Ancient structures protected against earthquake
The engineers of thousands of years ago in the ancient city of Hierapolis, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, used various architectural techniques to protect the “sacred fountain,” which they built 800,000 years ago.
A team of 60 people, which started working after the retirement of Professor Francesco D’Andria, is headed by Professor Grazia Semeraro. The team is carrying out excavations and restorations in many spots including the monumental fountain, the houses near the theater and the necropolis.
The findings unearthed in the excavations are meticulously examined by expert archaeologists.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Semeraro said that after the excavations last year in the sacred fountain, located next to the Plutonium, they started the restoration work this year.
Semeraro emphasized that the fountain is a very valuable monumental structure.
“The monumental fountain [Nymphaeum], which is one of the public buildings built during the Roman Empire in the city center, was constructed as three-storey building with longitudinal ‘U’ wings on the west side of Hierapolis Street extending in the north-south direction. The façade decoration of the fountain consists of a plan where Corinthian, Composite and Ionic columns are used together. The water, which is carried to this structure that is rising on a high podium and steps on the front of the eastern façade, comes from the northern slopes of the city. The north-south wall of the monumental fountain has a length of 32 meters, its northern short wing has a length of 8.66 meters and its southern short wing has a length of 7.5 meters. The body wall thickness of the fountain is between 1.5 and 1.65 meters,” he added.
Semeraro said that in order to activate the façade of the monumental fountain, various nymphs and goddesses, as well as the statues of some mortals, were placed on the long north-south extension and on two short wings.
Stating that there is a rectangular planned pool on the front of the fountain and this structure was destroyed in an earthquake that occurred thousand years ago, Semeraro said, “We are continuing the restoration this year in the huge sacred fountain area next to the Hell Gate. We found figured decorations on the stones there. After the restoration work, we will put those architectural stones back into place. At the time of construction, the Roman engineers worked to reduce the impact of the earthquake according to their own techniques. Thanks to the arched structure under the fountain, the effect of the earthquake was tried to be reduced. So some of the big walls of the fountain have been preserved to this day.”