About Pamukkale Turkey
One of the most familiar images of Turkey is of the gleaming white calcium formations (travertines) of Pamukkale (pah-MOO-kah-leh), 19km north of Denizli. From a distance these form a white scar on the side of a ridge. As you come closer, they take on a more distinct shape, giving credence to the name, which means 'cotton castle.'
Pamukkale was formed when warm calcium-rich mineral water cascaded över the cliff edge, cooling and depositing its calcium in the process. The calcium built natural shelves, pools and stalactites in which tourists delighted to splash and soak. The Romans built a large spa city, Hierapolis, above the travertines to take advantage of the water's curative povvers, and in the 1960s through the 1980s modem hotels were built on the ridge to serve visitors. So special was Pamukkale that UNESCO de-clared it a world heritage site.
The tourist boom of the 1990s brought so many tourists to Pamukkale that the trav-ertines and water supply were threatened. A conservation plan is now being carried out: the hotels have been demolished, and the travertine pools have been closed in order to preserve them. it is not yet ciear whether or not a few of the pools will be re-opened in the ftıture.
Without the pools, why go to Pamukkale? Well, the travertines are just as beautiful and interesting when seen from a distance, and the ruins of Hierapolis stili as impres-sive. Pamukkale also makes a good base for day trips to Afrodisias and Laodikya. Pen-sion owners organise picnic excursions to Ağlayan Kayalar, a waterfall at Sakızcılar between Denizli and Çal for about US$20 per person. The village is also well stocked with small family run pensions and hotels, most with their own pools and perfect for a few days of gentle relaxation.
Pamukkale and Hierapolis now constitute a national park with formal entrances and visitor centres on the northern and southern sides. To the west, at the base of the travertine ridge, is Pamukkale town, once a farming village but now a small town with dozens of lodging and dining places.
About 5km west of the northern entrance is the village of Karahayıt where you'll fınd most of the luxury hotel development.
Cars can reach the southern entrance oT the national park via Pamukkale town (2km), or the northern entrance via Pamukkale town or Karahayıt. It's a short walk from the güney girişi (southern entrance) to the centre of the site, but 2.5km from the kuzey girişi (northern entrance).
Pamukkale Tourism Information Office
Although Pamukkale has a Tourism Information Office (fax 258-272 2077) on the plateau, it sees its business solely in terms of selling visitors the same books and postcards they could buy outside. There's also a PTT, souvenir shops, a museum and a first aid post. Pamukkale's postal code is 20210.
it costs US$5 to enter the national park, plus US$3 to park a car. The site is reput-edly open 24 hours a day which means you can visit for sunrise and sunset.
At the time of writing you can stili swim in the beautiful pool at the Pamukkale Motel, with its submerged fragments of fluted marble columns. A two-hour dip costs US$6 (children half price), but they rarely check your pass so you may be able to stretch it out a bit. A safe box for your be-longings costs another US$4.