ancient ruins and hot springs
After spending 2 days in Kusadasi and Efesus we moved forward to Pamukkale.
Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, is a natural site in southwestern Turkey in the Denizli Province. This place is famous for its hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. In this area, there are several hot water springs, which have a temperature between 35 and 100 degrees.
When the water first comes out of the ground it is about 35 ºC. The water includes calcium hydro carbonate in a big quantity. When it contacts with oxygen, the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide escapes and the calcium carbonate settles and forms the travertine (do not think that I’m so good in chemistry, I just found the explanation in google)
The travertines are not in contact with water all the time. The thermal water is given to the travertines by controlled programm. If the water flows on the same place for a long time, it causes moss and pollutes the white travertines. The travertine’s area should be dried for certain times to prevent this pollution and to let the jelly-like sediment harden. It is forbidden to walk on the travertines owing to being smooth and broken easily in the first stage of the formation. But the areas are constructed to provide tourists to meet water. These are the artificial pools, which are formed on the former road and the area of 5000 square meters which is established on the southern gate.
As we have visited this beautiful place in the beginning of December and the weather was pretty damp and cold, we didn’t try bathing in the travertines. We spent most of the time walking along the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis.
Information about Hierapolis is limited. It is known that the king of Pergamum, Eumenes II, founded the city in 190 BC. It was named Hierapolis after the Amazon’s Queen Hiera.
Hierapolis was completely destroyed by the earthquake in 60 A.D. during the time of Roman Emperor Nero. During the reconstruction after the earthquake, the city lost its Hellenistic Style and became a typical Roman City. And now you can see a well-preserved ancient city.
One of the main attractions is the Theatre; it’s a great, well-preserved Greek style building, which is situated on a hillside. It is 91 meters high. The theater’s construction was started in 62 A.D. but it was finally completed only in 206 A.D. Many statues and pieces of relief were found during the excavations but only few of them were returned to their original places, so when you approach the theatre you walk through hundreds of marble faces-statues and decorations lying on the ground. Believe me, this view is fantastic!
When you go further you see the Great Bath Complex:
Some of the walls and vaults of the bath and are still standing, there is a large court at the entrance, large halls on both sides, a rectangular enclosed area, and the actual bathing area. Two large halls within the Palaestra (sports arena) were reserved for the Emperor’s use and for celebrations. The ruins of the Great Bath Complex date to 2 A.D. The restored part of the building is used as a museum today. The size of the Complex simply amazed me! I felt myself being a small insect, comparing to its walls-columns and arcs!
Great part of the city is necropolis area. And this part is really huge! Long long road leads you through thousands of sarcophagi, so different in their appearance. Necropolis spans the time from the Late Hellenistic era to the early Christian era with sarcophagi, house-type cemeteries, tumulus-type cemeteries, and monuments.
After visiting this beautiful place, we went down to the city, which is situated right under the mountain. It is small and mostly consists of small hotels and spa centers, which offer a variety of health and beauty services, based on the natural qualities of the thermal water. by the way, the city itself is full of hot springs, which are turned into fountains or small pools. As we’ve been there in the beginning of December and the air was pretty cool, the city was full of water-gas and fog and looked a little bit mysterious like in a movie)) most of the shops were closed, but still there we some cafes with delicious cheese scones (flat brads).
So please enjoy the gallery by dmigor and a little bit by me))