Pammukale is a wonderful natural site in southwestern Turkey which is made up 17 hot springs and travertines which has created terraces of crystal white carbonate mineral clouds left from the water flowing down the hill. It is roughly 2,700 meters long and 160m high and can be seen on a clear day from 20km away.
The ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis was originally built on top of the white “castle”and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was built by the Ancient Greeks on the hot springs, and made into a spa using huge stone blocks. Since the 2nd Century many patrons had retired and eventually passed away here.
Doctors used the thermal springs to treat their patients and the city became known as a healing centre. The city began minting bronze coins in the 2nd century BC. These coins gave the name Hieropolis. The Romans took over the city in 133 BC and following an earthquake, they renovated the city in their bespoke style.
In the 7th Century the country was devastated firstly by Parisian invaders and then a significant earthquake. Although it was rebuilt it passed over to the Crusaders in 1190 and then abandoned in the 14th Century which was closely followed by the Thoracian earthquake which toppled the remainder of the city. Unfortunately, there is scarce little left of the city now and what is left of the spring is very commercialised.
The real crown jewels are the white clouds. Starting at the top you can walk the full length down to the bottom where there is a man made pool gathering up the remaining water from the springs.
As you walk down you can take a lovely dip in the mineral waters…though the ground is uneven and varies between slippery bits and rough bits where the mineral sediment poke into your feet…unfortunately no shoes allowed. But it’s a lovely slow walk down to the bottom.
…looking up towards the stunning ‘white castle’.