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Entrance to Underworld Detail

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Entrance to Underworld Detail
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View looking down at the arched opening that is thought to lead to the underworld!  According to the excavator, noxious gases were (are?) emitted from this opening—and this was the "gate to hades"!  This arched way is flanked on both sides by a "colonnade" of pilasters in the Ionic order.

This wall and entrance were constructed in the late first century B.C.  At that time the rock face of the terrace, with its opening, was covered with travertine blocks, with Ionic semi-columns flanking the entrance to the cavity.

Above the arch is a dedicatory inscription, in Latin, that mentions Pluto and his bride Kore, deities ruling the Underworld.

According to ancient authors, rites were performed at the entrance of this cave.  Bulls were sacrificed by causing them to be asphyxiated by the fumes from the cave.  If thermal waters also flowed from this cave, then there must have been some sort of raised platform on which the rites were performed—that is, above the water.

In March 2013, Francesco D'Andria, professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento and excavator at Hierapolis announced th at he had excavated the well–known, to ancient authors, Plutonium at Hierapolis—known as the gate to the Underworld.