The Temple of Apollo in the Hierapolis
Located on the main street between the theater and a sacred pool, this forty-by-sixty-foot temple was dedicated to the supposed god of light, Apollo. The entrance faced west and was approached by a broad flight of stairs.
Beneath the Temple of Apollo is the Plutonium; the cave that people believed led to the underworld. Pluto (or Hades, as the Greeks called him), was viewed as the god of the underworld and supposedly came and went via the opening to the cave, which was next to the temple.
The Plutonium played an important role in the culture of that day. Strabo, a Roman writer, described the fenced plaza in front of the cave opening where ceremonies took place. No doubt the consequences of entering the cave had much to do with its importance. All animals and most people, except the priests of the gods, died instantly if they entered it and breathed its poisonous gases. No one knows how the priests survived?perhaps they held their breath or had an unknown source of fresh air. Even today poisonous gases seep out of the cave, so its entrance is blocked by a fence to protect the unwary.
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