Pamukkale - Terrain in Turkey with geothermal springs, which have no analogues anywhere in the world. A unique resort and stunning natural attractions are located in the south-west of the country, 20 kilometers from the city of Denizli. The complex of 17 mineral springs, known since ancient times, is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and represents the outskirts of the ancient volcanic plateau, which rises 100 meters above the plain.
Mineral water, heated by the bowels of the earth to + 30 ... +100 ° C, flowed down the slopes of the plateau for thousands of years, forming travertines - small natural pools of a fanciful shape with limestone sides. Sources oversaturated with calcium bicarbonate form a precipitate of the purest white color on the surface. In addition to calcium, water is rich in other chemical elements and compounds: magnesium, hydrocarbon, sodium sulfate. For many centuries, this white cover has covered the entire slope of the plateau, and today Pamukkale, which is translated from Turkish as “cotton castle”, really looks like a huge mountain of cotton, spread by mythical giants to dry. In fact, a natural phenomenon was formed due to strong earthquakes that shifted rocks and formed faults, through which groundwater rushed to the surface.
In the II century, the Romans built the city of Hierapolis next to the travertines, which later became a resort. For many decades, excavations have been carried out in the vicinity of the sources, shedding light on the history of the ancient settlement. In 2012, archaeologists found the grave of the Basilica of St. Philip, and a year later they discovered the cave of Pluto - a place considered in ancient times as the entrance to the Underworld.
Ancient Hierapolis Amphitheater in Hierapolis
Not so long ago, it was possible to come to Pamukkale only with a one-day excursion, but with the advent of hotels and health centers on its territory, streams of tourists rushed here. All hotels have spas, wellness sessions in which are conducted by high-class medical specialists.
Entrance to Pamukkale
Around Pamukkale is full of souvenir counters, the atmosphere is always festive. But popularity has a negative side: the influx of visitors is too large, many tend to swim in the springs without rinsing off the tanning oil, all this leads to pollution and destruction of a unique natural complex.
Now only a narrow passage has been left for visitors, allowing you to see all the beauty near. But only barefoot is allowed to walk, and this is a difficult test - the legs glide. Swimming is also allowed only in a specially designated area. Water again flows down the terraces, ponds and gradually their former whiteness returns.
Tourists in Pamukkale
They come to the thermal springs of Pamukkale not only to see and capture the fantastic beauty of the unique place, but also to recover in the healing water, from which, according to legend, Cleopatra herself took a bath. Wellness courses are also organized at the resort, including mud therapy, mineral water intake and anti-aging treatments. Water from sources differs in three types, each of which helps in the treatment of certain ailments: rickets, rheumatism, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases, psoriasis, eczema, relieves fatigue and stress.
If you want to fully enjoy the unreal magnificence of the plateau, try to come here at sunrise or sunset - then you will see it not in snow-white, but in pink.
The main gate to Hierapolis
A small distance separates the resort from the ancient monument - the city of Hierapolis, founded more than 4000 years ago. On its territory there are several interesting objects:
- An amphitheater that can accommodate 15,000 people,
- Necropolis with various types of burials - crypts, graves and sarcophagi,
- Apollo Temple built in 206. The history of the creation of such religious buildings dedicated to the God of Light is curious - they have always been erected in seismically active places, where toxic fumes left the earth's crust. The priests, whom the believers turned to for help, released a bird into the temple and conjured Apollo to kill her in evidence of his connection with God. The bird died from gas poisoning, confirming the strength of the clergyman.
- Church of St. Philip built in the IV century. It is believed that the tomb of the apostle is not far from the sanctuary, but so far it has not been found. Hierapolis Museum with beautiful antique statues and bas-reliefs, sarcophagi and a collection of ancient coins.
- Sanctuary of Pluto.
Archaeological research continues on the territory of the ancient polis and at present.
Cleopatra's pool accepts the afflicted since the time of the Roman Empire. The origin of the outdoor jacuzzi is man-made, marble fragments of Roman terms still lie at the bottom of the reservoir. The current look of the pool was recreated in the 60s of the last century. The reservoir is divided by a rope into two halves - deep and shallow. The maximum depth of the pool is 3 meters, the water temperature is + 34 ... + 36 °. In the shallow part of the pond you can relax while sitting on large stones. For the comfort of visitors, the pool is equipped with ropes, which are nice to hang and relax.
