Hierapolis hīərăp´əlĭs [key], ancient city of Phrygia, W Asia Minor, 7 mi (11.3 km) N of Laodicea and on a plateau 500 ft (152 m) above the Lycus valley (in present-day Turkey). Devoted to the worship of Leto in ancient times, it became an early seat of Christianity (Colossians 4.13). The Romans greatly enlarged and improved the city, building a large theater and numerous baths about the hot springs for which the site is famous. Near the city was a deep chasm called the Plutonium, which the ancients thought led to the nether regions the fissure no longer exists. Extensive ruins survive from the Roman and Christian periods.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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