Ancient ruins of Pluto’s Gate ~ more colorfully known as the “Gate to Hell” ~ is believed to have been unearthed by a team headed by Francesco D'Andria, professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento in Lecce, Italy, who has been excavating the ancient Greco-Roman site of Hierapolis for years.
D’Andria says he used ancient mythology as his guide to locate the legendary portal to the underworld. “We found the Plutonium by reconstructing the route of a thermal spring,” he says. “Indeed, Pamukkale' springs, which produce the famous white travertine terraces originate from this cave.”
Scribes like Cicero and the Greek geographer Strabo mentioned the gate to hell as located at the ancient site in Turkey, noted Discovery, but nobody had been able to find it until now. Strabo (64 B.C.- 24 B.C.) 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.”
The portal to the underworld seems just as bad for your health today. According to Discovery News, the fumes emanated from a cave below the site, which includes ionic columns with inscriptions to Pluto and Kore, gods of the underworld. “We could see the cave's lethal properties during the excavation,” D’Andria says. “Several birds died as they tried to get close to the warm opening, instantly killed by the carbon dioxide fumes.”
Image is a digital rendering of the site.