Before entering the reservoir, it is recommended to visit the showers located here, next to which there are lockers for clothes.
At 13 kilometers from Pamukkale lie the ruins of the ancient city of Laodicea, founded in the 3rd century BC. e. Frequent earthquakes destroyed the city, now in its place are visible the remains of a temple of nymphs, a term, a stadium and two theaters.
The resort has a large thermal complex Pamukkale Thermal Baths, open daily from 08.00 to 20.00, the entrance costs $ 6.5.
At the top of the slope is another Karhait health center, which is very popular with tourists, as For healing procedures, water from three sources of different composition is used here.
View of Pamukkale and surroundings Pamukkale Museum
The Pamukkale Museum, located in the ancient term complex, is open on all days except Monday, from 08.00 to 20.00, an entrance ticket costs about $ 1.
In Pamukkale, you can choose a hotel of any category available to you: from budget hostels to luxury hotels.
Some hotels in Pamukkale:
- Tripolis **** is a large comfortable hotel with its own thermal pool and wellness center. Price from $ 60 per room.
- Pamuksu Hotel *** - a spacious panoramic pool, national and vegetarian cuisine, massage services. Room rates from $ 35.
- Melrose Viewpoint - 700 meters from the sources, price from $ 45 per room.
- Hal-Tur Hotel - an excellent view of the travertines, Turkish, vegetarian and Asian cuisine, its own thermal springs and pools, the room costs from $ 50.
Finding a catering establishment to your liking in Pamukkale will not be a problem - the town has a good selection of cafes and restaurants.
The resort has a sufficient number of souvenir shops offering products from cotton, leather, onyx and ceramics.
Resort town near the springs
Travertines formed from brittle limestone can easily collapse under external influence, therefore, swimming in them is prohibited. You can walk here only barefoot and only in a specially designated place for this. For those who want to undergo procedures in the source, a separate place is intended at the base of the plateau - the so-called Cleopatra basin.
Entrance to the travertine is available around the clock and costs 25 lira (about $ 9), bathing in the source - 30 lira (about $ 11) for adults, and 13 lira ($ 4.5) for children from 6 to 12 years old. Young tourists under the age of 6 years are free of charge. You can buy a ticket in advance on the official website of the resort www.pamukkale.com.tr. Entrance fees are charged only during daylight hours.
There are two ways to get to the springs: climb the mountain from Pamukkale near the lake or go through the entrance located near the northern necropolis of Hierapolis. In the first case, visitors take off their shoes immediately (this is controlled by a strict guard), and in the second case, they will need to take off their shoes directly near the travertines, which will take a long walk along the ruins of the ancient city.
If you decide to go to Pamukkale as part of an organized group, then know that the cost of the tour offered by the hotel guide will be 2, or even 3 times more expensive than a similar offer in a street agency. Remember that you didn’t get medical insurance from a tour operator, but from an insurance company, and it is valid throughout the country. If your hotel guide insists that in case of an accident during an excursion with a third-party travel agency, you will be deprived of medical care, then he is disingenuous and simply does not want to lose his commission.
Be prepared for the fact that during any excursion you will certainly be taken to factories and shops where the offered goods are sold at much higher prices than in other places. On the way back, there will be compulsory stops at the wineries, so you will not have much time on the tour of the resort itself, although you will pay a rather large amount ($ 80-120) for visiting it. In addition, you will come to the sights at lunchtime, when tourist flows are concentrated there, and it will be quite difficult to appreciate the beauty of this place. Therefore, it is better to purchase excursions only with a visit to Pamukkale or go there on your own early in the morning.
When going to the resort, be sure to take dark glasses, since the snow-white cover of the slope reflects sunlight, noticeably irritating to the eyes, a shoe bag, a towel, otherwise, if you swim in the pool of the Egyptian queen, you will have to buy it in a local shop at a fabulous price, swimsuit, cape from the sun, drinking water.
The best time to visit the springs is spring or early autumn, when there are no crowds of tourists and not so hot.
