Pamukkale, the Cotton Castle (Part 2)

Turkey > Pamukkale

February 2013

We have to leave the travertine pool, but I still can’t get enough of it. This is like entering a cave and admiring the stalagmites and stalactites. Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs.

Ripples of formations, I guess depending on the water flow, its solutes, and the ambience. These stuff are hardened, not fine loose particles.

Time to finally get back to the boardwalk to retrieve footwear for our freezing feet.

On my left, a nice view of the travertines. One of nature’s wonders on display. The spring water must have the right temperature, flowing along the right path, at the right volume and rate, with the right amount of the right minerals dissolved in it, surrounded by the right ambient temperatures, etc — so many things have to be ‘right’ in order to get this amazing landscape, and only after many thousands of years.

Back on dry land, we pass an outer wall of Hierapolis, this one from early 13th c., destroyed by an earthquake late 14th c. Thereafter Hierapolis was abandoned, till excavations late 19th c.

Looking down the slope, we see more spectacular formation of the travertine terraces.

I think the authority made these drains in order to manage water flow to protect the terraces.

At the top of the knoll, there’s a nice warm pool especially built to soak our weary feet in.

After walking around Hierapolis for kilometres, it’s indeed heavenly to just dip our feet into this 35°C spring water. Very refreshing and therapeutic, it soothes tired muscles, and soon our much-abused feet are ready for another episode of Hierapolis walkabout.

We are about 100m above the fertile plains below, subject of land-grabs between various armies for thousands of years.

More terraces at the furthest end of the boardwalk. To preserve these travertines, it’s out of bound to visitors. We can only observe them from the platform.

I must admit, very spectacular indeed, and I’ve seen many things in my travels. It is like a white hill.

No doubt, an ‘Allahu Akbar’ moment! Please click HERE to find out how this was formed – i.e. the science behind it all.

Another view looking down at the plains below. It’s believed the fabled Silk Road traversed these plains on the way to the Mediterranean coast.

As we walk further north, the terraces are degraded and less attractive. End-to-end, the Cotton Castle is a bit more than 2.5km long — sheer work of nature over many thousands of years.

More views towards the north. During the Hierapolis heydays the hillside beyond the terraces were packed with buildings.

In winter, it looks green and very fertile, but in summer I hear it’s something else. I think cotton is the main crop here.

Some people just can’t get enough of this majestic place — definitely one you must see before you die, sorry for the cliché!

One final glance before we head off into the ruins of Hierapolis again. It’s starting to drizzle and the wind is making it very cold.

A ‘Cotton Castle’ indeed!




2 thoughts on “Pamukkale, the Cotton Castle (Part 2)

  1. Thanks for the write up En. Naim. It is one of the place I always wanted to see myself.
    Btw just curious, have the terrace pools dried up? Some of the photos I saw in Google last time show the bluish water over white terraces and it was so beautiful.


    1. I think the pic you saw was taken in summer, and probably an old one. Now it’s winter, and furthermore to prevent damage to the delicate terraces, they have restricted access to visitors, and are controlling the water flow. Hence you may see waterless terraces. I’m not surprised if they ban ppl from entering the terraces altogether, except for the 2 near the platform. The travertine structures are very delicate and easily damaged.


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