UNESCO World Heritage Site
On my numerous trips to Turkey over the past few years I’ve made several attempts to see the UNECO World Heritage Site of Pamukkale – but each time, due to one reason or another, I’ve never managed it until finally this time!
Pamukkale is a town in western Turkey is located in land from the coast, typically 3 hours or more from Fethiye – so is somewhere you need to build in to your itinerary. It is famous for its mineral-rich thermal waters which flow down white travertine terraces. They look like white teacups filled with pale blue water and the water itself is full of minerals which are supposed to do you the world of good.
There are two entrances – the top entrance which is 10 minutes walk in a straight line from the car park or the lower entrance which is 10 minutes walk uphill. Even though I always shy away from heights, I’d say the second option provides a much better experience. For a start it’s not actually very steep and for another it’s far more interesting as you actually walk up through the white water filled terraces on your ascent to the top.
Walking Up to the Travertine Basins
At a certain point where the “white stuff” begins, you actually have to walk barefoot as shoes are not only slippery but can stain and damage the surface area. As you walk across the sides of the basins or through the water you will notice how soft and claylike the base of the pools are. It’s a bit like walking through plaster of Paris. At the end you will notice how soft and moisturised your feet feel after this “Pamukkale spa experience”!
In fact the word Pamukkale actually means “Cotton Palace” and from a distance the whole area look like a field of cotton or maybe snow. Do take your camera along as there is plenty to capture. There is a great view and the petrified waterfalls and the terraced basins really are amazing. At the top you can walk around and explore the other ruins.
The sun is searingly bright and reflects off all the white surfaces of the travertines – so
1) make sure you take your sunglasses with you
2) Wear a hat. It gets so hot you will thank me for this tip 😉
3) Wear a swimsuit / trunks so that you can sit down in the travertines if you want to.
4) Shoes are banned so take a separate little bag with you to carry your shoes.
At the end of the 2nd century B.C. the dynasty of the Attalids, the kings of Pergamon, established the thermal spa of Hierapolis. The ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments can be seen at the site.
Pamukkale is right next to Hierapolis, which is an ancient Roman spa city founded around 190 B.C. The site is full of ruins which include an amazing amphi theatre and a necropolis with sarcophagi across a vast area.
There is also an Antique Pool for which you pay a small entrance fee. It is full of submerged Roman columns from an earthquake and you can swim alongside these relics from a bygone time.