In Pamukkale, Denizli and Buldan (30 kilometers from the resort) you can buy cotton products of the finest work - hats, tablecloths, clothes, curtains, stoles.
Pamukkale during peak hours Tourist bus
How to get there
By plane - Istanbul and Denizli have direct flights, flight time is 1 hour 10 minutes, flights are operated twice a day. A ticket costs from 40 to 120 lire, depending on the airline. Airplanes arrive at Chardak Airport 65 kilometers from Denizli, from where shuttles (10 lira) and a taxi (70 lira, followed by Pamukkale, cost up to 50% at night). It is more profitable to take a taxi online, for example, in KiwiTaxi - you will know the exact fare and you can cooperate with fellow travelers.
By bus - from the central bus station of Antalya Otogar every half hour, starting from 07.30 and ending at 01.30, flights through Denizli are carried out. The bus overcomes a distance of 224 kilometers in 3-4 hours. If you purchased a direct ticket to Pamukkale, then at the bus station in Denizli you will be transferred to a bus to your destination, you do not need to pay anything else. If you paid for the trip only to Denizli, then from there to Pamukkale you will need to get on a direct bus.
A bus service connects Denizli with many resort cities of Turkey - Kemer, Alanya, Marmaris and others.
If you are traveling by car, then you need to go along the D350 / E87 and D585 highways. From Denizli you need to turn left onto the D320 and continue following the signs for Hierapolis, Pamukkale.
Interesting places Pamukkale
The site contains Pamukkale sights - photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular guides and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you will find answers to questions: what to see in Pamukkale, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places of Pamukkale.
Pamukkale is a cluster of unique hot springs with a high concentration of calcium oxide. The action of sources containing calcium oxide, led to the formation of calcareous deposits. White cliffs, high arches and beautiful-looking pools - baths (travertines) with mineral water, in which numerous tourists relax, formed on the mountainside.
Pamukkale thermal springs have been used since ancient times. They gained the greatest popularity during the time of the Roman Empire and are still in use today.
The picture of Pamukkale is amazing: a great number of thermal streams flow along a beautiful white plateau, creating numerous stalactites and small natural terraces filled with crystal clear water in the Cretaceous rock. Neither give nor take a natural masterpiece!
Also in the Pamukkale region are the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis, which was founded by the Pergamon king Eumenes II in the second century BC.
Antique city with ruins, amphitious huge, local dishes. dug out dog houses, baths and a pool. A free walk for a photo is much nicer than with a group of excursions.
And what sights of Pamukkale did you like? Next to the photo area there are icons, by clicking on which you can evaluate this or that place.
Pamukkale travertines are calcareous deposits of carbon dioxide that impress with their nature and scale. They formed over hundreds and thousands of years from sources rich in calcium, which hit from the slopes of nearby mountains. Calcium solidified and formed a wavelike cascades and white travertines. Now they are a guarded facility and entry to them is possible for a fee.
Numerous tourists like to climb travertines and swim in mini-pools up to 1 meter deep. You can only walk on travertines barefoot, and special guards monitor this.
Sometimes the white color of the travertine is replaced by a dirty gray or reddish color. You can’t walk on top of such travertines, because they are very fragile. For such cases, there is a wooden walkway around the edge, as well as a terrace with benches and stunning views for relaxation.
In photo mode, you can view sights in Pamukkale only by photographs.
Textile Mill Varol
Having decided to take an excursion to the old Varol textile factory, you can see the process of processing cotton and turning it into fabric, as well as buy something in the shops at the factory.
The Varol textile mill was opened in 1969. All fabrics produced at the factory are environmentally friendly and do not contain chemical additives: even for dyeing fabrics, craftsmen use natural dyes.
In small shops located in the factory, you can buy a variety of towels, slippers, clothes for small children and adults, bags and much more as a gift or for personal use.
Cleopatra's pool is a favorite place for bathing tourists from all over the world, the beauty and originality of which was appreciated in ancient times. Of course, the Egyptian queen is unlikely to have a real relationship to this pool, but, according to local guides, you will still be pleased to feel how swimming in these waters will rejuvenate your body.
