When you think of travel to Turkey, first what you imagine are sun and sea, and beach, and ice-cold drink in your hand. But actually "off-season" time is the great time to visit Turkey to see the inner country. To see crazy landscapes, to walk through wide streets of ancient cities, to have unique cures from the natural springs and to get enlightened in holy places.
Pamukkale have it all! What can be more crazy than a mountain covered with giant snow white cups with hot mineral water? And on top of this mountain you can see well preserved ruins of ancient city Hierapolis, which was one of the biggest cities of Phrygia in the days of glory. Moreover, there is the tomb of Saint Philip the Apostle.
The legend says.
Saint Philip, his sister Mariamna and the holy apostle Bartholomew preached in Phrygia. On their journey in Lycia and Phrygia many times the holy martyrs suffered from beatings and scourging by pagans, many times they were imprisoned. But their joy and trust in Christ did not weaken, so great was the power of the Lord that dwelt in them.
In Hierapolis the holy apostles healed and brought to the faith the wife of the proconsul Asia. Asia got mad and commanded to seize Philip and his companions. The holy people were crucified head down in the square of Hierapolis. Saint Philip died, and at this very moment an earthquake of terrible strength occurred. Suddenly the ground had opened and swallowed up a multitude of pagans, their priests and the proconsul himself. Full of fear citypeople rushed to Bartholomew and Mariamne, who were still alive. They removed them from the cross and asked to receive them to the Holy Church of Christ.
The body of St. Philip was buried with honor. Bishop of Hierapolis were appointed by Bartholomew and Mariamna, it was Stachia, whom the apostle Philip healed from blindness.
Tomb became a destination for pilgrimage. On the place of apostle's tomb was built a chapel and later the three-nave basilica was built around the tomb-chapel.
Hierapolis was founded by Greek colonists between the end of the third and the beginning of the second centuries BC. The place was chosen very well: on a plateau, mountains at the back, along the length of a fault filled with hot thermal water. And, of course, this place was full of evidence of miracles: white travertine, hot springs, a cave filled with CO2 and H2S gas vapors. Ideal for cult of pagan gods.
Three gods had temples: The luminous Apollo - the oracle god of music, fertility and purification, Black Goddess-Mother Cybele and Pluto - the god of the underworld and death, also known as Hades.
Pluto and Cybele were two bloodthirsty deities, and Apollo seemed to purify people after their orgies and bloody sacrifices. Pluton even had a gates to Hell in his temple - mentioned cave with poisonous gas. The rites were performed by the priests of Cybele.
It's terrible to imagine how many deaths these stones have seen.
No wonder that Hierapolis has one of the largest necropolis and you can see lots of sarcophagus. Some of them has been surrounded with travertine with time.
But they seemed like had fun as well. You can see well preserved theater.
They had developed canalization, wide streets and beautiful buildings.
All those views, snow white cups, tender warm healing waters... And, in my opinion, the natural creations here are much more significant than the man-made ones. And the way the nature was used here was simply awful.
But anyway, I am happy that those days are gone. Pamukkale is lovely, peaceful place. And let's back to nowadays.
Isn't it true miracle?
You can swim in Kleopatra pool. Water is 36-38 C round year. Summer time the pool is packed, but at the winter it is much more fun.
There is another town next to Pamukkale which you have to visit. It called Karahayit and its famous with hot springs and thermal hotels. There is large travertine instead of fountain right in the middle of the town. It looks very different from Pamukkale. The color of travertine is red, brown and orange because of iron enriched water. You can visit city park with red-cups filled with hot water and healing mud.
Difficult to say what is more impressive: white or red travertines. Both of it super fun.
Hot springs of Karahayit are +40 C. It cures rheumatism, nerves, skin problems, ladies delicate problems, stomach illnesses and so on. Water is drinkable and round year swimmable.
For staying in Karahayit I can recommend Doğa Termal Hotel.
It is one of the most interesting hotels I've ever seen. First of all it has a spaciouse swimming pool instead of inner hall. Most of the guests wandering around in white bathrobes and swimming caps. Great SPA: indoor mud bath, thermal pool, sauna ect. Great food, really bravo to the chief. But the best part is outdoor thermal pool with spherical pavilion, it looks phenomenal, it feels phenomenal. Oh, and all the doors in the hotel opens to the pool side. :))))