We loved Antalya, and perhaps could have stayed at least a few days longer but we had a bus to catch to Pamukkale! There were a few options to get into this rather isolated city, and we chose to catch a ‘Metro Bus’. Well let me tell you that was one of the best choices we made. So much so that as I write this days later, I look forward to my next Metro bus trip! I’m talking about sitting in a comfy air-conditioned bus with a guy walking up and down the aisle with snacks and refreshments. Oh and there was even free wifi! Anyway, I digress.
Pamukkale is a small town that thrives off the tourism that its natural calcium pools provide. These pools are extremely unique, formed by the build-up of calcium sediment over time. It’s the kind of city where you arrive and ask the first person walking by where your hotel is and he replies – “oh that is owned by one of my relatives, I’ll phone him and get him to pick you up now!” Just our luck! We decided to explore the main attractions the following day, and instead relaxed around the pool at our hotel Bellamaritimo. I will just say that this hotel was just what we wanted. It was fresh and new, and had a great restaurant in the pool area. They only had one menu option which I think was great as the ingredients were always fresh. So fresh in fact that we observed a young boy sprint to his bicycle, and peddle away at the speed of light to go and get some extra ingredients. Mark and Luke ordered a bottle of wine later, and he was on his bike again!
The swimming pool was really nice as the hotel had tapped into the natural mineral water supply. This meant that it was a cloudy colour due to the calcium, but apparently they didn’t need to add any chemicals or salt to maintain it!
Due to the history of the region, we decided to do a tour so that we could learn a bit more about Pamukkale. Our guide was very interesting and we learnt some random things like why people say “touch wood” as well as why pirates wear earrings..? The wealthy have been coming to the pools of Pamukkale for centuries, and is basically a last resort for people looking for an answer to their respective incurable disease. They say cleopatra herself even came here hoping that the unusual mineral water would have healing powers.
First stop was at the hot mineral springs!
We then walked through a necropolis, where wealthy families chose to bury their loved ones using elaborate tombstones and shrines.
The wealthier the family, the more elaborate the shrine, where we observed the ‘Medusa head’ on a lot of them. Also, you could notice the materials used on the larger tombs were marble, rather than limestone. During the reign of the Ottoman Empire, the guide explained that often people would be buried with their jewelery on for religious purposes. They used the Medusa head as a deterrent to thieves that would dig up the grave and steal the jewelery. This may have worked – if everyone believed in the same superstitions/religion!
We explored the most famous ampitheatre in Turkey, with the capacity of hosting over 50,000 people. Apparently they hosted the semi-finals of Eurovision recently. It reminded me of the Colosseum a little bit, and there were spectacular views!
It was now that we reached the mineral pools of Pamukkale! They actually control the water flow to minimise erosion and destruction of the pools. Here we are lazing around 🙂
Here we are at the top of the pools, looking over the small town of Pamukkale.
Pamukkale was a short, but really enjoyable detour on the way to our next destination – Bodrum. I will admit that the amount of tourists detracted from our enjoyment in the pools, however it was truly unique – I have never seen anywhere like Pamukkale! If i were to come again i would make sure i came to enjoy the sunset, as i hear it is beautiful from up there!