Pamukkale Turkey: A Spa Stop-Western Turkey or Footsteps of Paul Tour
Calcium’s not just good for bones or triggering muscle contractions. If the many residents of the spa town of Pamukkale Turkey are to be believed, it works wonders on muscles and sinews too. ‘Cotton Castle’, 19km north of Denizli, has built a centuries-long reputation on the restorative qualities of its calcium-rich hot springs water. The unique formations of travertine (calcium carbonate) shelves, pools and stalactites, which hug the ridge above town like a white scar, were created by the area’s warm mineral water, which cools as it cascades over the cliff edge and deposits its calcium cabonate. It’s a strange piece of landscape unlike anything else you’ll see in Turkey except perhaps Cappadocia. Pamukkale now appears on the Unesco World Heritage list.
The Romans recognized the appeal of the site and built a large spa city, Hierapolis, to take advantage of the water’s curative powers. Hot water without burning wood. A novel concept. The tourist boom of the 1980s and 1990s had a detrimental effect on the site, as a line of hotels above the travertines drained away the waters, leaving the travertines dry, dull and dirty. That has changed with new regulations.
Pamukkale village has some charming hotels and pensions, several spa hotels. Today, travelers from all over the world continue to arrive to partake in the sublime and beneficial delights of the area’s thermal pools, while also steeping in a bit of history and local culture including its relationship with Laodicea. The Sacred Pool at the summit of the Pamukkale Plateau offers guests the opportunity to sample the healing waters much as the ancients did – surrounded by tumbled columns and hot bubbly water.
Today’s tour group was led by Aylin Sekban of Custom Travel Services out of Urgup-Cappadocia / Turkey. CTS is a fully licensed Turkish Travel Agency.
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