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Hierapolis – World Heritage site in Western Turkey

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Hierapolis is a World Heritage Site in Western Turkey and a major tourist attraction with a two-thousand-year-old mystery, only solved by modern technology. The town stands on five hundred feet high white cliffs and definitely has the wow factor. In 150 BC the Romans took over control of the area from Greek settlers and proceeded to build an amphitheatre and gymnasium, these amenities being a traditional part of Roman life. They didn’t stop there though. They built a Sanctuary for Apollo and a statute of Pluto, the God of the Underworld together with his hound Severus. Why Pluto, when there were so many gods to choose from? The reason for this was because the Romans felt that at Hierapolis, they had an entrance to the underworld.
 
The evidence for this was a portal in the rock, which became known as the Plutonium, into which birds fell from the sky and by dying ,entered the underworld. Hierapolis was deemed to be a mysterious and holy place. With modern technology, Scientists have refuted this by finding that the presence of the spring water here, gave off carbon dioxide. This gas, toxic to living creatures rose in the air, killing the birds and any other animal that succumbed to it. There was indeed something in the water!
 
The Romans did not have the technology to discover this, and so Pluto the God of Death was served in the Plutonium by priests, who accepted annual sacrifices to the God. Cattle presented at the entrance to the portal duly died, but the priests were unaffected. 
As the priests were standing, they initially inhaled less of the poisonous vapours from the water, 
than the cattle.  An eye witness to the proceedings noted that the priests held their breath, so they knew that there was something to be avoided., although they didn’t know what. These events were watched by an audience, who sat at a distance from the proceedings where the air was less contaminated.
 
The priests known as Galli priests would perform their own ritual before the crowd, dressing up in women’s clothing, scourging themselves and sometimes self-castrating!
While these religious observances were part of society, the town developed its economy as a centre of textile manufacture. 
 
The many Stone Monuments, which have survived for two millennia are the tombs of rich merchants, who would part with a year’s salary to build them. Hierapolis contains one of the largest surviving cemeteries of the Roman world, with many artifacts being found and on display in the museum.
 
The trade grew up due to the calcium carbonate deposits in the spring water which were good for fixing dye in woollen fabric, which the merchants would then take to Rome. Hierapolis, a town with a population of twelve thousand people, also developed a spa industry, with the water used for drinking and bathing, as it is today.
Unlike any other town Hierapolis is built on a subterranean fault and in 60 AD a massive earthquake destroyed the town, but the Romans rebuilt it! Maybe it was the call of religion that was the reason. The name Hierapolis means Holy City having as the Romans believed, direct access to the underworld.
There was also the beauty of the place, vast white mineral deposits of calcium carbonate creating an otherworldly atmosphere and the very fertile farmland in the valley. However, the writing was on the wall for the ancient gods. Initially Christians were persecuted throughout the Roman empire.  Phillip the Apostle came to Hierapolis and among his healing and preaching activities, annoyed a Roman official by converting his wife to Christianity. Phillip was duly executed in 80 AD. 
The tide was turned in favour of Christianity when Constantine conceived it to be in his best interests to adopt the faith as the religion of the Roman empire. Later in the time of Justinian, in the fifth century AD, the entrance to the Plutonium was blocked up and the statute of Apollo knocked down. (I do feel a bit sorry for Apollo)  After further earthquakes, in the seventh and fourteenth centuries the Romans finally abandoned the town. 
 
Hierapolis has become a place of Christian pilgrimage to Phillip, whose tomb is thought to have been discovered and is revered.
 
 The beauty of Hierapolis remains and if you are thinking of a visit, I hope that this brief description of its history will encourage you to do so.

In the nineteen sixties I worked in London stores. Worked as an Insurance Clerk in the City of London during the nineteen seventies. Divorced in the nineteen nineties. Now I am a retired Civil Servant, managing home and garden and escaping onto social media whenever possible.

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The most beautiful villages and towns in the UK, do you agree?

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Summer is definitely the period when everyone is creating lists, this was created by Fbm Holidays  and are in fact two different lists, one for the towns and one for  villages.

Some of the places chosen are quite predictable, others less so. For example, at the first place in the list of villages we have Castle Combe which is a quite obvious choice, at second place instead is Portmeirion, a village that seems to have been transported from Liguria to Wales but is less known.

The lists don’t include anywhere in Scotland which instead has several rather lovely places.

The prettiest villages in the UK

Castle Combe , Cotswolds, Wiltshire

Portmeirion , Gwynedd

Beaulieu, Hampshire

Altruistic’s Bay, North Yorkshire

Bibury , Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

Polperro, Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

Llanberis, Gwynedd

Beddgelert, Snowdonia

Hathersage, Top Area, Derbyshire

The prettiest towns in the UK

Keswick , Lake Area, Cumbria (pictured above)

Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Salcombe , Devon

Cirencester , Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

Bamburgh , Northumberland

Whitby , North Yorkshire

Rye, East Sussex

Bakewell, Optimal Area, Derbyshire

Aberaeron, Ceredigion

Burford , Cotswolds, Oxfordshire

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Travel

The most beautiful villages and towns in the UK, do you agree?

Published

on

The most beautiful villages and towns in the UK, do you agree? thumbnail

Summer is definitely the period when everyone is creating lists, this was created by Fbm Holidays  and are in fact two different lists, one for the towns and one for  villages.

