Pamukkale means cotton castle in Turkish and the name fits perfectly. Pamukkale is famous for carbonate mineral left by the flowing thermal springs and is in Denzili, southwestern Turkey, and very easy to fly to from Istanbul.
The white castle is 2,700m long, 600m wide and 160 high! The thermal springs drip down the mountain and leave little terraces with milky pools. I arrived around 9am to avoid the hoards of tourists and walked up from my hotel – you have to be barefoot and a lone guard will quickly remind anyone to remove their shoes to protect the white limestone. Don’t forget your togs and a towel!
The terraces are made of travertine, sedimentary rock and there are 17 hot water spring with temperature ranges from 35-100’C and the water flows down into the town – weird to feel warm water in a spring next to a driveway!
Pamukalle is adjacent to the ancient city of Hierapolis which was once a large city but now is just well-preserved Roman ruins and museum which was weirdly empty of people! I was invited to join a tour group so jumped on the tour for 20 minutes or so and listened to the stories about the old buildings and water reservoirs. You’ll find artifacts and Bronze Age craft and an old library and gymnasium. There’s also a giant restored amphitheater which was very impressive and stands alongside extensive necropolis.
People would visit Hierapolis for the health and beauty treatments from the thermal pools and even now you can have a dip in Cleopatra’s pool and let all your problems disappear (if only!). You can receive balneal treatment, mud baths and massages to enjoy the real experience and wonder of the healing water.