Getting There & Away Pamukkale and Hierapolis
Bus in summer, Pamukkale has a surprising number of direct buses to and from other cities, many of them continuing to Pamukkale from Denizli. Companies serving the town with direct buses include Kamil Koç, Köseoğlu, Pamukkale and Paklale. For distances and prices, see under Getting There & Away in the earlier Denizli section. At other times of year it's best to assume you'll have to change in Denizli.
Pamukkale has no proper otogar. Ticket offices are near the junction of the highvvay and the town's main street.
Municipal buses make the half-hour trip between Denizli and Pamukkale every 30 minutes or so, more frequently on Saturday and Sunday, for US$ 2; the last bus runs at 10 pm in summer, probably around sunset in other seasons. A few of these buses actually go to the top of the ridge for no extra charge. in summer dolmuşes go more frequently but see the vvarning on delays and pension touts in the earlier Denizli section.
The dolmuş from Denizli to Pamukkale usually continues as far as Karahayıt, or there's a separate Karahayıt municipal bus service.
If you're driving from Afrodisias and Nazilli, you might want to note a short cut to Pamukkale. About 600m after you pass the exit sign from Sarayköy ('Sarayköy' with a red diagonal stripe through it), a narrow road on the left leads to Pamukkale via the vil-lages of Sığma (SUH-mah), Akköy and Karahayıt. The road is not well marked, so you should ask directions for Pamukkale in each village. If enough people ask, the locals might erect signs.
A taxi between Denizli and Pamukkale costs about US$12, but don't take one until you're sure the bus and dolmuş services have stopped for the day, which is what you're liable to hear from every taxi driver. Taxis also wait on top of the ridge to run people back to Pamukkale. This joumey should cost between US$5 and US$6 but some readers have complained of being told it was a metered taxi and then being landed with a bili twice as high as this. A taxi from Pamukkale to Karahayıt costs about US$12.
Places to Eat Pamukkale Restaurants
Most of the pensions serve meals and it's not a bad idea to take a room with breakfast and dinner included. Chances are that your pension will serve you better food, with larger portions at lower prices, than any of the eateries in the village.
The famous Pizzeria on the main street between the highway and the Yörük Motel was built in memory of a Pizza Hut in Aus-tralia, in which its builder worked for several years. This is the Turkish village version, with excellent fresh pizza from US$2. The upper deck gives you a view with your meal. Pizzaland next door is also good, though the food is a bit more bland.
On a tight budget you'd do well to avoid eating at any of the tourist-trap restaurants on the top of the ridge. The tables may overlook the travertines, but you pay again for the views in the cost of the meals. Pack a picnic before climbing the ridge from Pamukkale town.
Places to Eat - Mid-Range
in Pamukkale town, try Gürsoy Restaurant, facing the Yörük Motel on the main street. With its small, shady front terrace, it's great for people-watching. A three-course meal with a drink costs about US$4. Similarly priced is the popular Han Restaurant, facing the main square. The menu has many popular dishes like grills for US$4 to US$6.
Ünal Restaurant, below the square, has less of a view and simpler decor, but is sig-nificantly cheaper, with set-price meals for US$7 and US$9. Mustafa Restaurant, attached to the pension of the same name at the top of the hill near the main road, advertises vegetarian food.
For a drink, try Harem Restaurant & Bar, on Menderes Caddesi, with a good view of the foot traffic.
Places to Stay Pamukkale Hotels, Pamukkale Hotel Turkey
With the razing of the motels on top of the ridge, accommodation is now in Pamukkale town or in Karahayıt, the building site of choice for large hotels catering to the tour-group trade (see later in this section). At weekends you may find Pamukkale's pen-sions and motels full and be forced to seek accommodation in Denizli.
Prices vary greatly according to the sea-son, being highest in mid-summer. To avoid the crush - and find a bargain - come during the week, or very early on Friday or Satur-day, and preferably in spring or autumn, not high summer. Many of the village pensions and hotels stay open ali year, so a winter visit is also an option, provided you don't mind forgoing the pleasures of the swim-ming pools.
