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How To Visit The Hierapolis Ruins – Pamukkale


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Raven Addis



Welcome to Hierapolis, one of Turkey’s most fascinating archaeological sites nestled in the heart of the captivating region of Pamukkale. Hierapolis, meaning “sacred city” in Greek, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts visitors from all over the world with its rich history and breathtaking ruins.


With its origins dating back to the 2nd century BC, Hierapolis thrived as a Roman and Byzantine city, flourishing in religion, culture, and commerce. Today, it stands as a remarkable testament to the past, offering a glimpse into ancient life and civilization.


Visiting Hierapolis is like stepping back in time, as you wander through the remains of grand structures, admire well-preserved mosaics and sculptures, and soak in the therapeutic waters of its renowned hot springs. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply curious about the mysteries of the past, Hierapolis is a destination that will captivate your senses and leave an indelible mark on your travel memories.


Located in southwestern Turkey, just a short distance from the town of Pamukkale, Hierapolis is easily accessible and makes for a perfect day trip. Its proximity to other popular tourist attractions in the region, such as Ephesus and Aphrodisias, makes it a must-visit destination for history buffs and culture seekers.


So, get ready to embark on an extraordinary journey as we delve into the wonders of the Hierapolis ruins. From its fascinating history to its must-see sites and practical tips for an unforgettable visit, this guide will provide you with all the essential information you need to make the most of your time in this remarkable ancient city.


History of Hierapolis

The history of Hierapolis spans over thousands of years, with evidence of human settlement in the area dating back to the 2nd century BC. Originally founded as a thermal spa resort, the city grew in importance under the Roman Empire and became a significant cultural and religious center.


During the Hellenistic period, Hierapolis developed as a thriving city influenced by both Greek and Roman cultures. It was known for its white limestone terraces and natural hot springs, which were believed to have healing properties. People from all over the Roman Empire flocked to Hierapolis to benefit from the medicinal qualities of its thermal waters.


In the 1st century AD, Hierapolis experienced a transformation under the Roman rule. The city expanded, and impressive structures were erected, including a theater, a gymnasium, and grand colonnaded streets. The influence of Roman architecture is still visible in the remains of these remarkable buildings.


During the Byzantine period, Hierapolis continued to flourish as a religious center. The city became an important Christian pilgrimage site and was adorned with numerous churches, including the famous Martyrium of St. Philip, built to honor the apostle Philip who was said to have been martyred here.


Despite its once-thriving status, Hierapolis fell into decline in the 7th century due to a series of earthquakes and the gradual abandonment of the hot springs. Over time, the city was gradually buried under layers of sediment and remained hidden until its rediscovery in the 19th century.


Excavations and restorations have been ongoing since then, revealing the impressive ruins of the ancient city. Today, visitors can explore the remains of its ancient streets, marvel at the well-preserved theater, and admire the intricate mosaics that once adorned the buildings.


The rich history of Hierapolis is not only fascinating but also offers a unique opportunity to learn about the cultural, religious, and architectural achievements of the past. As you wander through its ruins, you’ll be transported to a different era and gain a deeper appreciation for the wonders of human civilization.


Location and Access

Hierapolis is located in the Denizli Province of southwestern Turkey, near the town of Pamukkale. Situated approximately 20 kilometers from the city of Denizli, it is easily accessible by various means of transportation.


If you are arriving by air, the nearest airport is Denizli Cardak Airport, which operates domestic flights from major cities in Turkey. From the airport, you can take a taxi or arrange for a private transfer to Hierapolis. The journey takes around 1 hour, depending on traffic conditions.


If you are already in Denizli city, you can reach Hierapolis by taking a public bus or dolmuş (shared minibus). The journey typically takes around 30 minutes and offers scenic views of the surrounding countryside.


For those traveling from other parts of Turkey, you can take advantage of the extensive bus network. Denizli has a central bus station with regular services to various cities in the country. From the bus station, you can easily find a bus or dolmuş heading to Pamukkale, from where you can reach Hierapolis by foot or by taking a short taxi ride.


