Pamukkale is so unreal! It felt like a bizarre theme park in the middle of nowhere – only it’s a completely natural site.
Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish. From far away, it looks like a snow capped mountain. The white landscape is created from a type of limestone deposit. Water flows from the hot springs at the top of the hill, carbon dioxide evaporates, and calcium carbonate is left behind. The water from the springs flows throughout the town of Pamukkale:
Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Entrance costs 25TL or is free with the Müzekart. (We love our Müzekarts! They have saved us so much money… especially since we visited this site twice! I think you must be a teacher or student in order to get one. Make sure you have your Turkish ID number and you can purchase it at any major site.) The travertine only comes so far down the entrance path. Once you get to the white, you must take off your shoes. The ground was easy to walk on, and the texture provided needed traction.
People have traveled to the mineral spas since the 2nd century B.C. They say there’s several health benefits from soaking in the water.
The ancient ruins of Hierapolis are at the top of the hill. I was surprised how big the city was. We could have spend a lot more time exploring. Heriopolis is mentioned in Colossians 4:13. Phillip was martyred here. The archaeological museum costs an extra 5TL or is free with the Müzekart.
The reconstruction of the theater was impressive:
Legend has it that Cleopatra sent men around the land to find healing waters. The water that was brought from Pamukkale yielded the best results. They’ve made an attraction called “Cleopatra’s Pool” (a gift from Antony to Cleopatra) and you can pay to swim among some of the ancient ruins. We got changed and opted for the free mineral pools on the way back down the hill.
The natural terraces created the most perfect pools. There were even ledges around the edge:
Other notes on Pamukkale: Between the Kurban Bayrami holiday and it being the end of summer, there wasn’t a lot to see or do in the town itself. We ate at White House Restaurant & Cafe and Lamuko’s Lokanta; both were tasty. Pamukkale can easily be a day trip.
I loved Pamukkale! So much, that we went up again a few days later. (More pictures from that soon.) We left around 5pm to head to our next destination – a coastal beach town!