Grim sadness, from blackened limestone; the truth is in the face of a community, that has let its environment down.
Feeding off this sensational, unique, one of a kind creation -that time and nature have brought to us- local stupidity has managed to suck it dry -or nearly dry- for a lucrative bankroll.
But the greed is revealed in full. The control. The carelessness. The callousness.
And it took how long for AtaTurk’s great Turkey to destroy it?
Fair enough, the first time the city, Heirapolis collapsed, was in 16 A.D from a devastating earthquake. But this did not taint the pale limestone of the thermal baths.
Heirapolis (‘Sacred City’ in Greek) was built above the tainted, blackened, kharsk valley of limestone, and built a second time by Romans, taken from Attalus III on his death bed. This historical site is not only worth spending the time, but anyone who doesn’t take the pilgrimage around the whole of the ancient city -once home to 50, 000 Jews around 3rd B.C- should atone for this desecration of laziness while back on the tour bus towards Cappadocia.
Depending on which angle of the ‘Cotton Castle’ (Pamukkale in Turkish) you leave from, will be your first ‘city’ landmark.
For us, it was the gymnasium, then an old, broken, forgotten, earthen formed wall to the theater.
It’s a gorgeous theater, re-produced very well compared to Efes (in general). The cerebral energy -despite the crowd- brings light images of council meetings. Early democratic responsibility and the whole city having a word in the proceedings. And after the council meeting, one has to imagine, it had to have been followed up by a piece of Greek -or Latin- grace, out of the gullet, of the sexiest (except her younger sister of course) Belladonna, that side of the Empire.
It’s a small mission, but St. Philip’s Tomb is not only that; it’s the spot which he garnered for prayer, for his prophecies, and for his reflections in his last years of life -before his Martyrdome.
Philip was stapled to a cross upside down -apparently for converting the local ruler’s wife- beside Bartholomew, who was later released after Philip started preaching -upside down. He had a very attuned pilgrimage landmark, for Jesus followers during the last of his apostle years. One of the 12 apostles, he had 28 rooms made up in his temple. It’s not the size of a 144-bed albergue that you’ll find on the Camino De Santiago, but nearly 2000 years ago, 28 people walking from God-knows-well-enough, is still pretty impressive!
*For accomodation: We slept in our tent next to the pond, behind a big billboard at the south gate.
And for a cheap breakfast before heading off to the UNESCO site check out ‘Kucuk Adamin’ (Small Man in Turkish) for a 1.75 euro Turkish Breakfast, free extra bread and an extra boiled egg for about 30 cents. You’ll have to chase down your own tea up the road, but there are few teahouses around.