Coming from Denizli to Pamukkale (Pamukkale), along the hills to the North you will see a long white spot either landslide, or developed quarry. However, as it approaches, it turns out to be the edge of a 100-meter plateau towering over the river valley with absolutely smooth travertine terraces. Some of them look like lilies, others like shells standing on stalagmite legs, and others, the simplest ones, look like the whitewashed terraces of rice fields. The Turks called it a geological wonder of Pamukkale, “Cotton castle“.
This amazing phenomenon of nature arose due to the source with dissolved calcium bicarbonate, which flows from the ground at the foot of the mountain. Water, overflowing over the edge of the plateau, cools, gives carbon dioxide, and calcium carbonate is precipitated by hardened chalk (travertine). What you can see now was formed by many millennia, during which the frozen waterfall slowly but surely moved further to the southwest. What about taking part in the Pamukkale Tour to see all of these beauties?
A brief history of Pamukkale
Therapeutic properties and strange appearance of these hot springs have been known to people for thousands of years, but only in the II century BC there was a city founded by the kings of Pergamum. After it became part of the Roman Empire in 129 BC, Hierapolis began to grow rapidly. It produced wool and processed metal, and Spa resorts are not inferior to today.
Hierapolis Ancient City was in favor with the authorities, which helped it to recover quickly after the devastating earthquakes of 17 CE. It was visited by at least three Roman emperors, which positively influenced the development of cults of deified rulers, as well as Apollo and his mother Leto, who was revered here in the image of Cybele.
The presence of a thriving Jewish community contributed to the early and successful introduction of Christianity here. Hierapolis is mentioned in the Epistle to the Colossians by the Apostle Paul, and the Apostle Philip and his seven sons were martyred here. However, as in Aphrodisia, paganism remained the main religion here until the sixth century, when some zealous Bishop took personal control of the destruction of ancient temples and the construction of hundreds of new churches, some of which have survived to this day.
During the Byzantine Empire, Hierapolis began to be subject to frequent raids by Arabs and Turks and gradually sink into oblivion. After the appearance of Seljuks here in the XII century, the city was completely deserted and was rarely mentioned in the West until 1957, when the Italians began to conduct archaeological excavations on its territory.
Hierapolis and the travertines
Two separate entrances lead to the Hierapolis Ancient City and Pamukkale Travertines (open 24 hours, with an entrance fee of 10 liras during the day). One, marked with the inscription Guney Kapisi (South gate), is at the end of a two-kilometer road that stretches in a lazy loop up from the village. There is a fairly large tourist center, ticket office and Parking. The complex itself, however, is far away, and it will have to go to the sun.
Most of the transport, including tourist buses, drive up to the North gate, where there is another entrance ticket office and another tourist center, and next to the Museum there is a large Parking lot. If you want to visit Karakhait, which is located behind Hierapolis, save your ticket so that you do not have to pay twice for the entrance to the complex. On the plateau is another quite noticeable trail (15 minutes walk), which begins where the road to Karakhait turns from the village to the North. After buying a ticket, you can go up it, although most visitors prefer to go down it.
If you want to bathe in a real mineral spring, visit Pamukkale Thermal baths (open daily, 8.00-20.00), which are located on the plateau. They are built on an ancient sacred pond, the water temperature in which is 35 degrees. Previously, you could easily walk to it from the morning and agree with the staff about how to plunge, but now the entrance is strictly regulated. The locker room is to the right of the entrance. Come as early as possible or as late as possible, as the day is full of tour groups.
On the way to the baths you will pass by the tourist information office (open daily, 8.00-12.00 and 13.30-17.30), where you can get good maps of the village and the complex, and the Museum (open daily, except Monday, from 8.00-20.00), which is located in the renovated building of the baths of the II century. His collection is nothing of interest and consists of statues, sarcophagi, fragments of houses and small objects found during the excavations of Hierapolis. Behind the Museum is a large sixth-century Basilica, possibly a Byzantine Cathedral with a nave and two chapels.
Hierapolis (Eastern monuments)
To the Eastern monuments of ancient Hierapolis is a narrow, winding road between the Museum and the Parking lot. Through the entrance, which can hardly be called a gate, you get directly to the nympheum, or fountain house, the temple of Apollo, and the adjacent plutonium. The dilapidated sanctuary of Apollo dates from the third century ad, although it stands on the Foundation of an ancient temple of the second century BC. The grotto of Pluto, dedicated to the God of the underworld, apparently served as a place where oracles predicted the future.
It is a small, partially paved structure, behind which you can hear the murmur of water and the ominous hiss of poisonous gases coming out of the ground, most likely, toxic to humans and animals mixture of sulfur derivatives and carbon dioxide. According to legend, the emasculated priests of Cybele were able to descend without harm to health into deep crevices in the local rocks. Whether it was a consequence of the operation they underwent or just some trick is unknown. Now access to them is closed by a heavy metal grille, but before it was installed, two careless Germans who ventured down there, died.
The next local attraction of Turkey is designed for 10 thousand spectators Roman theater of the II century. It is believed that such theaters in Turkey are full, but this one is in exceptionally good condition. Not only have most of the buildings of his stage survived, but also the striking bas-reliefs adorning them. Here in the late June concerts Of the international song Festival in Pamukkale are held. Forty-six rows of seats are still able to accommodate up to 7 thousand people.