The Hittites were well established in Central Anatolia by the year 1700 B.C. These early Anatolians built their capital northeast of Ankara at Bogazkoy, and from there ruled over the powerful empire. Many Hittite sites remain unexcavated in the Ankara area; these are buried under large earth mounds that dot the territory. The Ankara Archeology Museum is world renowned for its superb collection of Hittite artifacts. Another early group, the Phrygians, is also well represented at the museum. These people replaced the Hittites around the end of the first millenium B.C., establishing their capital at Gordion. This is less than a hundred kilometers east of Ankara. Ankara itself is thought to have been founded by the Phrygians, who were referred to as the Sea Peoples in antiquity. In the 8th century B.C., Ankara was a large Phrygian commercial center. It was captured by the Cimmerians in the 7th century as they moved through Anatolia causing havoc at every turn. The kings of Lydia restored Ankara to a city of prosperity. And, in the 6th century B.C., the city became a major Persian stronghold because of its or water depository. This building encloses a large water basin from which water was distributed to the city. A wide ledge was constructed around the building’s inner walls. Bellow this are five recessed areas with restangular-shaped niches. A water pipe connected to the city reservoir was attached to the middle-rear niche. The building was elaborately decorated with sculptures and friezes. Many of these may be seen both at the site and in the small museum. The Necropolis : Outside the city walls, which are well preserved with their large bastions, are the ancient burial grounds of Hierapolis. Among the tombs are the remains of a fifth-century Christian basilica built with three naves. This is thought to have been dedicated to the Apostle Philip who was martyred in this city around 80 A.D.
Necropolis is one of the largest to be found in all of Anatolia, containing more than twelve hundred tombs and sarcophagi. Many of the epitaphs inscribed on the tombs call for the placement of wreaths and other memorial ceremonies to be practiced over the deceased. Of special interest are the Tumulus Tombs which were constructed around the concept of a sunken, vaulted chamber. Other ruins of Hierapolis : An octogonal building dating from the fifth century A.D. is known as the Martyrium of Saint Philip.
Six long rooms open from the central chamber and are surrounded by a number of small rooms. A wide stairway was added in the front that leads up to the level of the rooms. While this building was not used specifically as a church, special religious and commemorative services were held here on a variety of occasions. Excavations of the Martyrium have not uncovered the tomb of Saint Philip, however. It is thought that the body may have been moved to another site. There remains a stretch of the main colonnaded street of Hierapolis near the area of the Christian basilica.
This area was the center of the ancient city, and the street extended from the southern gate to the Arch of Domitian, outside the city walls in the northeast. most striking discovery during the later diggings was the Plutonium near the Temple of Apollo. The best preserved of the ruins are the Roman Baths and the Theater.