Hierapolis, meaning "Sacred City," was an ancient center for pagan cults until it was transformed into a Christian center. In the first century it was part of the tri-city area of Laodicea, Colossae, and Hierapolis. This connection between the cities lies behind Paul's reference to Hierapolis and Laodicea in his epistle to the Colossians (Col 4:13). According to tradition, the Apostle Philip lived in Hierapolis with his daughters, and was martyred here in 80 AD Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus (2nd century AD) stated Philip was also buried here. During the Byzantine era the city had a large Jewish population.The church in Hierapolis, like those in neighboring Colossae and Laodicea, was probably established by Epaphras (Col. 4:12-13) working under the direction of Paul during his extended stay in Ephesus during his third missionary journey.
It was the likely the hot springs of Hierapolis in contrast to the cold mountain springs to the southwest that combined to bring application to the "luke warm" Laodiceans. (Rev 3:14-22)
The city was founded in 190 B.C. by Eumenes II, king of Pergamon. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries, it reached the height of its development as a Roman thermal bath center.
Hierapolis has such extensive ruins which is suggested: the city walls, the octagonal Martyrium of St. Philip, the 2nd century theater, Temple of Apollo, basilica then the necropolis which covers 2 km. and contains some of the best examples of tomb styles ; it is one of the best-preserved cemeteries in all of Anatolia. The East Bath is in archaeology museum housing many of the remains from Hierapolis.
Dating back to the Calcholithic age, this
was the site of a settlement of the earliest communities, and changed
hands continuously, becoming the center of various civilizations in
different time periods. The ancient city of Laodikeia is here, within
the borders of Denizli, with its ruins awaiting for the sightseers. In
addition to Triopolis which was known as the center of bishops, while
Christianity spread. Hierapolis is another Ancient City, being a
historical treasure, while it also offers a real wonder of nature in its
vicinity. Named, as today "Pamukkale", this place is astonishingly
beautiful, and unique in the world with its white travertine offering
Manbij or Mumbij) is an ancient city located in Turkey, in a fertile
district about 16 miles southwest of the confluence of the Sajur and
Euphrates. There is abundant water supply from large springs.
Hierapolis was established by King Eumenes 2 and was given the name of "Hiera" in the honour of the wife of Telephos, the legendary establisher of the ancient Pergamum.
Hierapolis was visited frequently by the people from the nearest cities and Laodicea -the ancient site established before Hierapolis, for using the thermal springs known for its curing properties to various illnesses. From the 3 BC, as the fame of Hierapolis increased continually, migrations started from around and Hierapolis became an attractive and a favorable settlement, a rival city to Laodicea.
Hierapolis was given to the Roman Empire in 133 BC, in the will of Pergamon King, Attalos 2. The city was destroyed completely by an earthquake in 17AD, in the reign of Tiberious. The re-construction of Hierapolis was started in 60 AD, during the reign of Nero. Hierapolis reached its high and lived the most prosperous periods during the reign of Severus and his son Caracalla, around the years of 196AD and 215AD. A considerable development existed in the city, in art and culture. Many rich marble mines were founded and the marbles of Hierapolis were used in Hagia Sophia of Istanbul.
Hierapolis was governed by a Roman governor of Ephesus, in the Roman period. Sources stated that the city was also visited by Hadrian. With the division of the Roman Empire into two in 395 AD, the city was ruled by the Byzantine. Hierapolis became the capital of Phyrigia during the reign of Constantine.
The acceptance of Christianity created a new stage for the social and religious structure of Hierapolis' becoming a patriarchal center. Also, in 80 AD, St. Philip -one of the 12 Apostles, was thought to have been killed in Hierapolis. The city lost its prior importance from the early of the 6th century, continuing to the 11th century. The dreadful earthquake in 1354 meant the city was emptied, totally and has not settled properly since that date, even in Turkish-Ottoman periods. The city was covered by the uncontrolled waters and travertine. Today the thermal waters of Hierapolis reached to its former fame and became an interesting touristical center for foreigners.
Hierapolis was not reputed only for its thermal waters, but also for its various temples and social activities including the lively festivals and music concerts, favored by all. Therefore, tourism was one of the main incomes of Hierapolis, during that era. Textile was also developed gradually and became the principal source of the city's prosperity.