Since time immemorial, a swimming pool has been arranged here, surrounded on four sides by a portico, but the earthquake that occurred here in the 7th century AD destroyed it, and still fragments of columns lie at the bottom of the reservoir, giving a special fabulousness and mystery to this place.
The water here is not too hot, about 35 degrees, and is quite comfortable for swimming.Of particular note is the purity, transparency and amazing color of the local water. Pink oleanders bloom along the banks of the pool, filling the air with delicate aromas. Even if you do not feel the widely advertised anti-aging effect of swimming in the Cleopatra pool, the feeling of relaxation, lightness and pleasant bliss spreading throughout your body is guaranteed to you.
Gates of Arch of Domitian
This gate is the entrance to the ancient city. They were built in the 1st century A.D. Proconsul of Anatolia Julius Frontin.
A very long time ago there were two floors at the gate. Only the first floor has survived to our days, which is well preserved only on one of the towers. The towers are made of stones and were connected by three fairly high arches.
The name Aphrodisia (on behalf of Aphrodite) originated in the Hellenistic era. The sculptors who arrived here from Pergamum opened a school of sculpture, the creations of which were highly valued in Greek and Roman society.
However, Aphrodisia was famous not only in the field of art, but also was a cult center. The spread of Christianity here, where the traditions of pagan rites were strong, was perceived acutely.
In the XI-XIII centuries. here raids of the Seljuks became frequent, which led to the ruin and decline of the city. Again Aphrodisia was discovered at the beginning of the last century by P. Godein (France). The local museum is located right at the entrance to the excavation site. Here you will see busts of emperors, Roman and Byzantine sculptures, a statue of a seated Aphrodite, several tombstones and sculptures of the same sculpting school.
In the vicinity of the Acropolis, traces of prehistoric settlements are clearly visible. Nearby is a theater (I century BC), which is used today to show performances.
Onyx Factory is located in the Pamukkale area. Here you can buy unique things from onyx - jewelry, vases, dishes and souvenirs.
At the factory, tourists are shown the process of creating figures from onyx. The deposits of this stone are found practically all over the world, however, the following six countries possess the resources for its extraction on an industrial scale: Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey and Mexico.
In Turkey, this marble stone is found in almost all regions. The south of the country is especially rich in onyx deposits - excavations are carried out in the areas of Varsak, Antalya, Feke. In the form of plates and blocks, Turkish marble is exported to Taiwan, China, Italy and other countries.
Among onyx stains from Turkey, stones of yellow-brown, beige and yellow-green tones are more common.
The most popular attractions in Pamukkale with descriptions and photographs for every taste. Choose the best places to visit famous places of Pamukkale on our website.
Pamukkale in winter: is it worth it to come
Many tourists are interested in whether to go to Pamukkale in winter. This question definitely cannot be answered, since such a trip has both advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantage is the weather: in the winter months, the average air temperature in the afternoon in Pamukkale ranges from 10 - 15 ° C. But at the same time, the temperature of the thermal springs remains the same as in the summer (about 37 ° C). The water itself is warm and comfortable, but upon leaving it you can freeze very quickly. If such a temperature difference is not a problem, then you can safely go to the thermal resort in the low season, because otherwise the trip will leave only positive impressions.
Is it possible to swim in Pamukkale in the winter, we have already found out. Now it remains to understand what to do after the thermal procedures. As we indicated above, in the vicinity of this natural complex of Turkey there are a lot of interesting sights, which are especially convenient to visit in the winter. Firstly, during this period, tourists in Pamukkale are much less. Secondly, the absence of the scorching rays of the sun and heat will allow you to slowly and comfortably explore all the ancient monuments. In addition, local hotels make good discounts in winter, so you can save money.
Where to stay
In the area where Pamukkale is located in Turkey, offers a fairly rich selection of hotels, both budget and luxury. If the main purpose of your trip is to visit the natural site and its surrounding attractions, it is most reasonable to stay in a small village located right at the foot of the snow-white slopes. The cost of living in local establishments starts from 60 TL per day in a double room. In the upper class options, with a pool and free breakfast included in the price, renting a double room will cost an average of 150 TL.