Places to Stay – Budget, Hotels And Pension Pamukkale
The town at the base of the ridge is filled with little family pensions, some more elab-orate and expensive than others. Many have swimming pools, often oddly shaped and filled with the calcium mineral water - cool by the time it gets there - and shady places to sit, read, sip tea or have a meal. If rooms are available, you'll have no problem fınding one, as pension owners will crowd around your bus as it arrives and flood you with offers. Those with rooms available after the initial onslaught will intercept you as you walk along the road into the village. If you have your heart set on somewhere specific you may have to be very determined to rid yourself of the touts.
Right at the entrance to town, just off the highvvay, is Mehmet Semerci's Hotel Konak Sade (258-272 2002, fax 272 2175), Pamukkale's first lodging place, opened more than 25 years ago. It's a mixture of newer rooms and some in an old village house decorated vvith Turkish carpets, kilims and copperware. The shady rear garden holds a small swimming pool surrounded by tables and chairs; the view of the travertines from here is the best around. The 32 simple rooms all have private baths. You pay US$40 a double with breakfast.
Across the road from the Konak Sade is Pension Mustafa (258-272 2240, fax 272 2830), with clean simple rooms, all with their own shower, for US$20 per person. Breakfast is another US$5 and a sizeable dinner costs US$8. Just a couple of doors along, and charging the same prices, is Şerif Bakan's Arkadaş Pansiyon (258-272 2183, fax 272 2589), vvith nine cosy rooms set around a shady courtyard. A new upstairs restaurant with travertine views should have opened by the time you read this.
A cluster of welcoming, family run pen-sions can be found at the junction of inönü Caddesi and Menderes Caddesi. The hon-eysuckle-scented Kervansaray Pension (258-272 2209, fax 272 2143), offers cheerful rooms with shower for US$25, a swimming pool, and a friendly family at-mosphere. İt's been a favourite for years and the new central heating system makes it a year-round possibility.
Very close to the Kervansaray is the friendly Aspawa Pansiyon (258-272 2094, fax 272 2631), which has beds for US$12 or US$15, a front pool and an upstairs restaurant. it, too, has central heating and opens all year round. Readers have also heartily recommended the Weisse Burg Pension (258-272 2064) which has eight ground-floor rooms, a small pool and a rooftop restaurant where Haçer's cooking is particularly warmly endorsed - she can cater for vegetarians if you ask. Rooms cost US$25, breakfast is US$6 and dinner will set you back US$9.
Hotel Turku (258-272 2181) is tucked away down a side street, near the Comman-do Disco. Clean rooms with private showers cost US$35 a double and meals in the dining room are said to be tasty. The pool is a little disappointing though.
As you come into town from Denizli there are several other pensions in a very quiet lo-cation. Readers have recommended Venüs Pension (258-272 2152), with spotless modern bedrooms on three floors for US$20 per person without breakfast. The pool here looks very inviting and you can eat out around it on sunny evenings. The Allgâu (258-272 2767), opposite, is owned by the same family but has its own pool.
Camping There are several camping grounds along the road between Denizli and Pamukkale, including Çankur Kamping (258-272 2784), attached to the Şafak Restaurant, as you come into Pamukkale from Denizli and Ege Camping nearby.
Places to Stay - Mid-Range
Pamukkale also has a few extremely inviting motels. One of the nicest is Rifat Dunnuş's Koray Motel (258-272 2300, fax 272 2095), an excellent choice with a pool set in a central courtyard surrounded by trees and plants - a romantic setting for evening meals. Well kept and friendly, it offers double rooms with shower and bath for US$25; for US$10 more you get breakfast and dinner as well. A new terrace restaurant was due to open at the time of writing. If you cali from Denizli otogar, a hotel car will pick you up, thereby avoiding the touts.
The 58 room Yörük Motel (fax 258-272 2073), a short walk down the hill in the village centre, is more inviting than its lobby initially suggests. Guest rooms are on two levels, surrounding a courtyard with swim-ming pool. The restaurant is often busy with tour groups. Rooms with shower, balcony and breakfast cost US$30/40 a single/double in summer. A couple of four-bedded rooms can be snapped up for US$50.
