Beauty

Pamukkale : World’s Natural Spa

Thousands of years ago, earthquakes in Turkey created fractures that allowed powerful hot springs to bring water to the surface. As the water evaporated, the chalky material condensed and formed layer-upon-layer of Travertine, which slowly built up the walls over time in the same way that a stalactite forms a cake. These springs in a cliff 200 meters high were once used as a thermal spa for the ancient Turkish city of Heirapolis. Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish.

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The underground volcanic activity which causes the hot springs also forced carbon dioxide into a cave, which was called the Plutonium, which here means “place of the god Pluto“. This cave was used for religious purposes by priests of Cybele, who found ways to appear immune to the suffocating gas. Tadpoles can be found in the pools.

With such a unique combination of natural and man-made wonders it’s little wonder that Pamukkale-Hierapolis has been made a Unesco World Heritage site. With over two million visitors annually, it is also Turkey’s single most visited attraction.

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WHY GO ?

There are dramatic travertine terraces dotted all around the globe, from China to Iran, the USA to Afghanistan. But nowhere else in the world can visitors enjoy exploring both picturesque travertine formations, built up over the millennia from limestone deposited by the abundant hot springs, and the colonnaded streets, temples, bath houses, necropolis and theatre of the remains of an idyllically located Greek-Roman spa city, Hierapolis. You can even bathe, as the Romans once did, in a picturesque pool filled with warm (around 36C), mineral rich waters and swim amongst submerged columns of great antiquity.

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