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There are only a few historical facts known about the origin of the city. No traces of the presence of Hittites or Persians have been found. The Phrygians built a temple dedicated to Hieron, probably in the first half of the third century BC. This temple would later form the center of Hierapolis. Hierapolis was founded as a thermal spa early in the second century BC and given by the Romans to Eumenes II, king of Pergamon in 190 BC. The city was expanded with proceeds from the booty from the Battle of Magnesia in 190 BC. Hierapolis became a healing center where doctors used the hot thermal springs as a treatment for their patients. The city began issuing bronze coins in the second century BC. These coins give the name Hieropolis (town of the temple Hieron). This name eventually changed into Hierapolis (Holy city). In 133 BC, when Attalus III died, he bequeathed his kingdom to Rome. Hierapolis thus became part of the Roman province of Asia. The Hellenistic city was slowly transformed into a Roman town. In the year 17 an earthquake destroyed the city. In 60, an even more severe earthquake left the city completely in ruins. Afterwards the city was rebuilt in Roman style with the financial support of the emperor. It was during this period that the city attained its present form. The theatre was built in 129 when the emperor Hadrian visited the town. It was renovated under Septimus Severus (193-211). When emperor Caracalla visited the town in 215 he bestowed on the city the much coveted title of Neocoros, according the city certain privileges and the right of sanctuary. Thousands of people came to benefit from the medicinal properties of the hot springs. New building projects were started; two Roman baths, a gymnasium, several temples, a main street with a colonnade and a fountain at the hot spring. Hierapolis became one of the most prominent cities in the Roman empire in the fields of the arts, philosophy and trade. The town grew to 100,000 inhabitants and became wealthy. According to the geographer Stephanus of Byzantium, the city was given its name because of the large number of temples it contained (again a sign of wealth). Through the influence of the Christian apostle Paul, a church was founded here while he was at Ephesus. The Christian apostle Philip spent the last years of his life here. In 80 he was martyred by crucifixion and was buried here. The Martyrium was built on the spot where Philip was crucified. During his campaign in 370 against the Sassanid king Shapur II the Roman emperor Valens made the last ever imperial visit to the city. During the 4th century the Christians filled the Plutonium (a sacred cave) with stones, suggesting that Christianity had become the dominant religion and that earlier religions were suppressed. In 531 the Byzantine emperor Justinian raised the bishop of Hierapolis to the rank of metropolitan. The Roman baths were transformed to a Christian basilica. In the early 7th century, the town was devastated by Persian armies and again by a destructive earthquake, from which it took a long time to recover. In the 12th century, the area came under the control of the Seljuk sultanate of Konya. In the year 1190 crusaders under Frederick Barbarossa fought with the Byzantines and conquered the town. About thirty years later, the town was abandoned and the Seljuks built a castle in the 13th century. The city was abandoned in the late 14th century. In the year 1534, another earthquake toppled the remains of the ancient city. The ruins were slowly covered with a thick layer of limestone. After the large white limestone formations of the hot springs became famous again in the 20th century it was turned into a tourist attraction named Cotton Castle (Pamukkale).
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