Pamukkale: A Natural Wonder in Turkey to Explore Before It’s Too Late

Turkey’s natural wonder

Turkey is rich in historic and cultural heritages as you might come across a few of the Best Historical Treasures in Turkey’s Aegean Region. It has some wonderful natural wonders, too. The first place that comes to mind could be Cappadocia, and there are so many Wonderful Things to See and Do in Cappadocia. Another hot location that you should know is Pamukkale, also known as the Cotton Castle.

Vanishing places in the world to visit before it’s too late

Many beautiful places in the world are disappearing due to pollution, depletion, deterioration, or disasters. For me, I have kept a list of “Places to see before they are gone” on my computer – kind of a bucket list reminding me to visit these places before they are gone!

Some places’ disappearances may not seem imminent, but you’d never know if they would vanish faster than everyone thinks!

The incredible Taj Mahal

Same as the Maldives, one of the smallest Asian countries in population and land area, as well as the world’s lowest nation, is sinking by the causes of rising sea levels and coral bleaching. The Great Barrier Reef, formed 8000 years ago, is expected to remain in less than 100 years due to climate change, serious water pollution, and ocean acidification. Venice is sinking as well… flooding is getting more severe over time, and it will vanish in less than 70 years.

Pollution not only raises the sea level but also melts ice. Glacier National Park and the Alps will disappear due to ice loss in less than 40 years.

Even man-made attractions like the Taj Mahal may be closed to the public due to air pollution and mass tourism. So is Machu Picchu, a lost city in Peru.

Something about Pamukkale

Travertine Terrace is one of the most unique and recognizable geological formations on Earth. The white, circular-shaped limestone is usually lined up layer by layer; they look like a marshmallow, but, in fact, these are hard rocks. Travertine Terrace in Pamukkale – or the “Cotton Castle”, is one of the most iconic tourist spots in Turkey. Sadly, it is also vanishing due to mass tourism and overdevelopment. As a recognizable landmark of the country, tourists, sunbathers, and hot-spring goers could visit this natural wonder and dip into the water as they please. Remember, visitors are required to take off their shoes while walking on the Terrace. Bring a backpack with you to carry your shoes and a towel to dry off after a day of fun!

Pamukkale 2

Things you may not know about Pamukkale

The geological phenomenon is located in a town in western Turkey. It was next to Hierapolis, an ancient Roman spa city founded in 190 BC. Check out the ruins they contain a pristine theatre and a necropolis with tombs that expanse for two kilometers. With such a unique combination of natural and man-made wonders, it’s no way to miss that as you are on a tour of the country.

It is named the “Cotton Castle”, but in fact, the natural wonder is covered by limestone.

There is something that you may not know about the site. The site is 100 meters high and it can be seen from the nearby town, Denizli.

The source of the water was a hot spring, which could be as high as a hundred degrees.

The name “Cotton Castle” is, in fact, a literal translation of its Turkish name. It was called the cotton castle as the white terraces have an incredible resemblance to the cotton plantations that were cultivated in the central region of Turkey.

The infamous Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra, swam in the sacred pools in Pamukkale. There are 17 hot springs in the area and not all of them are now open to the public. They are on rotation to avoid mass tourism. Yeah, the attraction welcomes two million visitors annually, and it is the most single-visited attraction in Turkey. Together with Hierapolis, it was named a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1988.

Why Pamukkale is vanishing

As I was walking on the Pamukkale, I realized that the area was overdeveloped with hotels and spas, and it was quite crowded with so many tourists stepping on the rocks – they take baths with chemicals such as shower gel and sunscreen polluting the water; what’s worse, motorbikes were running up and down the hill.

The overcrowding had the hotel bring in alternative water sources and it kept diluting the natural water sources, making the situation worse.

The areas where tourists are allowed to step in somehow turned grey because of that. Luckily, now the authorities are trying to make things better and some of the pools are now closed to the public, we could still look at them, while it’s cleared from the human touch to give room for the pools to recover.

Part of the site is shut down from tourists, while we could take pictures of it, we couldn’t step in there – giving them the room to recover.

Things you have to bring

There are a few things you may bring while you visit Pamukkale.

  • Cinch sack or Tote – a lightweight bag to put everything in, your camera, personal items, towels, and the shoes that you will be taking off.
  • Bathing Suit – the pools are open areas, and visitors can have a dip if they wanted to. Some of the pools are warm, some are cold. You will be sitting in the pool while other tourists walk past. Even it has the name “cotton castle”, the terraces are rough sand and rocks that you will have to walk carefully with bare feet.
  • Towel
  • Water – It is actually quite a hike to walk down the terrace and keep your water handy.
  • Reef Safe Sunscreen – There is no shade in Pamukkale, and it could be sunny during the day. Not to mention the reflection from the light that you will be getting from the shiny white rocks. Be prepared and you will need sunscreen for your visit.

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