km (11 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.
Named the Cotton Fortress
(pah-MOOK-kah-leh) in Turkish, it
has been a spa since the Romans built
the spa city of Hierapolis around
a sacred warm-water spring. The Antique
Pool is still there, littered
with marble columns from the Roman Temple
of Apollo. You can swim
in it for
You can reach
Pamukkale by car, bus, train or airplane. It makes
a great overnight stop as you travel between İzmir, Selçuk, Ephesus, Kuşadası or Marmaris and Antalya or Konyaand Cappadocia. More...
It's possible to visit Pamukkale on a day-trip excursion by train from Selçuk (Ephesus) or İzmir. Here's how.
You can spend a pleasant day at Pamukkale, exploring the extensive Roman ruins of Hierapolis, climbing the ranks of seats in the great Roman theater, touring the exhibits in the Archeological Museum, splashing along the travertines (where permitted) and even soaking in the Antique Pool littered with fluted marble columns.
or going to the Aegean
may be able to combine a visit to Pamukkale and Laodicea with a visit
the ancient City
goddess of love.
of importance to visitors at Pamukkale:
Located one km west of the road between Denizli and Pamukkale, you can make a short side-trip to visit this ancient city. More...
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...
A Bit of History
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.
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 hotel,
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.
here for more maps of Denizli,
Pamukkale & Aegean Turkey.
—by Tom Brosnahan