Castabala - Hierapolis

Location: 

GPS coordinates: 37.176701, 36.183998

The ruins of ancient Castabala, located on the Cilician Plain, can make some visitors dizzy - not only because of their picturesque location but also because of the multitude of names by which this place is known. Below we will use the name Castabala because it is a hallmark of the city. However, in the past, it was described with many other words. In the Hellenistic period, it was known as Hierapolis, just like the famous Roman spa located at Pamukkale. Since the city lies in the valley of the Ceyhan River, in ancient times known as Pyramus, it was frequently called Hierapolis ad Pyramum. What's more, the fortress towering over the city is referred to as Bodrum Kalesi, reminiscent of the well-known holiday resort on the coast of the Aegean Sea.

Castabala - Hierapolis - Bodrum Kalesi
Castabala - Hierapolis - Bodrum Kalesi

Sightseeing: 

The main communication axis of the city is a colonnaded street, 200 meters long and 11 meters wide, running from east to west. Many columns have been preserved to our times. Moreover, some of them are still decorated with capitals of Corinthian order.

To the south of this street, there are the ruins of a church and a Byzantine bathhouse, and to the east, it is possible to discern the traces of the Temple of Artemis Perasia. On the eastern side, you can also find a theater, with 15 rows of seats remaining.

A steep hill, 35 meters high, rises above the city. In ancient times it was most probably functioning as the Acropolis of Castabala. Today, its peak is covered by the ruins of a medieval castle. On the northern side of the hill, there are ruins of more churches and some tombs carved into the rock.

Visitor tips: 

Admission to the ruins of Castabala is free of charge. At the entrance, there is an information board in Turkish and English. The ruins are open to visitors daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Castabala lies on the road to the National Park of Karatepe-Aslantaş (25 km further to the north), so it is worth to use the opportunity and visit both of these places during one trip.

Getting there: 

By car: Castabala is located in Osmaniye Province, very close E90 motorway that connects Adana (105 km to the west) with the region of South-Eastern Anatolia. Exit the motorway 92 km east of Adana to get to Osmaniye ring road, and then follow the northern road. After 12 km you will reach Castabala. Please note that Castabala turn-off in the center of Osmaniye is very poorly signposted.

Without your means of transport, reaching the ruins of Castabala is only possible by taxi. The nearest city, where you can hire a taxi, is Osmaniye, 16 km to the south of the ruins.

Bibliography: 

Wilson, Mark, Biblical Turkey