Photos / Travel / Turkey / Vacation

Pamukkale

After a night’s recovery in Selçuk from the adventure of Ephesus, I was up bright and early to start on the next chapter of my holiday. I woke up feeling surprisingly refreshed, especially given the sunburn and sore feet I was nursing from the previous day.  My good mood, I think, stemmed mostly from my excitement about the day’s trip to the terraced mountain of Pamukkale, where I’ve wanted to visit since seeing unbelievable photos of the place over a decade ago. Of my entire itinerary, this was by far what I was most looking forward to, and I’m pleased to say that in no way did it disappoint. You might notice I took a few photos.

Pamukkale means “Cotton Castle” in Turkish, which, given the area’s heavily tiered structure and soft, white appearance, seems an appropriate name. The pools and travertines, along with the nearby ancient city of Hierapolis, are both part of the same UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Selçuk to Pamukkale. Despite it being a 4-hour drive, a lot of people make it a day trip. I was the only one in my group who stayed in town for the night.

Selçuk to Pamukkale. Despite it being a 4-hour drive, a lot of people make it a day trip. I was the only one in my group who stayed in town for the night.

A good mix of chemistry and an interesting water composition contribute to the creation of the iconic travertines, which are made of hardened calcium carbonate that’s deposited by the water that flows from the 17 hot springs in the area. Hierolpolis was built near the springs so residents and visitors could easily utilize them. The ruins are vast, and unfortunately there was only time to really explore one of the areas – having already seen Ephesus and Troy, and having waited years to see Pamukkale, I made a beeline for the pretty blue and white pools. Most of the tour was self-guided free time that allowed the group to do whatever suited their fancy, and so I broke off and spent the afternoon in blissful solitude. The experience was truly wonderful, and, had it been cooler, I might have spent even more time there, but I’m sure I’ll find a way to make it back!

Following the travertines, I spent the night in town before leaving the next morning for the seaside city of Fethiye, which held many more highlights for the holiday. I’ll upload those photos soon (hint: expect lots of water!), but in the meantime, I’m back in Istanbul now and have a 12-hour bus ride from which to recover! Sweet dreams, and all my love!

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