The healing waters of Pamukkale

by CameronM Sun, October 05 2003 06:30

After spending several days in Selcuk, where the average stay is 2 nights top, we were ready to reignite the "don't stop moving" motto and headed to Pamukkale, about 3 hours away by bus. Pamukkale has been a tourist mecca since the earliest Greek times, as evidenced by the ruins at Hierapolis, possibly the world’s first spa town. The ruins are nothing compared to Ephesus, however there is a large cemetery, which contains all manner of monuments to the dead, who had obviously come for a week and stayed a lot longer.

The main attraction is the natural terraces of Pamukkale, created by calcium rich water flowing down the mountain from hot springs that would appear never to run dry. The result is a multitude of small pools where it is rumoured you can look 20 years younger after even a brief swim. Unfortunately, due to the heavy usage and resulting destruction of the site, authorities have stopped all swimming in the natural pools, although many hotels in the area have pools filled with the same water. The water itself looks bright aqua, set against the stark white backdrop of the terraces and the whole mountain side can be seen from several miles away.
Don't expect to get lonely, with up to 10000 visitors a day, Pamukkale is packed with tourists, who for some strange reason, feel very comfortable wearing not much, while walking around the site (and some of them really should rethink they current fashion choices).
We stayed overnight in the town of Pamukkale, situated below the terraces. I got the sense that this didn't happen often, as many of the locals were amused by us and the town lacks all the usual tourist trappings, like carpet shops. The people are nice though and we had a good discussion with the local bus agent, who was obviously bored out of his brain and invited us for a cup of tea.

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