About 15 minutes outside of Denizli, Turkey is one of the most awe-inspiring natural sites I have ever seen. Pamukkale, now a UNESCO world heritage site, is also known as “cotton castle” as it was built on top of the white “castle” which is in total about 2,700 metres long, 600m wide and 160m high. Entrance to the site costs 25 Turkish Lira ( approx, £ 6.80), which is well worth it, considering at least a 1-2 hour long barefoot hike up to the terrace, swimming in the springs, entrance to Hierapolis and an incredible view..
The entire structure with it’s terraces and thermal pools consist of rock, travertine or water. Travertine being a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs.
The geology of Pamukkale is truly fascinating (check WikiPedia to learn about the formation process) but more than that, once your feet are firmly deposited in the rich, chalky – muddiness of it’s warm (sometimes cold) springs, it is then, when an overwhelming feeling of gratitude takes over. To be able to bathe in it’s pools and cover one’s skin with calcium carbonate jelly is truly magical and after washing it off, my skin took on a soft powdery texture. My hair stuck together once the ends dried, so ladies, do be careful as the jelly does convert into travertine once it dries. 😉
Hundreds of people from all of the world flood in to appreciate the white cotton castle and take a dip in it’s pools, and once there I could see exactly why.
The white landscape is truly picture perfect and due to time constraints we only spent about two hours on site, however one could easily make a whole day out of it, as there is plenty to see and do.
Once at the top of the terracces, adjacent to modern Pamukkale, you will catch a glimpse of Hierapolis (ancient Greek for “Holy City”). Hoerapolis is the ruins of an ancient city that dates back to the second century BC. The city became a healing centre where doctors used the thermal springs as a treatment for their patients. Make sure you bring sun block, comfortable shoes and fully charged batteries to explore the ancient ruins.
At the entrance of the city you will now find a museum which displays tombs, statues, artifacts and ruins from the holy city. The admission fee to the museum is only 5 Turkish Lira ( approx, £1.40 ).
Heading further into the ancient city you will find the entrance to the antique baths and Cleopatra’s pool. I didn’t swim here as it looked a lot like people-soup, however if you would like to claim bragging rights to swimming where Cleopatra used to, then it will cost you an additional entry fee of 30 Turkish Lira ( approx, £8.20 )
Once you get to Hierapolis, there are places to sit and have a bite to eat, or at Cleopatra’s pool, there are even more places to eat or have an Efes beer whilst soaking in the view and basking in the gorgeous Turkish sunshine..
Overall the entire experience was a marvel and I highly recommend you add a visit to your bucket list.