Have you ever heard about Pamukkale in Turkey? I don’t quite understand why I didn’t know it existed, since a place called “The Cotton Castle of Turkey” sounds pretty amazing! Check these 5 facts about Pamukkale to find out more about this bizarre, but wonderful place on Earth.
Interesting Facts about Pamukkale
1. The Cotton Castle of Turkey: How did it happen?
The word Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish. The site gets its name from the numerous cascading white pools with bright turquoise water surfaces. From a distance, the white limestone walls seem to resemble an immense castle of fluffy cotton. These limestone walls were formed by the calcium-rich water from the springs. Eventually, the calcium carbonate in the water slowly deposits itself as a soft jelly and eventually hardens into limestone.
2. Hierapolis: Ruins of an Ancient City
The hot springs aren’t Pamukkale’s only attraction. Above the cascading pools, you will find the remains of an ancient city. The city of Hierapolis was a Greco-Roman and Byzantine town that stood on top of the castle. At the end of the 20th century, people started building hotels on top of the ruins. As a result, this heavily damaged the city. The hotels were removed after the Hierapolis became a protected UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. The photo above shows the restored theatre, first built around 70 AD.
3. Swimming in an Underwater City
The coolest of these facts about Pamukkale might be the the underwater section of Hierapolis. Some of the remains of the ancient city became partially submerged after an earthquake. These remains can be found in a pool that was historically considered sacred. This pool is now named the ‘Antique Pool’. Unfortunately, the pool has become heavily commercialised and you will need to pay a hefty entrance fee to take a dip.
4. No Shoes Allowed
The hot spring terraces hold gallons of mineral-rich turquoise water. This natural phenomenon is a breathtaking sight, but also highly sensitive to any disturbances. For this reason, visitors must take of their shoes and walk among the terraces barefoot on a special path. Why? Well, this method prevents erosion of the calcium deposits that form the terraces.
5. Healthy Hot Springs
Pamukkale has 17 hot water springs. Interestingly, the temperatures of these pools can range from 35 °C (95 °F) to 100 °C (212 °F). I guess you can’t just jump in anywhere! Not to worry, there are several demarcated pools where visitors can safely take a dip in the relaxing water. It’s probably not a bad idea, especially considering how the mineral-rich water also has several health benefits, for instance the ability to lower blood pressure and alleviate rheumatism.
Obviously, the Pamukkale hot springs and ancient ruins of Hierapolis have claimed a spot on my bucket list. However, the tourism industry seems to be taking a toll already. The pools are extremely busy, specifically during the summer warm months. We’ll certainly have to be careful and treat the site with respect. What about you; planning on going?