Hierapolis Pamukkale Turkey, Hierapolis Türkei
Hierapolis was a cure centre founded around 190 BC by Eumenes II, King of Pergamum, which prospered under the Romans and even more under the Byzantines. it had a large Jewish community and therefore an early Christian church. Earthquakes brought disas-ter a few times; after the one in 1334 the locals finally called it a day and moved away.
These days the primary reason for coming to Pamukkale should really be to explore the ruins of Hieropolis where Fiat is sponsoring ongoing excavations and restoration work. The ruins sprawl over a wide area within the national park. To inspect everything carefully could take the best part of a day, although most visitors settle for an hour or two.
The centre of Hierapolis may have been the sacred pool, now the swimming pool in the courtyard of the Pamukkale Motel (Hotel Hierapolis). If the motel is torn down as planned, the pool may again be visible as it was to the ancients, instead of being ringed with overpriced ice cream stands. The city's Roman baths, parts of which are now the Pamukkale Museum, are in front of the Pamukkale Motel. At the time of writing the museum was closed for restoration but opening hours used to be daily except Monday from 8.30 am to noon and 1.30 to 5 pm. Admission will probably be US$3 when it re-opens.
Near the museum stands a ruined Byzantine church and the foundations of a Temple of Apollo. As at Didyma and Delphi, the temple had an oracle attended by eunuch priests. The source of inspiration was an adjoining spring called the Plutonium, ded-icated appropriately to Pluto, god of the underworld. The spring gives off toxic vapours, lethal to all but the priests, who would demonstrate its powers to visitors by throwing small animals and birds in and watching them die.
To find the spring, walk up towards the Roman theatre but enter the first gate in the fence on the right, then follow the path down to the right about 30m. To the left and in front of the big, block-like temple is a small subterranean entry closed by a rusted grate and marked by a sign reading 'Tehlikelidir-Zehirli Gaz' (Dangerous - Poisonous Gas). If you listen, you can hear the gas bubbling up from the waters below. Note that the gas is stili deadly poisonous. Before the grate was installed there were several fatalities among those with more curiosity than sense.
The spectacular Roman theatre, capable of seating more than 12,000 spectators, was built in two stages by the emperors Hadrian and Septimius Severus. Much of the stage survives, along with some of the decorative panels and the front-row 'box' seats for VIPs. it was carefully restored by Italian stonecutters in the 1970s.
From the theatre take one of the rough tracks heading uphill and eventually you'll come to the extraordinary octagonal Mar-tyrium of St Philip, built on the site where it's believed that St Philip was martyred. The arches of the eight individual chapels are ali marked with crosses. Views from here are wonderful and you'll probably share them only with the goldfinches and skylarks.
If you hack across the hillside in a wester-ly direction, eventually you'll come to a completely ruinous Hellenistic theatre along unmarked goat tracks.
Standing beside the theatre and looking down you'll see the 2nd century agora, one of the largest ever discovered. On three sides it was surrounded by marble porticoes with Ionic columns, while the fourth side was closed off by a basilica.
Walk down the hill and through the agora, and you'll re-emerge on the main road along the top of the ridge. Turn right towards the northern exit and you'll come to the remains of the marvellous colonnaded Frontinus Street, stili with some of its paving and columns intact. once the city's main north-south commercial axis, this street was bounded at both ends by monumental arch-ways. The ruins of the Arch of Domitian, with its twin towers, are at the northern end, but just before them don't miss the surpris-ingly large latrine building, with two channels cut into its floor, one to carry away sevvage, the other for fresh water.
Beyond the Arch of Domitian you come first to the ruins of the Byzantine baths and then to the Appian Way of Hierapolis, an extraordinary necropolis (cemetery), ex-tending several kilometres to the north, with many striking, even stupendous, tombs in ali shapes and sizes. Look out in particular for a cluster of circular tombs, supposedly topped with phallic symbols in antiquity. Hierapolis was a health spa, but obviously the cure didn't work for everyone.
in late May or early June, the Pamukkale Festival brings spectators to Hierapolis' re-stored Roman theatre for musical and folkloric performances.
