Pamukkale, Turkey

Of all of the places I’ve been, Turkey is stands out as one of the more unique destinations. Not only is the culture ancient, but the geological features as well. Cappadocia and fairy chimneys is what most people picture when they think of Turkey’s natural wonders, but I would bet you’ve stumbled upon pictures of Pamukkale and the fantastical looking fairy pools.

One side of the now-empty fairy pools.

Pamukkale translates to “cotton castle” which appropriately describes the white wall that greets you at the entrance. Located near Denizli, this UNESCO site has unfortunately changed drastically from it’s former glory. The top of the hill hosts the sprawling remnants of ancient architecture of Hierapolis, that used the thermal springs for it’s citizens and now hosts tourists from around the world. The terraced “fairy pools” are formed from a sedimentary rock deposited from the hot springs called travertine. While the hot springs still exist, earthquakes have altered the flow of the springs a bit and the fairy pools aren’t typically filled to their full potential. If you are pressed for time, I’d push you to spend more time in Cappadocia or Istanbul.

Cleopatra Hot Springs of Hierapolis

The town itself is centered largely around attracting tourism, so I wouldn’t plan on spending a ton of time visiting the town unless you plan on doing some other adventure-based activities like hang gliding. If you want to experience city life, head back to Denizli and branch out from the Bus station.

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