List of Tombs in Ancient Hierapolis Necropolis

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The tombs in the extensive necropolis of ancient Hierapolis, or city of the dead are known for their exquisite architecture and preserved state. The tombs of the Hierapolis necropolis are located just outside the ancient city walls and are spread over an area of approximately 2.5 square kilometers. The tombs in the necropolis range in date from the Hellenistic period to the early Christian era.

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One of the most striking features of the Hierapolis necropolis is its abundance of sarcophagi. These stone coffins were often decorated with elaborate relief carvings depicting scenes from the life of the deceased. Many of the sarcophagi in the Hierapolis necropolis are carved in the local style known as "Pamphylian," which features intricate floral and geometric designs.

Another notable feature of the Hierapolis necropolis is its large number of rock-cut tombs. These tombs were carved directly into the rock face and were often decorated with reliefs and inscriptions. Some of the rock-cut tombs are large enough to contain multiple burial chambers.

The Hierapolis necropolis also contains a number of underground tombs, or hypogea. These tombs were often used for the burial of wealthy or prominent individuals and were elaborately decorated with frescoes and mosaics.

Notable Tombs

circa 250 CE

Tomb 65
The tomb 65 is a funerary-structure of large proportions, is built on a base with one step, with a moulded bench decorated with lions' paws. The tomb emulates on a larger scale the form of the smaller tombs with a funerary room (hyposorion) on which the srcophagai were placed. Its distinctive feature is the presence of two chambers divided by a wall made of blocks on which rests a roof characterised by a projecting cornice. On the short side towards the road, the inscription recalls the occupant Flavia Mettia Theophiliana; the sarcophagus on the bed is in fine marble from the quarries of Docimion (near Afyon).

circa 50 CE

Tomb A18
The funerary monument designated as A18, one of the best preserved structures in the Northern Necropolis, was built with a square plan and in the shape of a small temple. The facade is framed by projecting pilasters; the roofing slabs rest on the two frontons and the lateral cornices. Beneath the base is a subterranean chamber partially carved out of the rock. The two chambers have sepulchral beds along the walls.

circa 50-150 CE

Tomb A6
The sepulchre designated as the 'tomb A6' was built to a U-shaped plan with the sarcophagi laid out on the roof, in order to exalt the dead. The complex, which lies on the road opposite the basilica-baths, is built over a subterranean structure divided in to two chambers with funerary niches. The construction of the walls is typical of the first to second century CE and has a carefully constructed cornices and decoration. Outside, between the two wings, lies a large marble sarcophagus decorated with wreaths.


Tomb 176
The burial monument designated as tomb 176 has a very distinctive facade that resembles the apprearance of a house, in which there is a row of windows. The door granting access to the funerary complex has mouldings on the doorframe and architrave. Inside,two courtyards contain various sarcophagi; two flights of steps lead down to the chambers with vaulted ceilings (inspect).

circa 50 CE

Tumulus 51
The circular tomb, designated as tumulus 51, consisting of a low cylindrical drum is made of travertine slabs supporting an earth cone. Two flights of steps lead to the ante-chamber of the subterranean funerary chamber, covered by a barrel baulted roof with sepulchral beds along the walls. The entrance to the chamber was closed off with a stone slab.The building was built in the late Hellenistic age; an inscription of the second century CE referes to the last occupant, Lucius Salvius Paolinus.

circa 90 CE

Tomb A28
The building has a monumental facade within a funerary area with numerous sarcophagi, arranged along a road which ran alongside the edge of the ancient city of Hierapolis on the valley side. The tomb rests on a base with staps, with a bench placed in front of it. The building has pilasters in the corners and a Doric frieze with triglyphs and metopes decorated with flowers. Above the door an inscription in marble refers to the activity of the merchant Flavius Zeusi, who passed Cape Malea in the Peloponnese 70 times on his way to Italy. Below the base, a flight of staps leads to the subterranean chamber carved out of the calcareous rockl the space contains three sepulchral beds.

circa 150-250 CE

Tomb 170
The tomb 170 is surrounded by a funerary wall; it rests on a base with steps and has a bench placed in front of it with lions paws on the side facing the road. The funerary chamber appears to be of good constrcution, with regular blocks and pilasters in the corners; over the door is a marble plaque bearing an inscription that was erased in antiquity. Within are three beds arranged along the walls, on two superimposed levels. An ossuary was found in the floor slabs.

circa 20 CE

Tomb 163d
The building has a roof sloping on both sides and a particularly fine facade. The benches, the door and the cornices are also characterised by expert craftmanship. The sepulchre, belonging to a Jewish family, has a high podium built on a rock and a quadrangular funerary chamber. Below this, an unviolated subterranean burial crypt was discovered. The remains belong to thirty-one individuals; on the floor were terracotta urns containing human bones together with small funerary object.

circa 150-250 CE

Tomb 162
On the sdie fo the tomb facing the road is a facade in large blocks corresponding to two funerary chambers. Two large doors give access to the rooms while on the southern side there is a window framed by an original structure with pillars. In the two chambers lie sarcophagi, placed there at different times during antiquity. In the northern room is a marble sarcophagus, partially carved with garlands, belonging to Marcus Aurelius Ammianus Menandrianus, affiliated with the association of linen workers. From the southern room there is access to a small chamber with three beds arranged below an arch.

circa 175 CE

Tomb 114
The tomb lies on the left hand side of the road and is enclosed by a perimeter wall; it rests on a base with three steps; with a bench placed in front of it. Inside are three beds and the ossuary. On the roof, a sarcophagus, broken as a result of earthquake during ancient times, bears an inscription mentioning the occupant Aelios Apollinarios and his wife Neratia Apollonia. On the facade is an inscription of great interest which refers to the punishment inflicted upon those who violate the sepulchre, as well as the usual fines, it invokes diseases, misfotunes and punishments in the next world. The inscription has led to the building being named as the "tomb of the curses".

circa 150-250 CE

Tomb 81
The tomb is built on a high platform that compensates for the difference in evel of the land behind it. Inside the chamber are three sepulchral beds, arranged along the walls, and a very deep ossuary. On the roof slabs, which jut out a long way, are two sarcophagi. Two inscriptions beside the door and the inscription on the slab that closed it (now housed in the museum nearby) refer to the successive occupants, including Eutyches Pompeios, who left 100 denari to the association of wool washers for the periodic decoration of the tomb.

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