Ancient graves under restoration at Hierapolis

Excavations continue in Denizli’s ancient city Hierapolis and artifacts are being unearthed. By the end of the year, most of the graves in Turkey’s largest ancient graveyard will be restored

Ancient graves under restoration at Hierapolis
The extensive necropolis at the ancient city Hierapolis [Credit: AA]
Turkey’s largest ancient graveyard, dating back 2,500 years ago, is being unearthed in the ancient Graeco-Roman city Hierapolis in the western province Denizli’s Pamukkale.

Excavations have been on going in the ancient city and its necropolis by an Italian team since 1957.

Tasks are continuing in Plutonium Inn, Gate to Hel, St. Philippus Church, the ancient theater, necropolis, bath and basilica this year and artifacts from underground are being unearthed.

Denizli Mayor Abdulkadir Demir said they were celebrating the 25th anniversary of Pamukkale’s inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List. He said Pamukkale was a very important tourism center for Turkey due to its travertine, ancient pool and thermal sources. He said, “When we look at figures in the beginning of November, we see the number of visitors is 100,000 more than last year. Interest is increasing every year.”

He said one of the largest reasons for the increase was operations in the ancient city Hierapolis, adding restorations and excavations were continuing in eight areas.

Demir said work in the ancient graveyard in the northern necropolis was very important in terms of the history of archaeology and continued, “Turkey’s largest necropolis is in the ancient city Hierapolis. It means the most significant graveyards from the ancient age are here. This year, we removed the asphalt road passing from the middle of the necropolis and other parts were cleaned. This cleaning will be finished by the end of the year. During these tasks, we discovered a very nice ancient road. We will start working for the revival of two monumental graves to be finished by the end of the year. We have also begun planning for 2014. We will unearth the other monumental graves here. Pamukkale’s visitors will be able to visit the ancient area, too.”

As for the fact that the necropolis is the largest in Turkey, Demir said, “2,500 years ago people came to this thermal source to recover their health. After a certain age, they began living here and were buried here when they died. Each grave is a different size, depending on people’s income. The restoration of the big and important graves here will be finished by the end of this year. The goal of the task is to increase the number of tourists. We will also establish a thermal tourism center in Karahay?t.”

The Denizli Museum Director Hasan Huseyin Baysal said the graves in the Hierapolis necropolis dated back to the 1st century A.D.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [November 19, 2013]

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