For most of my traveling life, I’ve been an urbanite. Not quite a dazzling urbanite, but clean (-er) air, unbelievable terrain, visible stars in the night sky, or even human-made sites further afield were never my çaydanlık (link thanks to faziarizvi; pardon my language.) Then came day trips from cities, to Bogor (a botanical garden) in Jakarta or to Leshan in Sichuan. Still close enough to the pollution and bawling crowds, but a decent retreat anyhow. Sure, I’d eat well in the city, and it would be easier to get around than in a rural setting, but ostensibly if you’re willing to subject yourself to the unhealthy chaos of a Jakarta, Cairo or Dhaka, then what harm is doing some exploring in a forest, desert or travertine formation in Pamukkale, in southwestern Turkey. (Say what? Please check out the corresponding dictionary.com link) I’d jollily like to remind you that if you’d like to use one of my (typically grainy, but sometimes inviting) photos, please give me a bit o’ credit, and a link to your site so I can view what you’ve got going on too. Thank you.
The name Pamukkale translates as “cotton castle,” and from the looks of it, you might see why. But how about the grander WHY? Well, The area was known for its thermal springs for thousands of years, probably starting with the ancient Romans. In fact, once you ascend to the top of the site, Roman ruins, now called “Hierapolis,” await you with a series of nymphaeums, intricately-designed columns and a restored amphitheater. (Link thanks to Britannica Online Encyclopedia) You can amble the length of the site, which leads to much less peopled sections of Hierapolis and the travertine cliffs, as well as to more attractive vistas of the grounds. If you’ve reached a point where it’s just a path through shrubbery, then you should probably give yourself a swift kick somewhere as that path leads to the road quite a ways from the main entrance/village where lodgings are.
Here’s a bit of geology which I shouldn’t really be covering, but no matter, here’s a link to provide even less clarity for you… (link thanks to marble and more) After exiting from the underground springs, CO2 (carbon dioxide) waves goodbye to the stream of water it hailed from, calcium bicarbonate divorces itself from the water-insoluble calcium carbonate, the latter of which starts forming at first, a substance similar to gel, which hardens over time and forms what you see above and below. Hence, the reason why you can’t wear shoes while plodding up the main travertine hill (don’t forget to bring a plastic bag)–
To reach Pamukkale, it takes about an hour’s flight Denizli-Çardak (-Chardak) Airport (at least from Istanbul, and based on the visitors and signage, perchance on a charter flight from Tokyo or Seoul too), from where you can hop on the bus to …some, place where a minibus (called a dolmuş -dolmush) whisks you away to the tourist-centric village. Last I read, there are two flights a day between IST and DNZ, with many time-garnished travelers opting to fly in the early morn’ and return at night, though there are plenty of rooms and eateries available, at least outside of the peak season.
You may notice that some of the pools/cliffs don’t have water in them. Water was at one point diverted to fill the swimming pools at hotels years ago. Slowly and cautiously, water usage is on a rotation to be evenly distributed amongst the cliffs.