Once you arrive at the entrance of Hierapolis, you will need to purchase an entrance ticket to access the archaeological site. The ticket prices may vary depending on the season and whether you wish to visit additional attractions within the site, such as the Pamukkale terraces.


It’s important to note that the site of Hierapolis is extensive, so be prepared for some walking and exploration. Comfortable shoes and sunscreen are highly recommended, as the area can get hot during summers.


With its convenient location and various transportation options, reaching Hierapolis is relatively easy, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the ancient wonders of this remarkable site.


Entrance Fees

Before venturing into the fascinating world of Hierapolis, it’s essential to know about the entrance fees to the archaeological site. The fees may vary depending on the season and whether you wish to visit additional attractions within the site.


The general entrance ticket to Hierapolis includes access to the main ruins and costs around 50 Turkish Lira (TL) for adults and 25 TL for students. Children under the age of 18 can enter for free. These prices are subject to change, so it’s advisable to check the current rates before your visit.


If you also plan to explore the famous white terraces of Pamukkale, which is located adjacent to Hierapolis, you can purchase a combined ticket that includes entry to both sites. The combined ticket price is approximately 100 TL for adults and 50 TL for students.


It’s worth noting that some areas within the Hierapolis site may require an additional fee. For instance, if you wish to enter the ancient theater or visit the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum, you will need to pay a separate fee. These fees are usually minimal, ranging from 5 TL to 10 TL.


Visitors planning to spend more time exploring Hierapolis and its surroundings can also opt for a Museum Pass, which grants access to various historical sites across Turkey for a specified period. The Museum Pass can be a cost-effective option if you plan to visit multiple attractions during your trip.


It’s important to keep your entrance ticket handy, as you may be asked to present it at various checkpoints within the site. Make sure to inquire about any discounts available, such as for seniors or groups, as these may be applicable to reduce the overall cost of entry.


By familiarizing yourself with the entrance fees beforehand, you can plan your visit accordingly and have a hassle-free experience exploring the wonders of Hierapolis.


Tourist Facilities

When visiting Hierapolis, you’ll find that the site offers a range of tourist facilities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for visitors.


Parking: Hierapolis has designated parking areas where visitors can safely park their vehicles. It’s important to note that there may be a small parking fee, so it’s advisable to have some cash on hand.


Visitor Center: At the entrance of Hierapolis, there is a visitor center where you can find information about the site, its history, and the best routes to explore. The staff at the visitor center are usually helpful and can provide maps and guidebooks to help enhance your visit.


Restrooms: Throughout the site, there are well-maintained restrooms for visitors’ convenience. These facilities offer clean and sanitary conditions for refreshing breaks during your exploration of the ruins.


Snack Stands/Cafeteria: Inside Hierapolis, there are several snack stands and cafes where you can grab a quick bite to eat or enjoy a refreshing beverage. These establishments offer a variety of snacks, drinks, and light meals, providing sustenance for weary travelers.


Souvenir Shops: For those seeking momentos of their visit to Hierapolis, there are souvenir shops scattered around the site. These shops offer a variety of locally-made crafts, traditional Turkish items, and archaeological replicas, allowing you to bring a piece of Hierapolis home with you.


Guided Tours: If you wish to have a more in-depth understanding of Hierapolis and its history, guided tours are available. Professional and knowledgeable tour guides can enhance your experience by providing informative commentary and insights into the ancient city.


Accessibility: Hierapolis is equipped with ramps and pathways to ensure accessibility for visitors with mobility challenges. While some areas may still have uneven terrain due to the nature of archaeological sites, efforts have been made to make the site as accessible as possible.


First Aid: In case of any medical emergencies or minor injuries, there is a first aid station located near the visitor center. Trained staff can provide basic medical assistance and direct you to nearby healthcare facilities if needed.


