Travel Tips

Visit Cotton Castle In Turkey

Pamukkale, or in English "Cotton Castle", is a popular natural tourist site located in the Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey.  More specifically, it is situated in the Inner Aegean region, in Turkey’s Menderes River valley.  Pamukkale terraces consist of a sedimentary rock called travertine, hot springs and terraces consisting of carbonate minerals deposited by the flowing water from the hot springs.

History

The ancient Byzantine and Greco-Roman metropolis is once known as Hierapolis was actually constructed on top of the white "Cotton Castle" which is 8,860 feet long, 1,970 feet wide and 525 feet high. One can spot it from the hills of the town Denizli across the valley.  Many people have enjoyed the pools there for literally thousands of years. There is also an on-site museum, which contains various historical artifacts from a number of  Lycos valley towns including Attuda, Colossae, Laodicea, and of course, Hierapolis.  Tourists may also see things from the regions of Caria, Lydia, and Pisidia.  There are also three areas of the Hierapolis Bath and two other areas that were reportedly once used as a gymnasium and library.  Many of the artifacts are stone and marble as Hierapolis is now in ruins.  There is also a cave named Plutonium--in English “place of the god Pluto”--which was once utilized for numerous religious purposes by the Cybele priests who actually seem to have been somewhat immune to the gases there.  If traveling to Turkey is not in your budget this year, but you still find this place fascinating, there other other options.

Present Day Issues And Resolutions

Unfortunately, hotels have been built over the ruins of Hierapolis as recently as the 1960s.  This negatively impacted the site.  The hotels had been determined to be “draining the thermal waters” into their own swimming pools thus damaging the original terraces.  A road from the valley to the location was built over the natural terraces and motorcycles were even permitted on the slopes. In 1988, however, the now popular tourist area was officially designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site the hotels were torn down, the access road removed and artificial pools were installed.  Since then no one is permitted to wear footwear in order to protect the deposits.  Today strict rules are also in place to protect even the hot springs water. No one is given access to the terraces.  Tourists are instructed to follow and remain on a special pathway.  According to the new regulations, they are also only permitted to enjoy certain small pools.  

Best Time to Visit

The area has a temperate climate most of the year.  The 17 hot springs there have temperatures ranging from 95 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit.  The supersaturated hot spring water travels 1,050 feet to where the travertine terraces begin and there deposits calcium carbonate (in the form of a soft jelly) on an area between 200 and 230 feet in length over an area of between 79 and 98 feet.  The jelly hardens into travertine.

Last Words

There are similar places in other parts of the world.  One of them might be near you.  The list of similar tourist spots includes Mammoth Hot Springs in the U.S., Hierve el Agua in Mexico, Tatev in Armenia, Baishuitai in China, Egerszalók in Hungary, Garam Chashma in Tajikistan, Badab-e Surt in Iran, and  Terme di Saturnia and Bagni San Filippo in Italy.  

(All images are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated.)

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