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Pamukkale: A place where nature and civilization met, a pure white cotton castle bloomed
When you think of Turkey, there are three landscapes that are drawn first in your mind. The first would be Istanbul's skies with the spire of a huge mosque, and the second would be Cappadocia, with hundreds of hot air balloons rising over the valley. And the last one is Pamukkale, where blue water overflows from every layer of the pure white cliff.
Pamukkale is located in the state of Denizli, southwest of Anatolia. It is clear why a remote rural village, 580 km from Istanbul and 480 km from Ankara, has become Turkey's top scenic spot. This is because it is the place where the pure white Cotton Castle, which is hung full of blue ponds, is located. Pass through the alleys of the village filled with simple scenery and head for Pamukkale. A huge white hill rises over the asphalt road simmering in the midday sun.
It is just mysterious and unfamiliar, as if meeting a ice cap on the desert, as if the clouds floating in the blue sky were separated one by one. Although it is a landscape that has been seen countless times in numerous media, the actual appearance of Pamukkale is much more surprising and strange than expected.
Was this pure white hill formed by nature for a long time and looked like cotton wool to the eyes of old Turks? In Turkish, pamukkale means'cotton castle'. Pamukkale's strange topography is the result of the hot spring water erupting from the top of the plateau and the deposits of minerals contained therein. The hot spring water has flowed through mountain cliffs for thousands of years and then repeatedly settled in basins, creating mysterious and diverse topography such as cliffs, waterfalls, and terraces. Most of all, it is the so-called travertine terrace formed on the slope. Water is accumulated in the large plate-shaped pond, and it becomes cold blue indigo according to the movement of light, or it turns into a dreamlike pink color, and it has a strong golden color. It's not as overflowing with water as it used to be, but it's still as mysterious as seeing a bathtub of gods.
Pamukkale is beautiful just by looking at it, but you must climb to the top. When you walk barefoot through the limestone layers carved into all shapes and reach the end of the hill, you will see Hierapolis, the trace of a huge ancient civilization. Hierapolis, meaning'sacred city', was established in the 2nd century BC as a hot spring city for the kingdom of Seleucids. At the time, people believed that the hot spring water of 35 degrees Celsius from this place cured various diseases. Thus, thousands of people flocked from Greece, Rome, and Mesopotamia, and Hierapolis enjoyed a great reputation as a healing center and a resort. At one time, it prospered to the extent that its population reached 80,000, but like all cities, it has entered a path of decline since the 11th century, and it was completely ruined by the great earthquake of 1350.
This long forgotten ancient city reappeared in 1887 when German archaeologist Karlfmann began excavating. Inside Hierapolis, traces of thousands of years ago, such as the Temple of Apollo, the Memorial Cathedral of St. Philippi the Martyr, and more than 1,000 sarcophagus, are faintly but clearly engraved.
Among them, the amphitheater remains quite intact, boasting an enormous size capable of accommodating 1,200 people. As if it was famous as a hot spring resort, you can also find traces of the bathhouse. Currently, it is used as a swimming pool for tourists, but the remains of marble columns are submerged in the water, adding to the subtlety.
After a walk to the ancient city, return to Pamukkale. Soak your feet in the hot spring water that flows gently on the cliff and gaze at Pamukkale at night. Sprinkles colors on white drawing paper and fills with all kinds of colors on the pure white hills. An ancient city filled with prosperity that was splendid thousands of years ago, a cotton castle that blossomed beneath it. Is there another place where the beauty of nature and the splendid civilization of humans meet perfectly?