Cotton White Castles

Pamukkale Travel Blog

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Ancient ruins of Hieraopolis

A much better night’s sleep, today we were going on our first tour to Pamukkale. Our original plan was to take a bus there and stay over for a couple of nights but working out the plans for the rest of our trip including travel time as Turkey is a big country! Meant we would be better off doing a day tour to the cotton castles. Pity as I would love to of seen the lesser known ruins of Afrodisias to the south of Pamukkale, as well as spend more time in Selcuk and visit the ruins at Priene, Miletus and Didymus. But since we are going to the East and I only have a month then time wasn’t on our side, so that I will save for next time when I come with hubby. Our tour picked us up at 8:30am, it was a small minibus with only 3 others on it currently, 2 sisters from New Zealand, Carol a teacher working in Istanbul and Lydia living in England, both would of been in there late 50’s or so. A young Australian guy who was doing his working in London pilgrimage!  We picked up a young Japanese girl then a couple of American guys James and Joel. It was a small group which was great, I hate large bus tours. The trip to Pamukkale was a three hour bumpy ride; I think the suspension had bust on this minibus!  It gave us time to get to know our fellow comrades; we spoke to mainly James and Joel as they were sitting in the back with us.  James was an airline steward and was only spending a few days in Turkey and was telling us that this tour was a last minute decision so they flew in to Izmir that morning and was flying back to Istanbul that evening! An expensive day out I have to say. The scenery on our way to Pamukkale changed from gentle hills with fields of olive and fig trees particularly around Aydin the fig capital of Turkey, to dry rocky hills backed by snow capped mountains as we neared Pamukkale. The town of Pamukkale was small and seem to have more hotels and pensions than houses! Close to the town were the gleaming white calcium terraces of the cotton castles.

 

  It was a hot day and the sun was very bright.

Tombs at Hieraopolis
Our first stop was a hotel restaurant for lunch, it was an all you can eat buffet lunch so we got to try some new foods, especially the deserts I had 5 different ones on my plate!  After lunch we headed to the entrance of Hierapolis (meaning Holy City) our guide gave us an introduction to the history of the site. Hierapolis was founded in 190BC by Eumenes II King of Pergamum; Hierapolis was a cure centre that prospered under the Romans. It was once a sprawling city and little remains of it except the tombs, latrines and amphitheatre. We spent about 45 minutes wondering through the old city, our guide describing each section. The water from the pools was rich in minerals and was used for healing, the water is supposed to give you baby soft skin, I guess I will find out later! At the base of the ruins are the snowy white terraces themselves and the Travertine’s, which are manmade pools containing the milky bluish mineral waters.  Warm water flows out of a big pipe and gushes down a naturally carved out gutter down the slope next to the travertines. To walk through the Travertine’s you had to go bare foot. The calcium surface was somewhat sharp underfoot and the pools had sharp stones, some parts were slippery too so you really had to watch your footing.  The usual hoards of tourists were here and guards were around to make sure you didn’t cross over the water gutter and onto the dry terraces, some tourists of course had to break the rules, loud whistle blows gave that away!  As you walk further down the slope there were less people, most hung around at the top.  I waded through some of the pools and the stones gave way to squish mud between your toes!  The pools were inhabited by tadpoles; they were everywhere so a particular type of frog must like these waters. We had about 1.5 hours left so we headed over to the Antique pools where you could swim.  The pool was the original sacred pool and contained original columns of fluted marble and rock.  It cost 25 Lira to swim, lucky I packed my swimmers!  The pool itself was surrounded by cafe-bar kiosks, nice seating areas and changing rooms with showers there was even a tourist shop it was all flash and well setup.  The water was a lovely 36C; you couldn’t swim properly because of the rocks and column ruins that inhabited the pool. We spent about an hour before we had to meet the guide back at the bus. I bought an ice cream on the way out, I think it was supposed to be a mint chocolate Magnum but I failed to taste any mint ice cream so I joked it was a copy magnum like the fake Prada bags you could buy in Turkey. On our way we stopped at Kara Hayit which Zehra suggested to the driver.  This place had some small man made terraces with very hot water pouring out of them, there weren’t many tourists here.

 

Most of us fell asleep in the ride back to Selcuk; we arrived back about 7pm.  It was a good tour but I felt a bit rushed, I didn’t get to see the museum and I would of liked to of spent more time in the Antique Pool, a good excuse to come back!. They must of had a market on in Selcuk today, on our way back to our hotel we weaved in and out of the stall but not without buying a carpeted cushion cover!  Zehra and I just grabbed some Borek and biscuits from the local bakery that evening and had that up on the hotel terrace with some tea.

Ruins of Hierapolis
Cuneyt was kind enough to warm up our Borek for us and even sliced it up into bite size pieces plus he brought us some tea! We certainly can’t complain about the service in this hotel its first class.  I spent the rest of the evening trying to find a decent place to stay for the next three nights in Fetyhiye.

 

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Ancient ruins of Hieraopolis
Ancient ruins of Hieraopolis
Tomb at Hieraopolis
Tomb at Hieraopolis
Tombs at Hieraopolis
Tombs at Hieraopolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Ruins of Hierapolis
Amphitheatre Hierapolis
Amphitheatre Hierapolis
Cotton White Terraces
Cotton White Terraces
James and Joel
James and Joel
Standing in a Travertine
Standing in a Travertine
Travertines
Travertines
Terraces
Terraces
Soaking the feet in nice hot water
Soaking the feet in nice hot water
Travertines
Travertines
Having a soak in the warm 36C Anti…
Having a soak in the warm 36C Ant…
Myself and James in the Antique po…
Myself and James in the Antique p…
Ruins and rocks in the Antique Pool
Ruins and rocks in the Antique Pool
Antique Pool
Antique Pool
Kara Hayit natural hot springs
Kara Hayit natural hot springs
Kara Hayit natural hot springs
Kara Hayit natural hot springs
Pamukkale
photo by: EmyG