Pamukkale and Hierapolis
Sunday, 30 January 2022
Our hotel was directly opposite the lower, southern entrance to the Travertines of Pamukkale, but the hotel owner advised us to get a taxi to the eastern gate. Visitors have to remove their shoes and socks to walk in the thermal pools, so if you enter and exit via the southern entrance, you need to remove your shoes and socks twice. At the time, this made perfect sense to us, although we decided to walk to the eastern entrance rather than get a taxi.
In Turkish, Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle", is a natural site famous for a carbonate mineral and the snow-white limestone shaped by the calcite-rich thermal spring water. The water slowly cascades down through mineral terraces of travertine, each with a small thermal water pool.
I had seen photographs of Pamukkale before and thought I had a good idea of what to expect, albeit that snow would now cover the travertines.
I was astonished to learn that, above the travertines, lay the ruins of the ancient Greek city Hierapolis.
Hierapolis was founded as a thermal spa early in the 2nd century BC and became a healing centre where doctors used the thermal springs to treat their patients.
In 133 BC, when Attalus III died, he bequeathed his kingdom to Rome. Hierapolis thus became part of the Roman province of Asia.
Philip the Apostle (St. Philip) was martyred in Hierapolis. It is said that he converted the wife of the proconsul of the city. Enraged, the proconsul had Philip tortured and then crucified upside-down.
Hierapolis was destroyed several times by earthquakes and by the Persian armies in the 7th century and Seljuks in the 12th century.
In 1354, the great Thracian earthquake toppled what remained of the ancient city, which was then slowly covered with a thick layer of limestone.
I enjoyed exploring the ruins as much as seeing the travertines, and whilst exploring; we hoped that the sun, together with the thermal water, would have melted some of the snow covering the travertines. Sadly, this was not the case, and neither of us was keen on removing our shoes and socks so that we walk on the cold snow and ice, which covered much of the route down to the southern gate.
Reluctantly, we walked back along the road and watched as hot air balloons launched and floated off into the distance, waiting for the sun to set.
That evening, we purchased our bus ticket for the following day.
Walking up the road to the east gate of Pamukkale
Snow-white limestone travertines covered with snow!
Pamukkale. Bucket list item ticked - well, sort of!
Looking down the travertines terraces to Pamukkale
Snow-covered travertine terraces at Pamukkale
Paddling in the thermal pools of Pamukkale
What a glorious view in the sunshine at Pamukkale
Roman Baths turned into a Basilica. People had to wash before entering the city
Frontinus Gate. The monumental entrance to the Roman city
The Main Street ran from north to south close to a cliff with the travertine terraces
Byzantine North Gate to Hierapolis
Cleopatra’s Pool at Hierapolis
Monumental fountain of the Apollo Temple at Hierapolis
The theatre at Hierapolis built under the Roman Emperor Hadrian
Byzantine East Gate to Hierapolis
Tomb of Apostle Philip discovered in 2012
The octagonal Martyrium of St Philip the Apostle at Hierapolis
One of many hot air balloons taking flight for sunset