent ruins and check out the museum! We have been here before but we visited on a Monday, when the museum is closed. After breakfast, a gentleman from the hotel Dort Mevsim shuttled us up the hill to ancient Hierapolis.
The ancient city of Hierapolis began as a therapeutic thermal spa around 2500 years ago. Originally founded by Greeks, over time the city was inhabited by a variety of peoples, including Jewish and Roman communities. It was a place to vacation, to retire, and to trade. Even in modern times, the hot mineral springs, travertines, and incredibly preserved ruins continue to attract visitors from all over the world.
Braving the rain (which was not “light,” as had been predicted), we wandered around the site and marveled at the views. The Hellenistic community had built in a grid system – beautifully organized and zoned. Eumenes II of Pergamon, celebrated as the founder of Hierapolis, was a great admirer and ally of Rome and his son ceded the city to the Romans after his death.
The city was repeatedly ravaged by destruction and earthquakes and finally in the 14th century was abandoned. The ruins were then covered and protected by a thick layer of limestone. We get to see the grand theater, the temples of Apollo and Pluto, the Nymphaeum, and the Roman baths/gymnasium/library – a large building that has been transformed into a museum.
This was our first time to get to wander through the museum. Inside, we saw the usual pottery and idols, decorations from the theater, sarcophagi, and jewelry. Apollo and Dionysus are featured throughout the museum but my personal favorite was a marble depicting the Rape of Persephone. Ancient art was mostly copies of previous works, which is why you can recognize so many of the favorite figures. Athena with her shield, Dionysus with his wine, and Persephone being taken away by Hades are some of the most popular memes of the time. In Greece, we will see a mural of the Rape of Persephone that looks almost exactly like this marble here in Hierapolis. Although the two artists probably did not see each others’ work they were most likely inspired by similar art.
Leaving the site, we stopped for lunch at the Venus Hotel which was recommended by a Dutch gal I sat next to on my flight. We were so impressed by the hotel and its beautiful rooms that we decided to book it for our group trip in October. They served us trout, vegetables, salad, and lots of bread (yum!). Afterward, we checked out of our hotel and drove 3 1/2 hours to beautiful (and sunny!) Bodrum.
These were two days in a row of long driving and late nights and I started to feel the effects of sleeplessness. Fortunately, tomorrow is an “office day” where we will take care of the technical projects involved in taking groups overseas. We will post up at a cafe by the sea and work/stare.
We are getting so excited about the group trip in October! If you would like to come with us just send me an email (Questions@WoodroofTravels.com) and I will sign you up!Click here to leave a comment...