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Hierapolis – Pamukkale

Date of inclusion on the World Heritage List: 12/9/1988

List reference: 485 Criteria: Natural / Cultural


According to the legend that spread the secret of Hierapolis in the wide world, an ugly shepherd girl, tired of the burdens of life, threw herself into the water but turned into a beautiful virgin in the waters of Hierapolis.

Hierapolis was founded during the Phrygian era and its name was derived from Hiera, the beautiful wife of Telephos, king of Pergamon. Hierapolis played an important role in spreading Christianity in Asia Minor, and it is here that Phillip, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, died. Because of this, Hierapolis became an important religious center in the 4th century AD. It later assumed the title of Leader of the East and had its most brilliant years between 96 and 162 AD. Hierapolis came under Byzantine rule in 395 and became a major city bishopric.

History and nature meet in Pamukkale in an extraordinary way. The name Hierapolis also means the holy city. It has the necropolis, Domitian’s Street and the Gate, the Temple of Plutonium in a square area, the theater with reliefs depicting the mythology of Apollo and Artemis, the Frontine Street and Gate, the Agora, the North Byzantine Gate and the South Byzantine Gate , Gymnasium, fountain with Triton, house with Ionic capitals, holy place Apollo, aqueducts and nymph, city wall, martyrdom of St. Philip and Bridge, Column Church, ruins of the basilica and Roman baths. These are still standing in all their glory.

The Pamukkale travertine was created by thermal water that deposited the calcium carbonate it contained. The natural wonder of the Pamukkale travertine deposits extends over a 160 meter high and 2700 meter long cascade. With its brilliant white color, it can be seen at a distance of around 20 km. Pamukkale has 17 thermal springs with water temperatures between 35 and 100 ° C.

The thermal mineral water springs and the countryside scenery have made people act since ancient times. Wealthy people came from Rome and other Anatolian cities to hear their final years in Hierapolis. For this reason, the necropolis (the cemetery) is full of monumental tombs decorated in the common regional style.

The historical artifacts of the excavations are under consideration in the Archaeological Museum of Hierapolis. The ancient city of Tripoli in Buldan County and Colossea Ancient Settlement in Hozanz County are the basic ancient settlements in the region.

This holy land clad in white belongs to those who want to be heard in their conscience with their own therapy.

UNESCO »Culture» World Heritage Center »The List» World Heritage List

In Pamukkale (Cotton Palace), which remains of springs in a swift 200m high cliff overlooking the calcite-laden water, is an unreal landscape made up of mineral forests, petrified water and and a series of terraced pools. End of the 2nd century BC The Attalid dynasty, the kings of Pergamon, the Dasmalbad of Hierapolis. The ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments can be seen at the site.

Excellent universal value
Brief synthesis

Calcite-laden waters emerge from springs on a swift 200m high cliff overlooking the Cürüksu Plain in southwestern Turkey and have an unreal landscape made up of mineral forests, petrified water values ​​and a series of terraced pools called Pamukkale (Cotton Palace). This location landscape in the Denizli province was of interest to visitors to the nearby Hellenistic spa town of Hierapolis, which dates back to the end of the 2nd century BC. It was used by the Attalid kings of Pergamom and the site of an ancient cult. The common springs were also used to clean and dry wool. Hierapolis, the 133 BC After Rome was became, flourished and belongs in the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. It belongs to his rights to importance in 60 BC. Through a feeling of war and the renewed commodity of war. The largest of the Greco-Roman times include baths, temple ruins, a monumental arch, a nymphaeum, a necropolis and a theater. After the adoption of Christianity by Emperor Constantine and his establishment of Constantinople as “new Rome” in 330 BC. The city became the bishopric of answers. As the place of the martyrdom of St. Philip in 80 BC. BC, which was built in the 5th century through his martyrdom, Hierapolis with its own churches became a personal center for the Eastern Roman Empire.

The combination of distinctive different formations and the development of a complex canal system that brings the thermal water to the surrounding villages and fields is a. The springs are the source of a hydraulic system located 70 km northwest to Alasehir and the administration of the valley of the Menderes. Pamukkale choice an important backdrop for the political Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis and the cultural landscape.

