Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Cotton Castles of Pamukkale

Judging by the photo below, one might think we've moved on from our travels in Turkey and are now visiting the Antarctic.

This looks an awful lot like snow and ice cold water, eh?

Such thoughts, however, would be wrong. We are still in Turkey, turkey. And I'm standing aside a hot spring-fed travertine pool in the temperate-climated town of Pamukkale.

A view of the terraced travertine pools.

Pamukkale, which means "cotton castles," contains a natural formation of terraced calcium carbonate deposits, which were formed as water flowed from nearby hot springs. The calcium deposits make the terraces appear as though they are snow-covered.

I strike my pose.

Ferit strikes a pose, too...

...and then walks along the travertine pathway.

Although people have been bathing in the travertine pools for thousands of years, a boost to tourism in the mid-20th century resulted in major damage to the travertine formations. It's hard to believe, but a road had once been constructed right through the terraces to help tourists better view the cotton castles.

A view of the expansive travertines.
Before the destruction caused by tourism in the mid-20th century,
the travertines looked far more white and pure.

When the travertine-covered hillside was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, the road was removed and efforts were made to restore the natural formation. Today, visitors are limited access to a certain part of the cotton castles, and wearing shoes while walking atop the deposits is prohibited.

Tourists walking barefooted along the established pathway.

When walking through the travertine pools,
the milky deposits that settled at the bottom of the pools were quite slippery.
The dried travertine surface, on the other hand, offered a nice, grippy surface.
A photo of our lower halves...

...and a photo of our upper-halves.

I couldn't resist the opportunity for a yoga pose...

...though I had a hard time keeping my balance on the rough surface.

Our visit to Pamukkale is what a call a "two-for." Not only did we get to see the cotton castles, but we also got to see the ruins of the ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis. Located just above the cotton castles, Hierapolis was originally constructed in the early 2nd century BC as a thermal spa.

Me, walking among the ruins at Hierapolis.

Cool peeps among the ruins.

I love the photo of this ruin.
If you look closely, you'll see delicate grasses standing tall atop the tomb.

And I love this photo, too, with colorful flowers in the foreground,
a row of tomb ruins in the midground, and mountains rising in the background.

Here I am, admiring the view while sitting in a row near the back of the theatre.
This theatre has undergone an immense amount of restoration in the last few years.
It would be interesting to see what the theatre looks like a few years from now,
as the theatre continues to undergo further reconstruction.


  1. LOVE it! I particularly love the combination of architecture (sp) by nature and that by people... I had no idea how much there was to see in Turkey!

    1. Yup, I like the architecture two-for, too. And there are more posts coming about things to see in Turkey!

    2. Looking forward to them!


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