Saturday, December 04, 2010

Hierapolis Ruins and Travertines (Pamukkale, Turkey)

top: Hierapolis ruins; bottom: the Travertines

Believe it or not, the two photos above are taken at the same place! The bottom photo is not a snowscape; it's something else altogether.

Map of ancient Hierapolis.

And here it is. Hierapolis, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an ancient "spa" city built on top of hot springs.

Hierapolis Ruins

As was the usual during our trip to Turkey, we were walking about in these shadeless environs under the sun at its hottest.

Why, even our guide, who, while hiking at high noon never as much breaks a sweat, was perspiring!

Anyway, I digress. We started at the North gate entrance and worked our way to the South, walking on the main street.

That's all Greek to me!

According to our guide, the city started out Hellenistic, but was later a Roman city.

Hierapolis is also known for having a large necropolis ("cemetery", to put it simply).

This structure housed the baths, but was later converted to a basilica (church).

Passing through the Frontinus Gate. Look up!TS:
We passed through this gate...


...and arrived at the latrines!

Our guide told us that rich citizens would have their slaves warm the latrine seats for them (by sitting on the seats first).

The group was supposed to walk to the amphitheatre.

But it was still a ways away. By this point, I was completely drained by the heat. I had been a good sport all this while, but I literally felt as if the sun was cooking the right side of my face. Its rays were like lasers!

(Being slightly sun-averse, I had of course already taken care to wear a long-sleeved shirt over my T-shirt and long pants. I also had a hat, but its brim was not large enough to cover my face.)

I had to stop and cool off. So, as other members of the group trudged on to the amphitheatre, JS and I, and one of our cousins, g2, went to the "Antique Pool" to cool off.

Antique Pool

We did not go into the pool, but had to buy overpriced bottles of water so we could sit at a table.

I had to hold the bottle of water onto my face to cool it down(!), much like shocking vegetables in an ice bath after boiling them. ;)

These pools are supposed to have beneficial qualities... but, well, ugh. The whole area was so crowded and the pools so overfilled with people that I felt any benefits may have been negated by the throngs of people. There was also quite an alarming number of Speedo-clad males walking about here.

After a bit, the rest of the group came back from the amphitheatre. It was time to go to the Travertines.

The Travertines

We were there.

Pretty, eh?

These travertine terraces are calcium carbonate deposits left by the hot springs in the area.

Apparently, just decades before, one could actually bathe in pools in the travertine terraces. But, a miscalculation made in an effort to boost tourism resulted in the pools drying up.

The whiteness of it all is still a sight to see, though.

Rough, painful rock.

In order to preserve the terraces, shoes are not allowed. But, do you see the surface of that rock? Those jagged surfaces were extremely uncomfortable! Painful, actually.

There were also a lot of "silt" in the pools. (I don't know if it is still called "silt" in this context.) So, if one is not expecting them and is not careful, one could very likely slip.

After having enough pain in our soles, we walked out of the travertines. However, there were no faucets or similar facilities for one to rinse one's feet! ("No exit strategy", as JS called it.)

I remembered that I had some wipes from the restaurant we went to for lunch that day. Teras Restaurant came to the rescue! I wiped my soles and it was back to the minibus/van.

For more information:
Wikipedia: Hierapolis
Wikipedia: Pamukkale
Turkey Travel Planner: Hierapolis, Pamukkale, Turkey
Turkey Travel Planner: Travertines at Pamukkale, Turkey
Turkey Travel Planner: Sacred Pool, Pamukkale, Turkey

eatingclub vancouver in Turkey (September 2010)
Sultanahmet Camii (Blue Mosque) (Istanbul, Turkey)
Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia) (Istanbul, Turkey)
Topkapı Sarayı (Palace) Museum (Istanbul, Turkey)
Turkey Flora
Hierapolis Ruins and Travertines (Pamukkale, Turkey)
Güray Pottery (Avanos, Turkey)

For Turkish dishes:
Turkey (the country, not the fowl)
Turkish Çay (Tea)

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