Some of the places chosen are quite predictable, others less so. For example, at the first place in the list of villages we have Castle Combe which is a quite obvious choice, at second place instead is Portmeirion, a village that seems to have been transported from Liguria to Wales but is less known.

The lists don’t include anywhere in Scotland which instead has several rather lovely places.

The prettiest villages in the UK

Castle Combe , Cotswolds, Wiltshire

Portmeirion , Gwynedd

Beaulieu, Hampshire

Altruistic’s Bay, North Yorkshire

Bibury , Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

Polperro, Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

Llanberis, Gwynedd

Beddgelert, Snowdonia

Hathersage, Top Area, Derbyshire

The prettiest towns in the UK

Keswick , Lake Area, Cumbria (pictured above)

Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Salcombe , Devon

Cirencester , Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

Bamburgh , Northumberland

Whitby , North Yorkshire

Rye, East Sussex

Bakewell, Optimal Area, Derbyshire

Aberaeron, Ceredigion

Burford , Cotswolds, Oxfordshire

 

 

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Conwy in Wales, from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution

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Conwy in Wales, from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution thumbnail

Conwy in Wales has a medieval castle and other buildings reminiscent of that period, but also boasts two bridges both of which are innovative projects typical of the boom in engineering projects that developed with the Industrial Revolution.

If you are in North Wales, which has also been very trendy lately, don’t miss the beautiful town of Conwy. on the estuary of the River Conwy. It has several sights and even a UNESCO heritage site. Edward I founded the town of Conwy in North Wales, between 1283 and the 1289 on the site of the ancient Cistercian abbey of Aberconwy, which was founded by Llewellyn the Great like many other princes of Gywnedd. At the beginning the town was called Conway.

The monks and the Abbey were transferred to Maenan by Edward I in the 1307 when the king decided to build a castle and demolish the abbey to have more space.

The remains of a 12th century abbey church are located inside the walls north of St Mary’s church.Additionally, there is All Saints Church, which now serves as Conwy’s parish church.

As part of its strategy to subdue the Welsh , Edward I increased the population of his new city with British colonists and issued an edict forbidding the natives from entering the settlement.

The port which is protected from the elements and used as a port to supply the goods to the castle, as well as a place of refuge and for fishing.

 

Conwy Castle

But the thing that you notice immediately in Conwy is the castle, which was the most expensive of the fourteen magnificent defensive castles designed and built by the architect and mason Master James of St. George, ordered by Edward I. A

The castle was built on top of a  rocky promontory, surrounded by the river on two of its sides, with the purpose of defending the city, subduing the Welsh and guarding the entrance to the city

Initially, the rectangular-shaped castle was built with an outer and inner wall and the walls were 5 metres thick. There were also four towers and a drawbridge, in short, the typical medieval castle.

Both the interior and the exterior of Conwy Castle have changed over the centuries. The castle was captured by the British, then by the Welsh and finally by the British in the War of the Roses.

It was badly damaged during the English Civil War in 1600 .

Conwy Castle was sold by Charles II to the third Viscount Conway, who subsequently stripped the castle of timber, roof and metal, leaving it in ruins. Note that the four Welsh castles built by Edward I of England are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site or Globe Heritage Website. These are Beaumaris Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle and Harlech Castle.

The Conwy Walls

Conwy Community Walls, which surround and protect the city of Conwy. Admission is free and the doors are always open. They were completed as part of the castle defences in the year 1286.

The walls, high 10 meters and over two meters thick, extend for three over a kilometre. For their age, they appear to be in relatively good condition and are among the best medieval walls to be found in the UK.

The city walls themselves were also connected to the castle by a series of tunnels. There were only three doors, all easily defended with double towers, one on each side.

Originally, the path around the wall was divided into various sections, each of which was a separate path. Of which it had its staircase and age connected to the others by a wooden bridge

which could be removed quickly and easily instantly, if the besiegers attempt to climb the wall. If you pass this way, take a walk on the walls to get some nice panoramic views, but be careful not to trip and avoid if you are dizzy.

The two bridges of Conwy

Another thing to visit in Conwy is the Suspension Bridge now managed by the National Trust fund. It was built in 1826 on a project by Thomas Telford, this bridge is considered innovative and avant-garde to the paces. In fact, it was one of the first suspension bridges in the world. The cables of the bridge are embedded in the rock of the promontory of the castle.

The bridge is simple and was created to blend well with the town, in fact, the support towers of the bridge were designed to resemble the towers of the castle.

Conwy also has a tubular railway bridge, unique in the world to use Robert Stephenson’s design, a kind of iron ring. Designed by William Fairbairn and built by Robert McAlpine and built in 1850 Stephenson used the same design in his subsequent and larger Britannia Bridge that spanned the Menai Strait in Wales until it was destroyed by fire in the 1970.

Other things to see in Conwy in Wales

In Conwy you can also see the smallest house in Great Britain is located on Quayside in Conwy, the tiniest home,

This tiny one-story fisherman’s home is on the outskirts of the city.Otherwise visit the Elizabethan house of Plas Mawr built between 1289 and 1585 for the merchant Robert Wynn.

The Great Hall is one of the best preserved structures in the town,  and this is one of the best preserved Tudor building in all of Great Britain. The plastered walls hide a plethora of original elements and furnishings, many of which are still in use today.

Where is Conwy located?

Conwy is practically attached to Llanduno, you can get there in a few minutes by train via the legendary railway bridge. The fortified town is also located fairly close to Colwyn Bay. You will likely visit it as part of a North Wales holiday.

 

 

 

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