Strange landscape of Pamukkale-Cotton Castle

Trip Start Jul 28, 2009
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Trip End Aug 10, 2010


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Flag of Turkey  , Denizli,
Thursday, June 3, 2010

The last time I visited Pamukkale was in 1987 and it has certainly changed a lot since then.   Not necessarily for the better as there are not as many pools and travertines as before and they built a café and tourist shop around the Antique Pool which I felt took away some of the ancient charm.  However, for Nikolas, he really didn’t have anything to compare it to, so he was just as amazed at the strange landscape.

Pamukkale means  “Cotton Castle” in Turkish.  The unique landscape of travertine shelves, pools and stalactites, was created by the warm mineral water which cools and leaves deposits of calcium, leaving the appearance of a snowy white mountain.  For thousands of years, people have visited this area as its believed to work wonders for different ailments.  

We had to walk barefoot across the “snowy” white mountain as they do not allow any shoes to preserve the calcium deposits.  It certainly is a strange piece of landscape and its hard and a bit rough under your bare feet. 

There is also an ancient sacred pool surrounded by Hierapolis.  This area prospered under the Romans and even more under the Byzantines.  We walked around the ruins a bit and found the deadly spring with poisonous gas.  It is said that this spring was a direct line to Hades, god of the underworld and the priests would demonstrate its potent powers by tossing small animals and birds in the toxic spring and watch them die.  Nik found a tiny whole in wall where we had to listen carefully to hear the gas bubbling up from the waters below.

We then paid the expensive entrance fee to bathe in the warm spring water of the Antique Pool, which had ancient Roman ruins sprawled at the bottom of the pool.  The water was a warm 36 degrees C and we had a hard time getting out, we ended up staying in the water for over 2 hours.  This was the highlight of our day! 
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