At first glance, you might think that we’re in some kind of winter wonderland and wondering if T will stop at nothing (even subzero temperatures) to take his shirt off. While my husband certainly enjoys showing off his physique whenever an opportunity presents itself, in this case, he was more than justified. We are not in the arctic tundra here. Nope, what we are is practically melting in 105+ degree temperatures. The powder white “snow” that you’re seeing isn’t snow at all…not even close.
Pamukkale, which means “cotton castle” in Turkish, is a collection of hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by flowing water. These waters are derived from springs in a cliff that overlooks the plain. The calcite-laden waters are what give this unique and unreal-looking landscape its white-like-snow image. In somewhat less sciencey (that’s totally a word) terms, these travertine formations are the result of limestone being deposited by the hot springs over the course of thousands of years. I know…right?! So cool! In all our travels, we have never seen anything like this chalk-white castle-like fairyland.
Located in southwestern Turkey, Pamukkale is also the site of the incredibly well-preserved ruins of the Greek-Roman city of Hierapolis. This geological phenomenon has been designated as a Unesco World Heritage site and is Turkey’s single most visited attraction. We visited Pamukkale as part of a ten-day tour throughout Turkey using the tour company Insight Tours. I touched upon the pros and cons of using tour companies in my Delhi post, and while we often forgo using tour companies and their pre-determined itineraries, there are times that the security and convenience of using a tour operator provide a huge advantage. In our experience, Turkey was one of those times. Using a tour agency allowed us to easily and safely navigate Turkey’s vast countryside. While Turkey was largely considered a safe country when we visited in 2008, it is currently undergoing some political unrest. Arranging a tour provider prior to visiting may not only be an advisable idea, it may be necessary.
Pamukkale is a must on any Turkey itinerary–it’s just so remarkable and unique. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Turkey. Stay tuned for future posts on Turkey…T’s all-time favorite country and one of our best trips yet!
Planning Your Trip to Pamukkale: