The Gate of Hell

Pluto’s Gate Uncovered in Turkey:

A digital illustration shows the ancient Plutonium, celebrated as the
portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology.

Italian archaeologist Francesco D’Andria said:

A “gate to hell” has emerged from ruins in southwestern Turkey, Italian archaeologists have announced.

Known as Pluto’s Gate — Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin — the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition.

Historic sources located the site in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, now called Pamukkale, and described the opening as filled with lethal mephitic vapors.

Here is a photo of the archaeological remains:

It looks very different from when we visited there a few years ago:

To the immediate south of the Temple of Apollo, is an arched opening that leads to an underground cave.This was the Plutonium, the cult shrine presided over by the Greek god Pluto, from which highly toxic gases emanated. Photo: © Leen Ritmeyer 2010.

Andrea said:

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.

It appears that the stone with the arched opening in the above picture was not in its original location, for when I stuck my head in the opening, I didn’t smell anything and nothing happened:

You can read the full account of the excavations here.

HT: Jack Sasson

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