Perhaps better known by tourists as Pamukkale, Hierapolis is an ancient city of the Lycus River valley famed for its sacred hot springs.
There’s a lot to see at this UNESCO World Heritage Site, whose most popular attraction includes the thermally heated Sacred Pool where you can swim among the remains of ancient Roman columns, toppled into the water by various earthquakes.
Among the ruins are the remains of the Temple of Apollo (Apollo was believed by ancients to have been the divine founder of the city), the Gate of Domitian, the tomb of Flavius Zeuxis, necropolis (graveyard), the Plutonium (a cave believed to have been the entrance to the underworld), and the theater.
Among these, the theater is perhaps the most well-preserved. Constructed around 200BC, it could hold 20,000 spectators in its day. These days, just 30 rows remain.
As you near Hierapolis, you won’t be able to miss seeing the spectacular white terraces of Pamukkale. Easily viewed from the ancient city, these terraces are created by a natural build up of calcium carbonate, a by-product of the hot spring water that flows down the slopes.
Hierapolis (Pamukkale) is 270km (168mi) from Izmir and takes approximately 4.5 hours by road.