Saturday, December 22, 2007

Turkey (Hierapolis)

Just beside the hot springs of Pamukkale, is Hierapolis. Because of the belief that the springs could cure sicknesses, many sick people came here with the dream of getting better. Many of these dreams did not come true. We know this because there is a large necropolis (a large cemetery or burial place) in Hierapolis. The word 'necropolis' literally means, "City of the Dead".

Hierapolis ancient ruins can still be seen here. Huge blocks of rocks made up the still visible public baths, library and even gymnasium. One of these ancient buildings have even been transformed into an archaeological museum that tourists can enter.

According to the experts, at its best times, Hierapolis grew to have about 100,000 inhabitants (a big deal in ancient times) and many were wealthy. At some points in its history, it was also multi racial and multi religious. There were signs that there were Jews here. There was also a Christian church. Philip the Apostle was said to have spent the last years of his life here. He was also said to have been crucified and his body was buried here.

All these ancient ruins made me think: Will our modern civilizations one day be ruined like this only to have future more generations discovered them and made into a tourist attraction? It sounds preposterous I know, but I bet the inhabitants of Hierapolis, especially when it was thriving, with wonderful stone buildings, towers, libraries and thriving streets would have brushed away similar suggestions by saying that that thought too was preposterous.

At the rate mankind is wrecking havoc to the environment and weathers that are becoming more and more unstable, I think that thought might just be possible.

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