Antalya to Pamukkale
Since leaving Istanbul two weeks ago, we had be travelling along the coast of Turkey. We travelled westward to Canakkale a coastal town and moved southward hugging the coast all the way to Antalya. From Antalya we moved inland and Pamukkale was the our first inland destination before we moved eastward though many town till we reached Cappadocia.
The drive to Pamukkale took about three plus hours. The inland landscapes were definitely more rugged and harsh but fortunately the highways remained wide and well maintained.
Midway on the way to Pamukkale we detoured out of the highway to stop at a small town, Cavdir. We soon found a cafe/cake shop and had our break. The shop sold “sweet” stuffs which we usually avoided but bought some after a local enthusiatically recommended them to us. Tea was great! Sweet Stuffs were too sweet!
We reached Pamukkale at about 2.30pm, checked into our hotel and took a short rest and was out to visit its famous “Cotton Castle” the white travertine terrace. The lower entrance of the terrace was only a 7 minute walk (350m) from our hotel. We bought our tickets (400tl per person) and began our slow walk up a slope, a stone pavement to the higher level of the travertines.
Once the stoned path ended there was a rope barrier and we had to take off our shoes before stepping onto the white limestone ground. No footwears were allowed on the white surfaces. The limestone ground was pretty hard, uneven and spiky at many places. We had to tread carefully.
PamukkalePamukkale white terraces were made of travertine, a form of terrestrial limestone deposited by mineral water from the hot springs. According to Wikipedia there were 17 hot springs in these area. The hot water deposited calcium carbontate once it reached the surface. The deposited calcium carbonate was a soft gel which eventually crystallizes into travertine. Most of the pools were dried with just a couple with water.
Most visitors gathered in the pools with water but we walked further inland on a board walk. The place was amazingly big but everywhere was dried. Where was all the water? Where were the layers and layers of pools and cascading water that made Pamukkale famous!
At the top of the terrace was Hierapolis which meant “Holy City”. Hierapolis was originally a Phrygian cult settlement. Then the Greek colonists arrived and built a city on the pre-existing pattern of settlement. Hierapolis later became part of the Roman province of Asia
Further walking brought us to a Roman Ruins, “Cleopatra’s Ancient Pool”. Visitors could swim in the pool for a small fee. In the pool we could see fallen broken columns.
We stayed on the top terrace of the Cotton Castle waiting for the sun to set as we would like to take a pretty sunset picture. We waited but it looked like sunset will be covered by heavy clouds so we left early.
On our way out we saw a huge sign board with a sunset picture of Pamukkale. It looked so drastically different in reality. The picture showed layer and layer of pools filled with water to their brim, reflecting the sky and their surrounding. The reality was dried ground and empty pools. Those few pools that had water were apparently manually filled by staff for the enjoyment of tourists!
On further checking we found out that the water from the springs had dried up many years ago. The spring water was diverted into town for the hotels and shops that were built to accommodate the many tourists that came in drove to visit Pamukkale! The heavy demanded dried up the springs!
We had our dinner for both days in one of the many stores that lined the street where our hotel was sited. Typical turkish meals costing about about 600tl for both for one meal.
Teleferik at Denizli
Denizli was just a short drive from Pamukkale. We had given ourselves two days for Pamukkale as we very much wanted to have a good sunset experience at the “Cotton Castle” of Pamukkale. So a spare day was allocated in the event we could not visit the travertine terrace on the first sunset.
Since we managed to visit the “Cotton Castle” on the first day, the second day we had time to visit Denizli Teleferik which was about 20km from Pamukkale. The cost of the cable car ticket was 40tl return for one person.
The weather was misty on our way up to the upper station. The place was rather quiet and we seemed to be the only two visitors around.
At the upper station was a big cafe/restaurant. Only the cafe section was opened and there was nothing on sale but turkish tea. We bought our drinks and went out to the outdoor patio for the view.
Denizli was a rather modern town. We were not “satisfy” with the turkish tea at the upper station of the cable car station so after we came down we went in search of a shopping mall for our second coffee break. We found Teras Park which was a large modern shopping mall. We went up to its terrace and had cafe latte and cheesecake. From the terrace we were able to see the “Cotton Castle” of Pamukkale which was 20km away.
Our Stay in Pamukkale
We booked our stay at “Hotel Sahin” in Pamukkale. We selected this hotel because it was directly at the base of the white travertine terrace. We double room had a balcony that faced the “Cotton Castle”!
Our room was on the higher floor in the hotel, the room was small and it had an ensuite toilet. The balcony looked out to the “Cotton Castle”.
Breakfast at the hotel was served in the dining room located on the higest level. The room had a all round glass windows wall. Breakfast was very basic but the view was fantastic.