Criterion (iii): Hierapolis is a detailed example of a Greco-Roman thermal installation. The therapeutic benefits of the water were obtained in the various thermal systems, the others include the pool and the swimming pool. The hydrotherapy was perceived by stakeholders who dealt with each other in relation to the political cults. The Temple of Apollo, to which several Chtonian deities became, became part of a geological flaw from which harmful thoughts emerged. The theater is from the time of Severus and is given with a different value than the ritual procession and a sacrifice for the Ephesian Artemis. The necropolis, which is over 2 kilometers, north a wide panorama of the best connections of the Greco-Roman period.

Criterion (iv): The Christian monuments of Hierapolis, which were erected between the 4th and 6th centuries, are an outstanding example of an early Christian architectural group with a cathedral, baptistery and churches. The most important monument outside the north-western city wall is the Martyrdom of St. Philip. At the top of a monumental staircase, the octagonal layout of the building is remarkable for its ingenious spatial organization. From the central octagon radiate chapels, polygonal halls and triangular rooms, which together form a square structure surrounded by rectangular cells bordered by porticos.

Criterion (vii): Calcite laden water from hot springs emerging from a nearly 200 meter high cliff overlooking the plains has created a visually breathtaking landscape in Pamukkale. These mineralized waters have created a number of petrified waterfalls, stalactites, and basins with stepped terraces, some less than a meter high, while others are up to six meters high. Fresh deposits of calcium carbonate give these formations a dazzling white coating. The Turkish name Pamukkale, which means “cotton castle”, is derived from this striking landscape.


The property is largely intact and contains all the attributes necessary to express its outstanding universal value, based on the strong and tight integration between the natural landscape (the white travertine terraces and numerous thermal springs) and the culture (the ruins of the city from the Greco-Roman area) and Byzantine times, especially the theater and the necropolis). The site’s boundaries are sufficient to reflect the importance of the site.

The main threat to the integrity of property is high numbers of international tourists, which are a very important economic resource for the regional economy. Particularly threatened is the area of ​​the small lake formed around the ancient civil agora by earthquakes and heat sources, where thousands of tourists can swim among the ancient columns and architectural marble decorations. This has resulted in biological pollution and constant erosion of the ancient Roman marble elements, and the relevant authorities are planning to put in place a surveillance system to help deal with this problem.


Most of the property is devoid of modern buildings and the architectural monuments can be easily appreciated. Some old monuments are being reused, for example, the theater is used for performances involving thousands of people while excavation and restoration work on the site is still ongoing. All projects are based on anastylosis methods as in the Frons Scaenae of the theater, the gym and the templon of the Church of St. Philip.

The monumental and archaeological remains truthfully and credibly express the outstanding universal value of property in terms of its location, shape and materials. The mausoleums and the Tripoli Street in the northern necropolis, the city walls from the southeastern Roman gate to the travertine terraces, the latrina east of the Domitian Gate, the Colonnade Street and the grammar school were restored. The structure of the Bath basilica, which has suffered earthquake damage, has been reinforced.

Protection and management requirements

Hierapolis-Pamukkale is legally protected by national nature conservation laws, but there are no specific planning laws to protect World Heritage sites. The responsibility for the management and maintenance of the property is shared by the national government (the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Environment and Urban Development), the local administration (Special Administration of Denizli Province) and several state institutions. The approval of the Regional Nature Conservation Council and the Provincial Directorate for Environment and Urban Development must be obtained for physical interventions and functional changes on the site.

The site was registered as a natural and archaeological site of the first degree in 1980 by decision of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Monuments. In 1990 the Cabinet decided to register an area of ​​around 66 km2 (larger than the World Heritage Site) as a “special protection area”. Visitor centers at the northern and southern entrances to the site have been built and a protection plan has been approved. On-site hotel buildings and structures around the thermal baths have been removed; Entering private vehicles is prohibited with the exception of emergencies. Public transport is available for visitors. The road through the southeast travertine terraces has been blocked. There are visitor routes and information boards on the site, and tourist facilities are limited to the edge of the monumental area. The access of visitors to the travertine terraces is prohibited in order to maintain the flow of water and to preserve the color and structure of the travertine terraces. Areas have been set up for visitors to bathe in the hot springs.

