Cotton Castles of Pamukkale


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Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Pamukkale
March 31st 2018
Published: April 3rd 2018
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Anticipation, expectation, inspiration,giddiness, baited breath… no thesaurus could list enough words to describe my feelings as we pull up to my most longed for experiencing of place. Pamukkale, known as 'Cotton Castle’s is laid out before me in all its glistening white splendour and I can't wait to get up there and see it in close up.

Sometimes if you big things up too much they disappoint in reality but not this time. As we reach the start of the white calcified surface of the mountainside with warm water trickling down we have to take off our shoes and walk to the top bare footed so as not to damage it. The feeling under foot is a little rough, the surface made of pretty ridged patterns a little like wet sand on the shore. We pass some beautiful terraced pools with blue tinged water. There are loads of pretty young Chinese girls in bright coloured dresses and over done makeup doing lengthy photo sessions.

Eventually we reach the top and find there are not only more of the exquisitely beautiful white terraces but also the mile long city ruins of Hierapolis. Earthquakes have again taken their toll, the city having been destroyed and then rebuilt at various points of its history, with its most prosperous time being in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. We enjoy a long walk around the ruins in almost complete solitude, the hoards preferring to stay near the white terraces and associated cafes.

I almost forgot that before seeing the ruins we had a dip in the hot spring water fed Cleopatra Pool. The great woman herself is supposed to have gained her renowned beauty after bathing in this pool. We take before and after photos to see if the water has the same effect on us. In the pool we have to dodge fat Russians, huge lumps of old ruins hidden in the murky water and bits of floating green mossy slime. It's not exactly the best hot spring experience but it’s nice for half an hour's dip at least.

We also check out the museum and find a very pert bottomed Poseiden. Other items of note, if pert bottomed Poseiden isn't enough, include body scrapers looking a bit like mini scythes and a rectangular piece of stone with a handle on top labelled 'iron’.

As the sun is starting to set we head back from the tour of the ruins and climb up to the top of a massive, ancient amphitheatre designed to seat 14,000 people. Just 20 of us watch the sun go down from prime seats in the gods. We're also accompanied by a sweet little cat who comes to sit on my lap. When the sun has sunk behind that mountains we make our way down the white, watery hillside in the semi gloom.

What a magical day at the cotton castles of Pamukkale.


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