We Found Our (Ancient) Home!

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Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

Not every ruin site can be an overwhelming wonder like Ephesus, that which left us staggering and hungry for information, ancient stories, and more to photograph.

But we do try to give them all a chance. With every site we visit on our travels, we attempt to place ourselves there – wondering what it was like to roam the marbled streets, maybe hear Christian saints woe the pagans, and especially to build the impressive structures without modern tools.

At Hierapolis, this transportation to another time was easily done. For the first time, we found a place we could have seen hanging our own hats (or, robes, as it were).

In ancient times, we believe we would have lived here.

The first reason is obvious, as the city was built atop of Pamukkale – the residents believing that the many hot springs in the area had significant healing properties. (For someone who has arthritis, two bad ankles, and a variety of other ailments, you can bet I would have taken advantage of the local spa daily.)

And then there are the gentle mountains surrounding, of which we could have spent many happy days hiking through.

The field of Hierapolis

The design aesthetic suits us fine.

Architectural details - Hierapolis Turkey

Although large by ancient standards (100,000 inhabitants), it would have been the perfect size for these lovers of small towns (who still enjoy some big city amenities). There was only one large road that ran the length of the city, connected by two fortified gates.


We both love a good show. And of course Hierapolis came equipped with it’s own large capacity, state-of-the-ancient-art theatre.

Theatre Hierapolis Turkey

Hell, there was no reason to even go anywhere else. With the excellent warm weather and  proximity to the natural spa, many people came to Hierapolis to retire. Look, we even picked out our own tomb to share.

Tomb Hierapolis Turkey

Although, we might have been a little more picky on who we hired to build our house. I mean, this building can’t stand on it’s own after only 2,000 years? Shameful.

Falling building Hierapolis Turkey

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  1. Ah, picking out a tomb together… the ultimate in vacation romance! 😉

    As usual, your photos are wonderful. I really like the one that focuses in on the engraving of the woman’s face. It’s amazing how well some of these details have been preserved!

    1. Thanks Steph! Yes, I always think the same thing when touring ruins – wondering how the details have stayed so exquisite!

  2. Just reserve me a room big enough to occasionally visit and I’m happy to follow you two anywhere 😉 LOL

    Love the conversion to sepia/b&w! 😉

  3. Really, it sounds way too touristy for you guys. Plus with contractors like that, there’s no telling what might happen. And one large road? Can you imagine the traffic? I think you’d better keep looking. 🙂

  4. Love the photos! But this simply isn’t luxurious enough for me because did you see those minuscule theater seats? Not to mention they look hard as a rock.

  5. Splendid photos as always. Looks like a nice place to live. I love visiting crumbly old castles and imagining myself living there. As the King naturally… in my Elvis outfit.

  6. I think I’d prefer to lay my hat in Ephesus (loved that post too, btw). I like to be on the coast and the Ephesians made all visitors arriving by sea wash at the port bath house before entering the city. Very civilised!

  7. We loved Hierapolis too! You forgot to mention the awesome hot springs with the ruins. I know they weren’t there when you *lived* there, but they’re too cool to miss now!

    1. Hmmm…yes there are some Irish castles that wouldn’t be too shabby either. Could do without the pigeon (food) rooms though. 🙂

  8. Beautiful shots! Better call those architects and ask them what the heck happened to your house. I have a feeling we could’ve been neighbors there.

  9. These shots are amazing. It would have been great to live in those ancient times in a beautiful city like this. This is the first time I see shots of Hierapolis. Pamukkale seems to steal the entire attention.

  10. Hi Dalene and Peter,
    I just stumbled into your amazing blog recently. I enjoy the writing and the thoughts on this post and I love the spectacular photography. I just started a photoblog with my husband and I love blogs with great photos like yours. I pinged back your Marrakesh post to the Marrakesh post in my blog:) -Marisol

    1. Thank you Marisol! Congratulations on your new blog, I really like the looks of it and you have some spectacular photos yourself!

  11. Picking out a tomb to share huh? That’s when you know it’s true love 😛

    This was a fun post – there’s definitely something about trying to imagine yourself living in the ruined places you visit – I think it helps imagine what life there must have been like, rather than just looking at it and seeing a bunch of broken pillars and stones.

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