Pamukkale and Hierapolis

A mixture of natural phenomenon and historical ruins greeted us at Pamukkale.

There is no doubt that Greek/Roman settlements were attracted to the calcium rich water that flowed down the cliffs to create the beautifully formed and coloured pools. The huge necropolis filled with palliative souls attests to that. It was a place to come and restore the health or suffer less.

Hierapolis (sacred city) is now renowned for its beautiful theatre, which although destroyed in numerous earthquakes had enough recognisable bits to be reconstructed.

In fact this theatre was built by the Romans after the Greeks built a theatre in another location, that was completely destroyed.

We also climbed further to see the Martyrion of the Apostle Philip, built in the 6th century, the baptistry was a beautiful octagonal structure, still easily recognisable today.

It is in this area that the hill is scattered with Sarcophagus, testament to those that came for restorative and palliative treatment at the calcium ponds.

Archaeologists from Italy are leading the restoration program in Hierapolis, and it was exciting to see how they had unearthed the start of the Roman road, particularly to see the lower part of those beautiful columns still in situ.

The other great attraction are the calcium pools of Pamukkale, Turkish for “Cotton Castles”, which relates to the cotton grown in thedame area over the millennium. It is now a UNESCO heritage site which is open only under controlled conditions, for their protection.

I was particularly impressed by how a fabulous  wonder like this can share its natural beauty with visitors’ opportunity to explore them.

Paragliders sail over them for the lucky people with time and 125 Euro.  But equally exciting is the opportunity to walk down a path, over the dazzling white travertine, paddling in man-made ponds. It is about a 1km walk and shoes are not allowed. Legend has it that soaking in the warm spring water will reduce your age by 10 years. After the stroll down the raw travertine the soles of my feet felt 10 years older. Let’s see how they feel after a few days.