km (12 miles) north of Denizli (map), is Turkey's
foremost mineral-bath spa because of its natural
calcium-laden waters spring from
the earth and cascade over a cliff.
As they cool they form dramatic travertines of
hard, brilliantly white calcium
that form pools.
(pah-MOOK-kah-leh, "Cotton Fortress")
has been a spa since the Romans built
the spa city of Hierapolis around
a sacred warm-water spring. The Sacred
Pool is still there, littered
with marble columns from the Roman Temple
of Apollo. You can swim
in it for
to be a favorite stop on every backpacker's
trip to Turkey. Adventurous travelers
would stay in Pamukkale Town's small
pensions and hotels, bask in the
warm mineral water of the travertime
pools, linger over long dinners with
drinks in the evening, exchange tales
of the road, and generally have a
wonderful time in
In the 1990s
the local authorities undertook a
development campaign meant to improve
the spa and increase tourism. Misconceived
in some ways, the development, along
with changes in Turkey's entire tourism
picture, resulted in fewer visitors.
went out: Pamukkale is
ruined! It's not the beautiful
place it once was.
Should you visit
true that it is not what it once
was, but time rolls on, things
change, and many of the reasons
to visit Pamukkale are still
valid, one of which is that it makes
sense as an overnight stop on
the route between
Izmir, Selçuk, Ephesus, Kuşadası or Marmaris and Antalya or Konya. More...
can come to Pamukkale,
on a day-trip or guided
tour from most of these places (Konya excepted).
or going to the Aegean
can combine a visit to Pamukkale
with a visit
the ancient City
goddess of love.
of importance to visitors at Pamukkale:
At the foot of the travertines,
the little town of
Pamukkale has numerous small hotels,
pensions, restaurants, and such services as shops and
bus ticket offices.
Many pensions have their own small warm mineral water
Several kilometers to the
north of the plateau, the village of Karahayıt
is surrounded by big resort hotels
busy with bus tour groups. More...
travertines form a plateau atop which
is the Sacred
Pool, the ruins of Hierapolis,
and the Archeological
Museum. These are
what you want to see. There are three
pay a fee to enter at any one. More...
As you enter Pamukkale
Town in a car, local men
on motor scooters will race
after you, catch you, and
gesture to you to stop your car.
do, thinking there is perhaps
something wrong with your vehicle,
or a dangerous situation ahead, you
will discover that they only want
to sell you something.
ask if you need a
carpet, etc. If you need
any of these services, they will
and probably take a commission for
their efforts. This may or may
you pay, I don't know—but
I suspect it doesn't lower it.
they are only trying to make a
living, and in some cases to help
visitors find things, I find them
a nuisance as they will
they have made their pitch.
You can reach
Pamukkale by car, bus, train or airplane.
here for more maps of Denizli,
Pamukkale & Aegean Turkey.
gleaming white calcium travertines of Pamukkale lend
the site its Turkish name: "Cotton
enjoy a dip in the sacred
pool of Hierapolis,
marble columns and all.