Pamukkale, no doubt the most visited place in Turkey is a gem to behold. Also known as the “Cotton Castle”, it is a place so rich in tourist attractions and medieval history that you can feel it the moment you arrive. The name Cotton Castle is derived from the dazzling cotton white terraces which resulted from mineral precipitates of the hot springs coating the surrounding rocks creating travertines. The dazzling attractions include travertines, hot springs, believed to cure numerous ailments, and ruins of an ancient city called Hierapolis. For lovers of medieval history, a lot has been preserved in the archaeological museum where a sizeable section has been devoted to historical exhibits. It will easily take you on a trip back in time to the earlier centuries when the city prospered. Here is a list of things to do in Pamukkale, Turkey.
1. Take a relaxing walk on travertines
The heated lava beneath Pamukkale region warms up the underground water which eventually bubbles onto the surface dissolving mineral calcium. This water gets saturated, and when the ultimate solution reaches ground level, flowing down the steep slopes, it naturally cools down in the open-air. The calcium solidifies to form white crystals that stick to the rocks and soil forming iconic white calcium coatings called travertines. Apart from the beauty of the coated white rocks, the hot mineral water was believed to carry health benefits hence the Romans built a spa where citizens dip themselves to enjoy health benefits. To get the best experience visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Address: 20190 Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey
Opening hours: 8am - 9pm (daily)
2. Explore the ruins of Hierapolis city and theater
Hierapolis, meaning holy city, was founded in the early 2nd century, finally abandoned in the 14th century. It has always been a prosperous city, thanks to the many tourists who flocked at the hot springs believed to cure various ailments. Famous for its sacred hot springs, the city was associated with the underworld god, Pluto. In 17BC the city was completely destroyed by a big earthquake, thereafter rebuilt and completely abandoned in 1334 for fear of earthquakes. The ruins include an archaeological museum protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and open as a tourist attraction. As a lover of medieval history head to these ruins where an experienced guide will wow you with the ancient tales of the city. You are welcome to sit in an amphitheatre and admire the surroundings. The ruins include a castle, a Byzantine church, a necropolis, the city walls, and a collonaded street.
Hierapolis city ruins and theater
Address: 20280 Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
3. Swim in Pamukkale Antique Pool
This antique pool dates back to the Roman times when it was officially used as a health spa. It forms part of the ancient city of Hierapolis though it has been modernized to become a wonderful tourist attraction where visitors can take a therapeutic dip in the mineral-rich water. The water is normally comfortably warm and deep enough to accommodate adult swimming. If visiting with your family, you shouldn’t be worried as there are areas shallow and suitable for children. If you aren’t ready for a swim you can sit by the pool watching the swimmers. By the pool, you will find souvenir shops where you can buy something to take back home. Snack shops are also present offering dainty bites in case you feel peckish after the exciting swim in the pools.
Pamukkale Antique Pool
Address: Kale Mahallesi, 20190 Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey
Website: Pamukkale Antique Pool
Opening hours: 6am - 9pm (daily)
4. Learn medieval history at Hierapolis Archaeological Museum
Hierapolis Archaeology Museum is close to Pamukkale Antique Pool above the iconic travertines of Pamukkale. After an adventurous tour to the ruins of Hierapolis and the amphitheatre, and perhaps after a relaxing dip in the warm waters of the antique pool, this would be a sensible next step to ensure you completely learn the archaeological history of the place. The antique museum is uniquely partitioned into three different sections with each section having different kinds of exhibits of historical value, artefacts, statues, gravestones, and even idols.
Hierapolis Archaeological Museum
Address: Sümer Mahallesi, 2259. Sokak No:12, 20020 Merkez/Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey
Website: Hierapolis Archaeological Museum
Opening hours: 8:30am - 7pm (daily)
5. Tour the cotton castle
Pamukkale is a paradise found in Denizli Province, Southeast of Turkey. The word Pamukkale translates to “cotton castle” in Turkish. It has been popular and famous for over 2000 years because of the existence of hot springs that are believed to be curative. The hot springs have been frequented by visitors and locals for centuries as a bathing spot. The warm water comes from underground dissolving calcium minerals which solidifies on the surface forming white deposits called travertines. Travertines are popular tourist attraction in Pamukkale. Forming part of the cotton castle is a medieval ruin of Hierapolis which was destroyed during an earthquake. Due to its historical significance, the ruins have been protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
Address: 20280 Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey
6. Swing by the Basilica Bath
Found within the ancient ruins of Hierapolis city, the Pamukkale Basilica Bath is strategically situated at the Frontinus Gate. A renovation in the 5th century AD led to the original bath being converted into a three-nave Basilica. Located just outside the city gate, this dated monument was meant for purification and cleansing before entering into the city. For a complete understanding of the ruined city, take your time to explore this ancient attraction where you are free to take beautiful photos as keepsake.
The Basilica Bath
Address: Kale, 20190 Pamukkale/Denizli Merkez/Denizli, Turkey
Opening hours: 7am - 9pm (daily)
7. Venture through Pamukkale South Gate
The Southern Byzantine Gate of Pamukkale Hierapolis Ancient CityPosted by Wang Hock Lim on Tuesday, 12 November 2019
Pamukkale Hierapolis ruins have three different access points, namely Pamukkale town gate, Pamukkale North Gate and Pamukkale South Gate. The south gate is approximately 2.5 km (1.5 mi) up a hilly stretch from the ruins of the ancient city. An adventure of the ruins through this iconic gate will mean a trek uphill to the amphitheatre then later an easy stroll downwards to other locations within the ruins.
Pamukkale South Gate
Address: 20280 Pamukkale/Denizli Merkez/Denizli, Turkey
Opening hours: 6:30am - 8pm (daily)
Pamukkale - a must visit
Turkey is a country that you must visit at least once in your lifetime. When here, Pamukkale is a perfect destination to begin with. With several attractions to keep you engaged throughout your holiday, this adventurous trip is bound to be unforgettable.
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