Turkey Pamukkale 2001.03.31 - 04.01

Travertine Terraces

In 1992, we saw a poster of the Pamukkale Travertine Terraces at a Turkish restaurant in Tokyo. Ever since that day, Masami wanted to visit Turkey. Naturally, a stop in Pamukkale was a must.

From Selçuk, Pamukkale is 3 hours by bus. Many people visit Pamukkale as a day trip from a larger town like Selçuk or İzmir, but we wanted more time. Regular buses run between Selçuk and Denizli. From Denizli, dolmuşes run to Pamukkale for 300,000 TKL (20 minutes). Beware of ticket sales by bus companies in Selçuk. They sell "direct" bus service from Selçuk to Pamukkale for 1 million TKL above the fare to Denizli. Actually, there are no direct services to Pamukkale. Depending on the forcefulness of your threats, the bus company will dump you in Denizli and pocket the Pamukkale "direct" surcharge or pay a dolumş 300,000 TKL to carry you the remainder of the way. Wes was forceful enough. He threatened to delay the bus until the matter was sorted, so we reached Pamukkale without double-paying for the dolmuş. After the fact, we leaned that in Selçuk, it's best to buy a ticket to Denizli and pay the dolmuş to Pamkkale separately. Next time.

Years ago, the travertine terraces became discolored when hotel owners directed the mineral water away from their natural flow and into hotel baths. Those hotels have since been demolished and the terraces gradually restored, but we prepared ourselves for disappointment. Pamukkale is probably similar to the yellowish-brown terraces in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA, we thought. Wrong. Pamukkale is beyond words. The enormity of the calcium deposits is mind boggling. It's literally a mountain of white. It's unique in the world. Don't miss it.

The amount of water flow was limited when we visited. Nevertheless, where the water flowed was absolutely gorgeous. Visitors are permitted to wade through the milky-blue water in the lowest terrace. Standing in the pool, the water temperature is lukewarm and the ground is squishy like soft clay. A majority of the white surfaces, however, are hard and jagged making barefoot walking rather painful.

Looking down on the travertine terraces from above. The lowest milky-blue pool pictured can be entered. The others are off limits.

Wes is delighted with the warmth of the water and squishy feeling between his toes. A mountain of calcium rises in the background.

Masami walks up the designated pathway. Only barefoot passage is permitted. The warm mineral water flowing over the hard calcium surface gradually rises in temperature as we climb higher.

Above the Travertine Terraces are Roman ruins like this Hellenistic theater.

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