With these facilities in place, Hierapolis offers a visitor-friendly environment that caters to the needs and comfort of its guests. Whether it’s finding information, grabbing a quick refreshment, or purchasing souvenirs, these amenities ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable visit to this ancient city.


Exploring the Hierapolis Ruins

Exploring the ruins of Hierapolis is a captivating and immersive experience that allows you to unravel the ancient mysteries of this once-thriving city. As you wander through the site, you’ll encounter a myriad of well-preserved structures, stunning mosaics, and remnants of a bygone era.


Start your adventure by entering through the main gate, where you’ll be greeted by ancient columns and grand archways. From there, you can stroll along the well-preserved streets of Hierapolis, imagining what life was like for its inhabitants centuries ago.


One of the highlights of the site is the ancient theater, which could accommodate thousands of spectators. Climb to the top rows and take in the panoramic view of the theater, marveling at the impressive acoustics that allowed even the faintest of sounds to be heard by all.


Adjacent to the theater is the intricately designed Hierapolis Archaeology Museum, where you can admire a collection of fascinating artifacts discovered during the excavations. The museum houses an impressive collection of statues, sarcophagi, and intricate marble carvings that provide insights into the history and culture of Hierapolis.


As you continue your exploration, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the remarkable thermal waters that made Hierapolis famous. The Antique Pool, also known as Cleopatra’s Pool, invites visitors to take a dip in its mineral-rich, turquoise waters, surrounded by ancient Roman columns and fragments of fallen architecture.


Another significant feature of Hierapolis is the Necropolis, a vast necropolis that housed the final resting place of countless individuals. Marvel at the intricately carved tombstones and mausoleums, showcasing the artistic skill and reverence for the deceased of ancient times.


Throughout the site, you’ll also come across well-preserved ancient houses, shops, and public baths, offering a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who once called Hierapolis their home. Admire the stunning mosaics and frescoes that adorn the floors and walls, depicting mythical creatures, gods, and scenes of everyday life.


As you explore the ruins, take your time to soak in the atmosphere and imagine the bustling streets and vibrant community that existed here. Capture the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape from elevated vantage points, while breathing in the air imbued with a sense of history.


Remember to stay on designated pathways and respect the ancient structures by refraining from touching or climbing on them. Enjoy the beauty of Hierapolis, but also preserve it for future generations to marvel at.


Exploring the Hierapolis ruins is like stepping back in time, allowing you to connect with the past and appreciate the rich history of this remarkable ancient city.


Must-See Sites in Hierapolis

Hierapolis is home to a wealth of fascinating archaeological sites that showcase the grandeur and splendor of this ancient city. As you navigate through the ruins, make sure to visit these must-see sites to fully immerse yourself in the history and culture of Hierapolis.

  1. Theater:

    The ancient theater of Hierapolis is a true marvel and an iconic symbol of the city. Built during the reign of the Roman Empire, the theater could accommodate up to 15,000 spectators. Climb to the top rows and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

  2. Martyrium of St. Philip:

    This monumental structure is dedicated to the apostle Philip, who was said to have been martyred in Hierapolis. Explore the beautifully preserved ruins, including the octagonal tomb and the intricate mosaic floors.

  3. Necropolis:

    Step into the vast Necropolis of Hierapolis, where thousands of ancient tombs and mausoleums stretch as far as the eye can see. Admire the intricate carvings on the tombstones and gain insight into ancient burial customs.

  4. Ancient Houses:

    Explore the well-preserved ancient houses of Hierapolis, complete with beautiful mosaics and frescoes. These houses provide a glimpse into the daily lives of the city’s affluent residents.

  5. Hierapolis Archaeology Museum:

    Located near the main entrance, the museum houses a remarkable collection of artifacts discovered at the site. Admire the statues, sarcophagi, and other ancient relics that provide a deeper understanding of Hierapolis’ history.