If you are counting on a comfortable stay at the Pamukkale Hotel with its own thermal pools, then it is best for you to look for accommodation in the area of the resort village of Karahayit, located 7 km north of Cotton Castle. The price for double in such hotels is 350-450 TL per night. The price includes access to the thermal pools on site and free breakfast (some hotels include dinners). You can get from Karakhai to Pamukkale and ancient attractions by taxi or public transport.
- Going to Pamukkale in Turkey, be sure to bring sunglasses with you. The white calcium deposits in the Cotton Castle in sunny weather sharply reflect light, which irritates the mucous membranes of the eye.
- If you plan to swim in the Cleopatra pool, then you should take care of the necessary bathing accessories in advance (towel, swimsuit, slates). The complex, of course, has shops, but the prices are sky-high.
- We have already figured out where is closest to Pamukkale in Turkey. But no matter where you go, in any case, a fairly long road awaits you, so be sure to stock up on bottled water.
- If you decide to go to Pamukkale as part of an excursion, then be prepared for frequent stops at local factories and shops. We strongly do not recommend purchasing goods in such places, since the price tags in them are several times overpriced. Repeated cases of deceiving tourists at a winery are known, when they give tastings to taste good quality wine, and they sell bottles that are completely different in content and that are presented as original.
- Do not be afraid to buy a tour in Pamukkale (Turkey) at street agencies. Claims that your insurance will not be valid on such trips are myths and legends of guides who strive to not miss potential customers by all means.
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Pamukkale is a natural and cultural site in the south-west of Turkey, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is translated from Turkish as “cotton castle” and is known for its stunning snow-white travertines and terraced ponds (baths). It is interesting that Pamukkale is one of the oldest resorts in the world. Here you can see the ruins of ancient baths that belong to the era of the Attalids, the rulers of the kingdom of Pergamon. In addition, next to the travertines are the ruins of ancient Hierapolis with an impressive theater.
Pamukkale was formed by thermal waters rich in calcium carbonate. Their sources go to the surface of a high hill and, flowing down, form calcareous deposits on travertines and terraced baths.
Geography and climate
Pamukkale is located in southwestern Turkey between Izmir and Antalya, near the city of Denizli. The terrain is a hilly plain. The high hill stands out in the relief, on which, in fact, travertines and baths are located. Lime deposits formed geothermal waters with a temperature of about 36 ° C. The climate is continental subtropical with very hot summers and cool winters.
- Language is Turkish.
- Currency is Turkish Lira.
- Visa - for up to 60 days, it is enough to have a passport, the validity of which is more than four months from the date of entry into Turkey.
- Time - UTC +2, in the summer +3.
- The cost of visiting is 35 lira per person. Swimming in the Cleopatra pool will cost 50 lire. A visit to the archaeological museum - in another 5 lira.
Best time to visit
The best time to come to Pamukkale is April-May and September-October. It is very hot in the summer.
The ancient resort of Hierapolis was founded at the end of the 2nd century BC. dynasty of the Attalids who ruled Pergamum. In 133 BC, the city passes under the rule of Rome. In Antiquity, Hierapolis was destroyed several times by earthquakes, but rebuilt. In the Roman period, this resort was also very popular with aristocrats.
Ruins of Hierapolis
In 80 A.D. St. was crucified here Philip, one of the 12 apostles. Constantine the Great made Hierapolis the capital of Phrygia. In the Byzantine period, the city played an important role in the region. In 1210, Hierapolis became owned by the Turks. In 1354, it was destroyed by a strong earthquake and abandoned.
Ancient cities around Pamukkale
Laodicea - the ruins of an ancient Roman trading city, which was home to Cicero. Fragments of the early Roman settlement and the Byzantine period have been preserved here.
Aphrodisias (Aphrodisia) is one of the most famous archaeological sites in Turkey. Already in the early Bronze Age, an Assyrian trading colony was located here, which in the Hellenistic and Roman periods turned into a large city. Aphrodisias became the center of the cult of Aphrodite. This Greek goddess built a large temple here, which in the 5th century was converted by the Byzantines into a Christian basilica. In the north is an ancient stadium, which seats 30,000 spectators.