Pamukkale, the Cotton Castle
One of the world's most fascinating natural landmarks is located in south west Turkey in Denizli Province. Emerging from the earth in the middle of nowhere an incredible, pure white natural rock structure sits majestically like a castle made from cotton wool. Indeed its Turkish name, Pamukkale means literally this. Today it attracts millions of tourists from across the globe that come to bask in its warm, natural mineral springs, which cascade down the white limestone rocks.
Denizli - Cardak is the closest airport around 65 km or an hours drive away. The airport has regular flights to and from Istanbul. Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport is 252 km away and about a four hour drive. Otherwise there are bus services to Pamukkale/Denizli from most Turkish cities, but beware as none of them take you directly to the landmark. A local dolmus (minibus) operates from Denizli centre to Pamukkale, which is 20 km away.
A Little History
The old ruins of Hierapolis-The movement of the tectonic plates beneath the earth around the Menderes River basin set off a host of earthquakes, which caused many hot springs to sprout up over the area. One of the springs had a rich hydrogen carbonate and calcium content and this spring created Pamukkale. The 250 liters of hot water per second, which flow from this spring, create a lot of chalk and in the course of time this made the marble-white covering on the rocks that makes Pamukkale look like a cotton castle. Underground volcanic activity also forced carbon dioxide into a cave creating a place known as the Plutonium dedicated to the god Pluto. Pamukkale is around 2,700 m long and 160 m high. The formation of the rock itself means that there are tiers of crescent-shaped hollows held up by enormous stalactites. The hot mineral water that cascades down the mountain forms pools in the hollows and people come from miles around to bathe in them.
The ancient city known as Hierapolis was constructed by the ancient Greeks on the top of the huge white rock. Whilst Pamukkale has existed for centuries it was first referred by the Roman architect Vitruvius. The Greeks told of the water having healing properties, which were given by the gods particularly Appollo the god of medicine, Asklepios the demigod of the same and his daughter Hygieia, the goddess of health and cleanliness.
Conservation and Protection