An agreement between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Provincial Special Administration established a Site Management Directorate within the Denizli Province Special Administration to oversee the procedures and principles for the maintenance, development and management of the site. This directorate ensures coordination between various stakeholders as well as landscape, security and cleaning services. An advisory board made up of central and local administrations, non-governmental organizations and scientific groups (especially the head of the excavation team) gives the site management advice on projects on the site. The Italian excavation team (which has been studying the site in depth since 1957) established guidelines for a management plan aimed at establishing the standards for restoration and rehabilitation based on the Venice Charter (1964) for the Conservation of Historic Monuments. This includes accessibility and visitor management, guidelines for improving the perception of the website and risk management.

Long description
This place is extraordinary because of its superlative natural phenomena – warm, heavily mineralized water that flows from springs and creates pools and terraces that are visually stunning. Hierapolis, an exceptional example of a Greco-Roman thermal system, was built at this outstanding natural site. The Christian monuments of Hierapolis are an outstanding example of an early Christian architectural complex.

Pamukkale, which literally means “cotton castle”, is the name the Turks gave to the extraordinary place Hierapolis. The name was inspired by the supernatural landscape of bizarre shapes created by calcite deposits from the hot springs that emerged through a mistake: mineral forests, petrified cascades and terraced pools of a huge natural nymphaeum. The ancients, who ascribed healing powers to the hot springs (35 ° C) corresponding to their ability to transform the landscape, founded a warming station here at the end of the 2nd century. The history of Hierapolis ran like many Hellenistic cities in Asia Minor. The Romans obtained 129 BC It was in full control of it and thrived under its new rulers. It was a cosmopolitan city where Anatolians, Greco-Macedonians, Romans and Jews mixed together. The hot springs that attracted crowds who “took the water” also served another purpose: cleaning and dyeing wool.

The therapeutic benefits of water were used in the various thermal facilities, which included huge hot pools and swimming pools. The hydrotherapy was accompanied by religious practices developed in relation to local cults. The Temple of Apollo was built due to a bug that emitted harmful fumes. The theater dates from the time of Severus and is adorned with an admirable frieze depicting a ritual procession and a sacrifice to the Ephesian Artemis. The necropolis offers a wide panorama of the burial practices of the Greco-Roman era. According to old tradition, Philip the Apostle converted it and was crucified there by Domitian around the year 87. Hieropolis remained one of the two metropolises of the Phrygia Pacatiana and was a diocese. The group of Christian buildings are the cathedral, the baptistery and the churches. The most important monument is the martyrdom of St. Philip. At the top of a monumental staircase, the octagonal layout of the building is remarkable for its ingenious spatial organization. The fortress built on the cliff bears witness to its last historical phase.

The Pamukkale National Park is the focal point for the natural values ​​of the place, which consists of its highest travertine terraces with 20 m high cliffs and waterfalls and is located at the foot of the Cokelez Mountains. The terrace is approx. 200 m above the Curuksu plain and extends approx. 6 km between the villages of Pamukkale and Karahayit. Semicircular basins appear in steps in the upper third of the slope. Fresh deposits of calcium carbonate give the pools a dazzling white coating. It is believed that the quaternary travertine deposits are due to a flaw in the zone of contact between the crystalline rocks of the Mesozoic Era and the layers of the Neogen series. The springs are part of a complex hydraulic system that extends 70 km northwest to Alasehir and west along the Menderes Valley. These channels carry thermal water to nearby villages and agricultural areas, some of which have accumulated travertine deposits up to 10m in height over the years. The oldest rocks in the region are crystalline marbles, quartzite and slate and are found in the northern part of the park. Most of the rocks are from the Pliocene.

A vegetation map drawn up in 1969 showed land use in descending order of the area covered as arable land, bare land at risk of erosion, bare land in urban areas and maquis. There are around 45 species of flowering plants, while ten species of mammals and ten species of birds have been recorded in Denizli Province. The state property of around 500 m, which rises to 1,840 m in the Cokelez Mountains, immediately north of the park rises further out, but around the park to 2,308 m (Babadağ) and 2,571 m (Honaz).

The natural features of the place form the backdrop that attracted the original Roman city of Hierapolis. They thus form an important background for the cultural landscape that dominates the area today.

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