Travel to Pamukkale, One of the Most Extraordinary Natural Wonders in Turkey
Pamukkale (Hierapolis) is both, a magical and spectacular natural site, unique in the world and with its ancient ruins it is perhaps the most attractive spot for tourists.
Pamukkale Thermal Pools
For thousands of years a deep underground spring has been pouring out streams of hot, mineral-saturated water. As it has flowed down the mountainside the steaming water has hollowed enormous circular basins in the earth, and the water’s rich mineral content has coated them in a smooth layer of dazzlingly-white calcareous rock. To the ancients such beauty could only mean that the place was sacred to the gods. Built near the natural hot springs, the grand city of Hierapolis attracted a steady stream of pilgrims, who came to bathe in the curative waters.
Pamukkale, Turkey was just that. Pamukkale—which means cotton castle—is named for its otherworldly landscape of bone-white travertine terraces housing cascading hot springs. Splashing in the mineral rich pools is like wading through the clouds.
The scientific explanation is that hot thermal springs pouring down the hillside deposit calcium carbonate, which solidifies as travertine. If you take off your shoes, you can gingerly roam the terraces or paddle in the pools.
The continuous dynamics of erosion and transformation of the natural landscape has resulted in an ambiance unequaled elsewhere and which constitutes one of the most unique phenomenal to be found in nature.
Pamukkale’s blanched beauty and warm waters have not gone unnoticed. Travelers have used the hot springs as a spa since the 2nd century BC.
Under Greco-Roman and later Byzantine rule, the spa town grew into the ancient city of Hierapolis. Ruins from the era include a 15,000-seat amphitheater, several temples, and a growing sculpture collection.
Roman Hierapolis thrived. Its hot springs and health center were renowned throughout the empire. Thousands of pilgrims sought treatment in the thermal baths. It’s said that Cleopatra owed her beauty to their water. Then, in the 7th century, disaster struck. Persian armies sacked Hierapolis. As people struggled to rebuild their lives and town, an earthquake rocked southwestern Turkey. The city and its baths became a ghost town within 30 years.
The earthquake knocked the bathhouse’s marble pillars and sculptures into the water. And that’s where you find them today. This might be the only place on Earth where you can swim with perfectly preserved Roman ruins in 55°C water. It’s thrilling!
It’s no wonder that Pamukkale is a major national and European tourist destination.