The Treasures, burials, and antiquities of the Arab world have shared the history of the Hirapolis Plutonion, which is also known as the ‘Gate of Hell’ is a sacred sanctuary in the ancient Greek Roman and Byzantine city of Hirapolis, located in classical Phrygia in present-day Denizli district of Turkey.
The archaeologists have stated that the Hierapolis was founded as a thermal spa in the 2nd century BC by the Attalid kings of Pergamom. The city has become a religious hub of healing, where doctors believed the near thermal springs loaded with calcium had medical properties for treating chronic and sick diseases.
“With the death of the last king of Atlos (Atalus III) of Bergamon in 133 BC, the city inherited the Roman Republic and became part of the Roman province of Asia (also called Asiana),” said the archaeologists.
The city has been sheltered above a natural cave that emits thermal water and toxic volcanic carbon dioxide (CO2), which flows as a suffocating hidden fog that believes Pluto, the underworld god, has sent it.
The reports have also mentioned that the cave was used for a ritual by Gali, special priests of the goddess Cybel, who descended through the “gate of hell” into the chamber to prove their divine protection and offer sacrifices.
The gate was built into an open courtyard wall, surrounded by high seating for the audience, called a theatre. The gas emitted from the cave forms on the playground floor, which was concentrated during the night to form a “lake” choking CO2.
Scientists believe the area was used to make animal sacrifices, scheduled to be made at dawn before the sun’s heat dissipated the concentration of carbon dioxide.
Plutonians have been described by several ancient books, including Strabo, Bellini the Greater, Cassius Dio, and Damascius, where Strabo described: “Any animal that passes inside meets instant death. I threw the birds out, and immediately they breathed their last and fell.”
It has been reported that After Christians closed the gate as part of a pagan ritual cleansing, Plutonians were abandoned in the 6th century until archaeologists rediscovered it in 1965.