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Pamukkale is in inland southeastern Aegean Turkey.
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Points of Interest in Denizli
The Travertines of Pamukkale
These are a set of bizarre calcium cliff bathing pools overlooking the town of Pamukkale. You can access them via a toll-booth, however tough pollution control regulations require removing your shoes in order to walk on them (so bring something to put your shoes in!), so the travertines stay white as ever. This job is made tougher in winters when the water flowing down the chalky cascades will be freezing cold. You can avoid the climb and take a taxi to the top of the hill and enter from the side of Hierapolis. But the real charm of the place lies in experiencing these travertines
These petrified waterfalls/travertine are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The admission costs 20 TL per entrance. This price includes addmission to nearby Roman city of Hierapolis as well. Lower parts of the travertine cascades are reported to have better views than the top.
Day tours are offered for around 45 Lira (as of January 2010) including English-speaking guide, entrance fee to Hierapolis and the travertines (this alone costs 20 Lira) and buffet lunch. Different companies seem to offer similar tours, ask around. Such tours leave from the Pamukkale bus company office on the main street opposite the travertines, and the Koray Hotel. There may be tours starting from other places around the town as well. For those who rather not visit the travertines under the scorching sun, there are also night tours as well, which start from small guesthouses.
Other than the travertines, places worth a look around Pamukkale are:
- The great (12,000-seat) Roman amphitheater of Hierapolis should not be missed, and lies just above the travertines. The travertine entrance fee already covers this.
- Swim with roman ruins in a large natural swimming pool located just past the topmost travertines (admission: 32 TL)
- Another lesser known site, but one that holds a considerable significance Biblically is Laodikya, just 10 km (10 minutes on a local dolmuş) from Pamukkale on the Denizli road. It's mentioned in the Bible as one of the 7 Churches of the Revelations and even though it hasn't been reconstructed as much as the more famous sites like Ephesus, is a great place to experience the Roman history without the crowds. A peaceful way to spend a day looking at ruins but also the beautiful scenery there as well.
- Karahayit, the red spring is also 5 minutes from Pamukkale, not even nearly as big as the calcium outcrop, but worth a look or if you want to try their mud baths. Springs and mud bath located at the northern edge of the town.
- Kaklik caves are like a small version of Pamukkale, but in a cave, underground and are about 30 minutes from Pamukkale.
Pamukkale, which has been used as a spa since the second century BC, literally means "cotton castle" in Turkish.
The travertine features have their origins in the shifting of a fault in the valley of the Menderes river (between here and Denizli). As the fault shifted, very hot springs with a very high mineral content (notably chalk) arose at this location. Apart from the slightly radioactive minerals, the calcium and hydrogen carbonate react to create calcium carbonate (also known as travertine) and limestone. This is what gives Pamukkale its whiteness and created the pools.
It can get quite hot in summer, a hat and especially sunglasses will certainly be very helpful against the sun and the reflecting sun rays from the chalky cascades. On the other hand, the cold winter climate could make the experience slightly uncomfortable. Climbing up the cascades barefoot, with cold water running downstream will be a tough task
- You can walk down barefooted in the waterfalls from the village. The place is crowded when the tour-buses arrive. No shoes are allowed on the travertines. If you don't want to walk back to top, you can use the buses dropping off people back to top, which depart from near lower end of the travertines. You should wear swimming suit. A lot of people bath in the baths here.
- It is also worth making the effort to get to the remains of the ancient city of Aphrodisias—one of the best preserved Roman sites in southeastern Aegean. You can rent a van from Denizli to get there. Local bus companies will arrange bussing for 30-40 TL.
- Bathe in the mineral hot springs. This is an enclosed pool, with additional entrance fee of 30 TL, above waterfalls.
- Of moderate interest might be visiting Denizli. It's a bit dull but there's a lively market.
The best and freshest food is to be found in the small family run pensions, but for a great open air restaurant where you can eat 'borek' the Turkish pancakes and gaze across the valley, try Alis on the main highway just before you come into the town.
- Mehmets Heaven, on the main street near the Travertines has an excellent view of Pamukkale from his porch out back. Great food and well priced. Super nice owner as well.
- Kayas Wine House, Kale Mah. Ataturk Cad. No 3 (centre), ☎ 0090 258 272 2267. Recently started serving food, not only Turkish but also international (Korean, Japanese...) in traditional but trendy surroundings. Located in the centre of town, close to all the major hotels.
- Lamuko's Lokanta, Main Street Pamukkale, ☎ 0090 542 390 8175. Japanese and Korean food in the centre of Pamukkale, next to Pamukkale Bus Company office. Delicious!
- Kale Hotel, Atatürk Cad. 16 ((on the main street in the centre of town)), ☎ +90 258 272-26-07. This place has great Chinese, Korean, and Japanese food at an excellent deal. It's also got Turkish food, but is a great change if you'd like something other than gözleme, pide or kebabs. Entrees are around 10 TL and it has beer and wine.
- Ayran is a salty yogurt drink similar to a salty lassi. It may be an acquired taste, but should be tried while in Turkey.
- The wines produced in the Pamukkale area are becoming quite famous and are winning awards for the quality and standard. Note that Turkish wine may disappoint.
- Raki is a traditional Turkish drink, generally served with mezes (tapas like appetizers, generally followed by a fish or meat dish). With an anise-seed flavor, it may be an acquired taste. Great with fish or any long meal as it is meant to open up your appetite.
- Efes or Tuborg are the go-to beers in all of Turkey, and are often the only beers available.
The Pamukkale/Denizli area is famous for its cotton and the homewares. These are becoming sought after world wide (Arnold Schwartzenegger decked out his house in curtains and furnishings specially made in Denizli - so the story goes!) and the best place to go is the town of Buldan, about 30 minutes drive from Pamukkale. Many of the other souvenirs and traditional Turkish wares that you can find in other parts of Turkey are cheaper around Denizli/Pamukkale because they are produced there.
Safak Halı Pazarı : Atatürk Caddesi No 30 tel:+90 258 272 2317 You can find localy handmade carpet and kilim, towel, tablecloths, seramics, onyx, scarfs, many different kind of souvenirs homewares here it also cheap price.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Pamukkale on Wikivoyage.