Hierapolis cemetery is one of the widest cemeteries in Anatolia. It has three different parts, north, south and west. The north one is the largest one in Hierapolis with more than 1200 graves. Graves in Hierapolis necropolis have suitability for the social class of the dead. The extensive Necropolis extends for over two kilometers on either side of the old road to Phrygian Tripolis and Sardis in the ancient city of Hierapolis. The site is one of the best preserved in Turkey and most of about the 1,200 tombs were constructed with local varieties of limestone found near the adjacent Western Anatolian village of Pamukkale.
This necropolis is one of the best preserved in Turkey. Most of about the 1200 tombs were constructed with local varieties of limestone. The extent of this necropolis attest to the importance Hierapolis had in the Antiquity.
There are 4 different types of graves here and belong to the late Hellenistic, Roman and Eastern Roman periods. Hierapolis was not very big settlement in itself but it has huge necropolis lands because it was a holy city and old people used to come to benefit from the thermal baths and spend their last days here and many of them died and buried here. In addition some people who lived nearby were also buried here on their own wishes.
Tumulus Graves: They have a round plan and very large. They are mound raised over a grave. Inside of them there are grave rooms and it is possible to enter this inside rooms with a small doors. Tumulus type graves look like small hill.
Sarcophagus: All sarcophagus type of graves was made from marble because they were belonging to the upper social class such as riches, heroes, noble people etc and they were large decorative coffins. It means in Greek “flesh eating”. Sarcophaguses stand on ground, on a podium, or on top of a cell.
Public Graves: Public graves were underground and made for the ordinary people. They had box shape.
Family type graves: According the number of the persons in the family, largeness of the family type grave changes because these graves were made for all individuals of a family. Mostly they have several rooms, roofs and also windows.
Among these all types just sarcophaguses were made from marble all others made from limestone. Each tomb has an inscription about name and life of the deceased and also social clubs in the city and their activities are mentioned.