  6. The Sacred Pool:

    Known as Cleopatra’s Pool, this ancient pool is filled with mineral-rich thermal water. Take a refreshing swim and soak in the historical ambiance surrounded by ancient marble columns.

These are just a few of the must-see sites in Hierapolis; however, the entire site is a treasure trove of archaeological wonders. Take your time to explore and uncover the hidden gems scattered throughout the ruins.


Don’t forget to capture the beauty of these sites through photographs, but also take moments to simply appreciate the grandeur and historical significance of each location. Hierapolis offers a unique opportunity to travel back in time and experience the magnificence of an ancient civilization.


Tips for Visiting Hierapolis Ruins

When planning your visit to the Hierapolis ruins, keep these tips in mind to make the most of your experience:

  1. Come prepared:

    Wear comfortable walking shoes as you’ll be doing a fair amount of walking on uneven terrain. Dress in weather-appropriate clothing and bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses, especially during the summer months when the site can get hot.

  2. Explore early or late in the day:

    To beat the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful visit, consider arriving early in the morning or visiting later in the afternoon. This will also give you more time to leisurely explore the ruins without feeling rushed.

  3. Stay hydrated:

    Bring a refillable water bottle and stay hydrated throughout your visit. There are water fountains available at certain points within the site where you can fill up your bottle.

  4. Follow the rules and respect the site:

    Stay on designated pathways and refrain from climbing or touching the ancient ruins. These structures are delicate and should be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

  5. Bring a camera or smartphone:

    Capture the beauty of Hierapolis by bringing a camera or smartphone for photos. Don’t forget spare batteries or a portable charger to ensure your device doesn’t run out of power.

  6. Consider a guided tour:

    If you want to gain deeper insights into the history and significance of Hierapolis, consider booking a guided tour. A knowledgeable guide can provide interesting explanations and stories about the site, enhancing your overall experience.

  7. Plan for additional attractions:

    If you have the time, consider visiting the nearby Pamukkale terraces, which are known for their stunning white travertine formations. Purchasing a combined ticket will allow you to explore both Hierapolis and Pamukkale.

  8. Respect local customs:

    When visiting Hierapolis, be respectful of local customs and traditions. Dress modestly and be mindful of your behavior within the site.

By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared for your visit to the Hierapolis ruins and ensure an engaging and memorable experience. Take your time to soak in the history, marvel at the ancient architecture, and appreciate the significance of this exceptional archaeological site.



A journey to the Hierapolis ruins is a journey through time, offering a remarkable glimpse into the ancient city’s rich history and cultural heritage. From the grand theater to the sacred pool, every step within the ruins of Hierapolis reveals a new chapter of its illustrious past.


As you traverse the well-preserved streets, marvel at the intricate mosaics, and explore the remnants of ancient houses, you’ll develop a deep appreciation for the achievements of the people who once called this city home. The archaeological wonders of Hierapolis provide a captivating insight into the daily life, religious practices, and architectural prowess of an ancient civilization.


Visiting Hierapolis also offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beautiful natural surroundings. The nearby Pamukkale terraces with their dazzling white travertine formations provide a stunning backdrop to the ancient ruins, adding to the allure of the site.


By following useful tips such as wearing comfortable clothes, staying hydrated, and respecting the site, you can make the most of your visit to Hierapolis. Consider exploring early in the day or later in the afternoon to avoid crowds and enjoy a more serene experience.


Whether you are a history enthusiast, a cultural explorer, or simply a curious traveler, a visit to Hierapolis will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the wonders of the ancient world. The city’s profound historical significance combined with its mesmerizing ruins make it a destination that shouldn’t be missed.


So, step back in time, wander through the ancient streets, and let your imagination take flight at the magnificent Hierapolis ruins. Discover the stories that lie within its walls, and create unforgettable memories that will linger long after you’ve left this captivating place.


Begin your journey to Hierapolis, where the past comes alive and awaits your exploration.