To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries
- Aldous Huxley

Monday, 26 August 2013

Turkey Tour Day 10: Pamukkale

I'll skip the boring details of how we got to Pamukkale from Dalyan. In a nut shell we left at 10am on a very hot bus and didn't arrive until 3pm.

Long bus trip, but over and done with. Yay.

Now onto the better stuff.

After checking into the hotel we met an hour later in the lobby with the rest of the group and walked to the White Cliffs of Pamukkale. The white cliffs, known as travertine are formed by calcium carbonate that is deposited by the 17 hot springs in the area and then hardens to make the cliffs.
Doesn't sound all the special but once you see them, you'll be amazed. The "cliffs" are like a snow field, they are so white and the water is constantly running down the cliffs into the pools below.

Like a snow field

We walked up the cliffs, most of it you have to walk up barefoot. But the water is nice and cool, especially on a day that was so hot. The hot springs water temperature ranges from 35 to 100 degrees but the water flow is contained and controlled by man so it doesn't flow continuously creating a slushy, slippery rock face that is pretty dangerous to walk on.
You're not really meant to swim in the various pools located on the cliff face but it isn't heavily mandated, though we didn't do it anyway. But they look like natural baths, it is quite incredible.

Once we reached the top of the cliffs, we hit the ancient site of Hierapolis which is situation atop the cliffs. This site is easily my favourite place in Turkey so far.

All those ruins

Hierapolis has existed since around 2BC and the natural springs were used as baths for the citizens as well as a healing place for the sick.
The city was given to Rome after the death of Attalus III in 133 BC and was under Roman rule until 17AD when an earthquake pretty much destroyed the entire city.
While decimated by the earthquake and undiscovered until 1887, the site is amazing.
A lot of is a necropolis with hundreds of sarcophagi scattered around the area. Some of it is still intact, though long empty due to excavation.
We also saw the remains of the entrance gate, and what was a toilet block back in those days. Many of the columns still standing upright and ancient greek inscribed in the stone.
It was all so fascinating. But the best part of it was the Theatre.

Similar in a way to the one we saw in Petra, the Theatre is a bit of a walk uphill but still in amazing condition.
Like most theatres from Roman times, the stage was set below the seats. The stage and backdrop are still in magnificent condition, as are the seats. Unfortunately people cannot get to the stage as it is cordoned off but it was still awesome to see.
Other still standing sites include the Temple of Apollo, who was the main God they worshipped, although the temple is mostly in ruins with only the entrance arch still standing and the Nymphaeum, a shrine dedicated to the water nymphs.
There is also the Roman Baths which the outer shell has been converted into a museum for the area but that was closed so we were not able to get inside unfortunately.

The Nymphaeum.

Night fell quickly, and although I didn't really want to leave, we had to head back down the white cliffs barefoot and get some dinner.

All in all, a good day, even though it was a short one in Pamukkale.

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