Pamukkale Turkey Information and Orientation
Hierapolis Pamukkale Turkey
Pamukkale Hotels, Motels And Pensions
Pamukkale Restaurant, Place To Eat
Getting There and Away Pamukkale Hierapolis
Pamukkale Pictures, Photo Gallery
Hierapolis Pictures, Photo Gallery
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.
At the centre of the historic city is the Roman harbour, now the yacht marina. Around it is the historic district called Kaleiçi (Within the Fortress) of Ottoman houses sprinkled with Roman ruins. Many of the graceful old houses have been restored and converted to restaurants, pensions and small hotels -some simple, some quite luxurious.
Around Kaleiçi, outside the Roman walls, is the commercial centre of the city. Antalya's central landmark and symbol is the Yivli Minare (yeev-LEE mee-nah-reh, Grooved Minaret), a monument from the Seljuk period which rises near the main square, called Kale Kapısı (Fortress Gate), marked by an ancient stone saat kulesi (clock tower). The broad plaza with the bombastic equestrian statue is Cumhuriyet Meydanı (Republic Square).
From Kale Kapısı, Cumhuriyet Caddesi goes west past the Tourism Information Office and Turkish Airlines office, then becomes Kenan Evren Bulvarı, which continues several kilometres to the Antalya Museum and Konyaaltı Plajı, a pebble beach 10km long, and now partly sullied by industrial development.
North-west from Kale Kapısı, Kazım Özalp Caddesi, formerly Şarampol Caddesi, is a pedestrian way. Antalya's small bazaar, which seems to be mostly jewellery shops, is east of Kazım Özalp Caddesi.
East from Kale Kapısı, Ali Çetinkaya Caddesi goes to the airport (10km), Perge, Aspendos, Side and beyond. Atatürk Caddesi goes south-east from Ali Çetinkaya Caddesi, skirting Kaleiçi through more of the commercial district to the large Karaali Parkı before heading for Lara beach (12km from the centre), lined with hotels and pensions.A çevreyolu (ring road or bypass) named Gazi Bulvarı carries long-distance traffic around the city centre. The big, modern Antalya Otogar (Yeni Garaj) is 4km north of the centre on the D650 highway to Burdur, Ankara and istanbul.
About Antalya Turkey, Antalya Tourism
Antalya is the chief city on Turkey's central Mediterranean coast, and though the city itself has a population of less than 400,000, the urban area may have as high as a million. Agriculture, shipping, light indus-try and tourism have made Antalya boom during the past few decades and this mostly modern Mediterranean city is stili growing at a fast pace.
Though always a busy port (trading to Crete, Cyprus and Egypt), Antalya has grovvn explosively since the 1960s because of the tourism boom. Its new US$75 million airport, the busiest on the Turkish Mediterranean, funnels travellers to the whole coast and beyond.
Rough pebble beaches (several kilometres from the centre to east and west) provide for the seaside crowd and the commercial centre provides necessities. Though Antalya has a historic Roman-Ottoman core, the ancient cities on its outskirts - Perge, Aspendos, Side, Termessos, Phaselis, Olimpos - offer more to see in the way of historic buildings. Antalya is a good base from which to visit them.
This area has been inhabited since the earli-est times. The oldest artefacts found in the Karain caves, 25km inland from Antalya, have been dated to the Palaeolithic period. Antalya as a city, however, is not as old as many other cities which once lined this coast but it is stili prospering while the older cities are dead.
Founded by Attalus II of Pergamum in the İst century BC, the city was named At-taleia after its founder. When the Pergamene kingdom was willed to Rome, Attaleia bec-ame a Roman city. Emperor Hadrian visited here in 130 AD and a triumphal arch (Hadri-yanüs Kapısı) was built in his honour.
The Byzantines took over from the Romans, in 1207 the Seljuk Turks based in Konya took the city from the Byzantines and gave Antalya a new version of its name, and also its symbol, the Yivli Minare. After the Mongols broke Seljuk power, Antalya was held for a while by the Turkish Hamidoğullan emirs. it was later taken by the Ottomans in 1391.During WWI the Allies made plans to divide up the Ottoman Empire and at the end of the war they parcelled it out. Italy got Antalya in 1918, but by 1921 Atatürk's armies had put an end to all such foreign holdings in Anatolia.