One dose of Cotton Castle – Turkey Part V
Pamukkale, which means ‘Cotton Castle’ in Turkish, is known as the 8th wonder of the world by Turkish people. It’s an UNESCO site visited by tourists from around the world for its post-card beauty and its believed healing powers.
From a far it looks like a perfectly sugar coated mountain. Getting closer you can make out the jutting calcium terraces shaped like water lilies, others like scallop-shell bathtubs and the simplest ones resembling bleached rice terraces. It is the largest and finest example of elaborate calcium formation in the world.
Over thousands of years, the water which flows down the cliff of Pamukkale has carved this fantastic formation of stalactites and basins. The mineral-rich Pamukkale hot spring waters are high in calcium, magnesium sulfate and bicarbonate. They also contain carbon dioxide and are thought to contain radioactive content.
What month are we in again? I wondered as I watched visitors splash about the baths at the end of December. The time of year wouldn’t faze us in the slightest as we would take full advantage of the chance to get out of our three-month-old clothing. Really, it’s just like being in one really cool communal hot-tub. Water temperatures vary between 35-38 degrees Celsius.
According to ancient tradition, the rick mineral waters within the pools are said to be advantageous in treating various ailments, like high blood pressure and arthritis, and attracting people from all over the world. The water of Pamukkale is especially famous for its benefit to the eyes and skin. Its curing properties are also thought to heal the symptoms of asthma, rheumatism and neurological, gynaecological, nutritional and digestive maladies as well. Reading the long list of healing powers I can’t help but think – Doctor/Patient prescription papers in Turkey probably read: One dose of Cotton Castle.
Unfortunately, but understandably, visitors are no longer allowed to walk on the terraces in order to preserve the natural site. To the ancient civilizations such beauty could only mean that the place was sacred to the gods. Once you make the barefoot climb to the top of Pamukkale, you can explore the ruins of Hierapolis that sit a top the natural wonder. Hierapolis was named after Hiera, the wife of Telephos, founder of Pergamum in mythology.