Our visit to Turkey's Cotton Castle and the Holy City

Exploring Pammukale and the Hierapolis

Hi guys! Lisa here and I am going to write about our time spent here at the famous UNESCO site Pammukale. Let's get it started!

Sang and I drove to Pammukale from Konya. The drive was approx 4hrs but we took our time and stopped at a few towns along the way. After checking in, we decided to go to a Japanese restaurant for lunch (yes - we craved for something non Turkish!). The restaurant was rated quite highly in Google so we were eager to see why. To see what else we ate in turkey click here!

The place was very cosy and reminded me of Japan! The waitress/owner was Japanese and so was the chef! The food was good hand tasted like authentic Japanese food!) and so was the service! I would definitely recommend this place if you decide to come! 

After our much satisfied meal we headed to the famous travertines of Pammukale for some evening photos and to also marvel at their natural beauty.

Pamukkale means "cotton castle" in Turkish. It is a natural site in Denizli which is southwestern Turkey. The area is famous for a carbonate mineral structures left by the flowing thermal waters.

It was so beautiful and it wasn't too busy (maybe because it's winter but it wasn't too cold...but only when you touch the cold water with your feet!).

I should note that most of the Travertines were dry so the site didn't exactly look like their postcards! We were told by a local that the most of the flow is controlled by pumps so if you visit on a Turkish national holiday they may turn them on. We did manage to find some pools with a bit of water and take some nice photos though!

Entrance costed 60 Turkish Lira and it included access to the nearby Hieropolis.

Note: You have to take your shoes off when walking on the travertines which was really cold.

Soaking our feet in the thermal water

After exploring the travertines and soaking our feet in the warm thermal water, we headed back to grab a light dinner and then called it a night! Driving took alot out of us even though we just sat in one spot!

The legend of Pammukale 
There was a young girl who was unmarried and ugly. No one wanted to marry her, which made her so sad she decided to commit suicide by throwing herself off from the top of the travertine. She fell into a natural pool at the bottom but did not die. Because of the magical healing water in the natural pool she transformed into a beautiful girl and caught the attraction of the lord of Denizli who was passing by. At that moment, the lord fell in love with this young and beautiful girl and they soon got married. What a legend ay??

So, in addition to the healing effects of the water, people also believe in the beautifying power of the water. As the water is useful, this land has been a place where people visit periodically for beauty and health since the ancient times. So the reason why Pamukkale is such a popular place is not only the natural travertine, but also for the healing waters!

Love finding little different items~

We started the next day early (as we had to start our drive to Istanbul approx 2pm) at the Roman city, Hieropolis!

The Hieropolis city was name after the wife of the hero Telefos, “Hiera” – and the name means sacred or holy city. It was famed for the sacred hot springs, the steam and airs of which were associated with the God of the underworld, Pluto. The whole city was completely ruined in 17BC by a strong earthquake.

This particular part of the Pammukale-Hieropolis was not busy so Sang and I had the whole place to ourselves (sometimes)! It was a big eye opener that a once busy city is now in ruins from an earthquake. I have to say this place is HUGE so we unfortunately had to miss out on some things because of our time restraint so we strolled around skipping some of the major sites eg Roman theatre and the church.

Next on our agenda was the famous Cleopatra pools (sometimes called the Pamukkale Antique Pool) and it was within the Hierapolis-Pamukkale complex. Entrance is free to view the pool but to swim in the pool was 50 Turkish Lira.

According to legend, this artificially sculpted pool was a gift from Marc Anthony to Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen. It is actually the most famous of the Marc Anthony gifts to Cleopatra.

In the 7th Century, an earthquake toppled the surrounding building and the massive marble columns tumbled into the pool – where they rest on the bottom to this day and visitors can swim among them...like me and Sang!

It was such an experience to swim next to something that had alot of history and I enjoyed it very much! Especially in winter and also maybe because we had it to ourselves 😁.

so good for a winters day

After our much needed relaxation time at Cleopatra's pool we headed to the travertines for one last look before we start our long drive to Istanbul.

Overall it was an enjoyable experience at Pammukale-Hieropolis in Turkey! Even though I missed out on the Roman theatre in the Hieropolis I felt satisfied.

I would definitely recommend to come here in winter because as I said earlier (many times) I felt like we had the whole place to ourselves and the thermal pools were a nice enough temperature to enjoy but make sure you pack some extra warm clothes for afterwards!

Thank you for reading and happy travels!

- Lisa


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