April 8, 2013
‘Gateway To Hell’ Discovered In Turkey
As a human race, we are a curious bunch. We search for explanations to myths, the unexplained, and the unknown. We delve into areas of the world that contain many mysterious legends. One in particular is Pluto’s Gate, or better known as the “gate to hell.” According to mythology, this mysterious gateway is supposed to be a portal to the underworld.
Strabo, a Greek geographer born 64/63 BC wrote, “this space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death. I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell.” According to mythology, only the eunuchs of Cybele, (an ancient fertility goddess) was able to enter into the gateway. “They hold their breath as much as they can, their immunity could have been due to their menomation, divine providence or certain physical powers that are antidotes against the vapor,” Strabo added in writings.
The legend of this site states that small birds were used to test the cave’s deadly effect. Pilgrims would take water from the pool and would sleep near the cave and would receive visions and prophecies. The priests would hallucinate and sacrifice bulls to Pluto by leading them into the cave and pulling them out dead from the toxic fumes.
A team of Italian archaeologists has discovered what is believed to be this portal. The location is in an ancient Greco-Roman city Hierapolis, now named Pamukkale in Turkey. The area that was excavated unearthed broken ruins, columns, the remains of a temple, a pool, and steps above a cave. According to ancient descriptions, this discovery matches these descriptions, including an inscription dedicated to Pluto and Kore, deities of the underworld.
Team leader Francesco D’Andria said, “people could watch the sacred rites from these steps, but they could not get to the area near the opening. Only the priests could stand in front of the portal.”
He also said to Discovery News, “we found the Plutonium by reconstructing the route of a thermal spring. Indeed, Pamukkale’s springs, which produce the famous white travertine terraces originate from this cave.” Pluto’s Gate translated, Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin. “We could see the cave’s lethal properties during the excavation. Several birds died as they tried to get close to the warm opening, instantly killed by the carbon dioxide fumes.”
D’Andria also noted that he believed the hallucinations were caused by breathing in the fumes escaping from the cave named the Gate to Hell.
A report from Discovery News stated that the excavations revealed evidence of the nearby pool and courtyard believed to be the gathering place of the priests, and also visitors seeking visions or wanting to speak to loved ones that had passed.
“This is an exceptional discovery as it confirms and clarifies the information we have from the ancient literary and historic sources,” Alister Filippini, a researcher in Roman history told Discovery News. He added, “fully functional until the 4th century AD, and occasionally visited during the following two centuries, the site represented an important pilgrimage destination for the last pagan intellectuals of the Late Antiquity.”
During the sixth century, Christians damaged the site and earthquakes over the years have completed the destruction of the area.
Who knows what new discoveries will be unearthed in the future?
Join me next time for another interesting and mysterious account of Supernatural Endeavors.
Image Credit: David Davis / Shutterstock