Spa town in Turkey
Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a natural site in Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey. The area is famous for its hot springs and enormous white terraces of travertine, a carbonate mineral left by the flowing water. It is located in Turkey's Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which has a temperate climate for most of the year.
Pamukkale travertine terraces is one of the top tourist attractions in Turkey. Every year over 1.5 million tourists visit this paradise. It is often referred as the 8th Wonder of World and once you get to Pamukkale, you will understand the reason behind that. It is a spectacular sight that looks made out of snow or cotton. The literal meaning of Pamukkale in Turkish is “Cotton Castle”. Pamukkale terraces is right next to ancient Roman city Hierapolis and it used to be health center in ancient times. It is still visited for both travel and health purposes.
Travertines and Hierapolis
There are three entry gates, one at the bottom of the travertines and two at the top. A shuttle will take you between gates for 2 TL. Entry to Hierapolis and the travertines is a single ticket that costs 35 TL (August 2016). Entrance is from 08:00 - 21:00 daily.
The travertine terraces above Pamukkale and below the ancient city of Hierapolis are a UNESCO World Heritage site. This "Cotton Castle" is accessed via a gate near Pamukkale, and the walk up takes about 30 minutes and offers numerous opportunities to soak in pools that are generally no more than a foot deep. 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.
At the top of the travertines lies the ancient Roman city of Hierapolis. The ruins of the city sprawl over a large area, but sites are well-marked and there are trails that can be easily followed. The 12,000-seat amphitheater is in excellent condition and is a highlight, as are the town gates and main road. In addition, the town is home to the Martyrium of St. Phillip, a pilgrimage site that is supposedly the site where the apostle Philip was martyred and buried. The church at the site is in ruins, but its foundations reveal an unusual octagonal plan.
You can soak in the antique pool for an extra fee (32 TL combination ticket with the travertines and Heiroplolis), it's a hot spring pool that still has sections of the original marble columns in it. Additionally, the museum is housed in the former Roman baths and can be visited for an additiona 5 TL (opening hours Tu-Su 08:00-17:00). It contains three rooms housing some of the artifacts found during excavations of Hierapolis, including sarcophagi.