Pamukkale, 18 km (11 miles) north of Denizli (map), isTurkey’s foremost mineral-bath spa because of its natural beauty: hot calcium-laden waters spring from the earth and cascade over a cliff. As they cool they form dramatic travertines of hard, brilliantly white calcium that form pools.
Named the Cotton Fortress (pah-MOOK-kah-leh) in Turkish, it has been a spa since the Romans built the spa city of Hierapolis around a sacred warm-water spring. The Antique Pool is still there, littered with marble columns from the Roman Temple of Apollo. You can swim in it for a fee.
You can spend a pleasant day at Pamukkale, exploring the extensive Roman ruins of Hierapolis, climbing the ranks of seats in the great Roman theater, touring the exhibits in the Archeological Museum, splashing along the travertines (where permitted) and even soaking in the Antique Pool littered with fluted marble columns.
Four locations are of importance to visitors at Pamukkale:
Located one km west of the road between Denizli and Pamukkale, you can make a short side-trip to visit this ancient city. More…
At the foot of the travertines, the little town of Pamukkalehas numerous small hotels, pensions, restaurants, and such services as shops and bus ticket offices. Many pensions have their own small warm mineral water pools.
A Bit of History
In the 1990s the local authorities undertook a development campaign meant to improve the spa and increase tourism. Misconceived in some ways, the development, along with changes in Turkey’s entire tourism picture, resulted in fewer visitors.
Pamukkale also plays a prominent part in my novel, Istanbul Love Bus. More…
As you enter Pamukkale Town in a car, local men on motor scooters will race after you, catch you, and gesture to you to stop your car. When you do, thinking there is perhaps something wrong with your vehicle, or a dangerous situation ahead, you will discover that they only want to sell you something.
They will ask if you need a hotel, restaurant, souvenir, carpet, etc. If you need any of these services, they will lead you to them and probably take a commission for their efforts. This may or may not affect the price you pay, I don’t know—but I suspect it doesn’t lower it. Although they are only trying to make a living, and in some cases to help visitors find things, I find them a nuisance as they will not let you go until they have made their pitch.
—by Tom Brosnahan
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