2012 Trip #6 - Pamukkale, Turkey

18:54 Alyson Tart 0 Comments

We have another set of visitors this week - my parents! I have to say I have been amazed and grateful at the number of people who have taken the time to come visit us here in Turkey. I enjoy getting to be a tour guide to my new city and a lot of times, other places around Turkey.

My parents decided they wanted to take a quick excursion out of Istanbul with us and I decided it was about time that we got to visit Pamukkale. I had never heard of it before we decided to move to Turkey, but as soon as I saw the pictures, I knew I had to visit.

I feel like every trip has some kind of disaster to report. The airlines lost your luggage, you were delayed 3 hours, you couldn't find that hamburger that you desperately wanted at 10 am. This trip, however, went off without a hitch. We showed up at the airport, found the bus, which dropped us off in Denizli at the sketchy mini-bus, which dropped us directly off at the hotel. The hotel staff were wonderful, helpful and made a delicious kofte. We took the shuttle to the site, we walked around, we walked home and caught our flight back. Biggest disaster? A little sunburn.  I hope this is not a sign from the travel gods that my next trip will be a disaster.

We were only in Pamukkale one night/day which was enough to see everything in the grounds, although you may want more time if you are checking out some of the other ruins outside of the city.

The whole area you want to see is found in one park. We started off at the South Entrance and walked up to the Hierapolis first. 

 Theater of Hierapolis - it seats 12,000 people and the stage is still well preserved today. According to signs around the theater, they also built in some type of pool to allow for aquatic performances.

Martyrion of Saint Philip -  this is the place that the Apostle Philip was killed and his tomb was located here.

Frontinus Street - the street was 14 meters wide and the main artery of the city

 On your way back down you get your first close up glimpse of some of the travertines.

Next we decided to cool off from our walk in the hot morning with a quick dip in the Antique Pool. Not only was the water a wonderful, tepid 36 degrees Celsius, but you are swimming among marble columns and ruins, and the water is supposed to have healing powers. Perhaps it was the part of the water that had something to do with radioactive material? (Yes, they actually put this tidbit in the brochure).

 Warning! Apparently when people put bathing suits on, they like to pose. 
A Lot. We saw all kinds of fantastic posing, including this guy here.

Finally, we made our way back to the North exit by walking down the travertines. I don't think any words are needed to describe them and even the pictures don't do them justice!

 Courtesy of my dad and his 5 am jet lag trip to the travertines

 Courtesy of my dad and his 5 am jet lag trip to the travertines

Okay, well if all the cool kids are doing it.... Pose session!

Quick History
- Pamukkale translates to Cotton Castle in Turkish.
- In the 2nd century B.C., the kings of Pergamon established the thermal spa of Hierapolis.
- Philip the Apostle  was crucified here by Domitian around 87.
- The thermal pools are a lovely 35 degrees Celsius and are thought to have healing powers.
- The travertines are formed when calcium carbonate is deposited (after some technical scientific stuff happens) and it hardens into the travertine.
- Significant damage was done to the site due to tourism; once the site was made a World Heritage Site in 1988, many measures were put in place to help preserve the travertines for future generations

What to see
- Hierapolis: top sites are the Theater, St Philip Martyrion (this one is the furthest away but worth the hike; you may even have it all to yourself), and Frontinus Gate. If you get to the site early enough, you should be able to get a map with your ticket.
- Antique Pool: this costs an extra 30 TL to swim in the pool. If you just want to get a few snapshots of the pool itself and keep yourself dry, you can come in, sit, and have a drink or two.
- Travertines: the park is open 24 hours a day; the best time to get there though is early morning. You can get the sun coming up over the terraces before the light starts blinding you with its reflection and get the terraces much more to yourself than later in the day. You do have to walk without shoes on the travertines to help preserve them, but you have lots of opportunities to stop and wade in the pools on the way down. If you have sensitive feet, bring some extra socks to slip on for the walk.

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