Meaning “Cotton Castle” in Turkish, Pamukkale sits on the remains of what was once the ancient Roman city of Heirapolis. The name cotton castle refers to the mountainous travertine rock formations that overlook the valley below. These travertine terraces are made up of calcium minerals that jet up from the natural hot springs of Pamukkale. As the water slips down the terraces and cools, it forms into the bright white rocks and make it look like a castle made out of cotton.
A health spa and wellness resort for thousands of years, the terraces and the area are still a destination for tourists and those looking for a relaxing day in the warm waters of these ancient hot springs.
Ruins of Hierapolis/Pamukkale, Turkey
These Ancient Greco-Roman ruins are actually in quite good of shape, seeing as how they are thousands of years old, and rival even some of the best known and most famous acropolis’ in Greece. The ancient stone arches are truly beautiful to see, and there are even a few ancient tombs still standing. This is one of the largest ancient grave-sites in Asia Minor, with over 12,000 graves, including that of the Apostle Phillip, martyred here in the 1st Century A.D..
The Hierapolis Theater
A tribute to just how many people these hot springs attracted over the years, the Hierapolis theater was built somewhere under the rule of Augustus, and includes 50 rows of seats separated into 7 sections. When you actually stand in this great edifice, the scope of what used to be Hierapolis is truly understood.
Modern Pamukkale, Turkey
Today, the small town at the bottom of the terraces is little more than a town to support the tourism in the area. While the old resorts that sat very close to the terraces and pools have been torn-down in the 1960’s due to their deterioration of the falls visitors can still get in these “healing waters” and relax — though no shoes are allowed in the pools, as shoes damage the unique calcium stone formations that are created by the springs.