The necropolis is one of the best preserved and extensive of its kind in the world. This city of the dead contains tumuli, sarcophagi and house shaped tombs lying stretched along both sides of the road extending 2km to the north. Most of about the 1200 tombs were constructed with local varieties of limestone. The extent of this necropolis attests again to the importance Hierapolis had in the Antiquity. It is worth taking one’s time to wander amongst the tombs, that date from antiquity to early Christian times, and marvel at the ostentation that these residents of Heirapolis afforded to their tombs. It has a fairyland quality.
Midway between Uzuncaburç and Silifke, the village of Demircili retains some Roman mausolea of the IInd or IIIrd century CE. They were built outside the town of Imbriogon, the scanty ruins of which are barely visible in the fields to the west of the road. The mausolea were built on commanding locations and therefore have always been very visible, yet unlike the town, they are almost intact as if they were protected by a sort of awe.
The overall design of the mausolea with columns and a standard entablature still produces the effect of small temples.
The small size of the door in one mausoleum and the remaining part of a relief showing a couple in the other one indicate the actual purpose of the two buildings.
The Hypogeum was the Roman-Etruscan tomb of Arnth Veltimna Aules. It is part of the larger Palazzone necropolis, a burial ground dating to the 6th-5th century BC, with numerous subterranean tombs. A museum building displays funerary urns and other artifacts found in the excavations of the area. More urns are displayed in the separate building covering the Volumnus tomb. The Volumnus tomb itself is accessed by a staircase which leads several metres under the surface to the portal leading inside to a vestibule. This in turn opens into four small side chambers and three larger central ones, the middle of which housed the remains of the family’s main members. Only this chamber now displays burial urns and artifacts. Arnth’s urn is made of travertine, and is surmounted by a representation of the deceased lying on a triclinium.
This is a graceful, two-chamber monument with an Ionic facade of four semi-columns which support the entablature and the pediment. In the pediment’s hollow, a semi-declining couple is depicted in fresco. The three fleuron points which decorate the pediment retain their intense red and blue colours untouched, while the whole vaulted roof of the antechamber is painted with water lilies and fleuron (anthemia) in white and violet tones on a light blue background. The tomb gets its conventional name from these flowers.
The facade’s entrance was blocked by simple stone plinths, while the passageway from the first to the second chamber used to close with a monumental two-leaved marble door, which today we see fallen to the chamber floor. Inside the main death chamber, a four-sided stone base is preserved which contained some kind of metal vessel or reliquary with the bones of the dead.
Hieroglyphic decorations from the temple of the 18th Dynasty female pharaoh Hatshepsut (r. ca. 1479-1458 BCE) at Deir el-Bahari, on the west bank of the Nile opposite Luxor. Here, Hatshepsut’s stepson, co-regent, and eventual successor Thutmose III (r. 1479-1425 BCE) is shown presenting offerings to the falcon-headed god Horus. Photo credit: