Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pamukkale & Hierapolis

Photo by Omer -- group shot at Pamukkale, hidden gem of Turkey.

On Sunday, November 22nd, Alex and I had the privilege to visit the beautiful natural wonder, Pamukkale located in the Denizli province. Wikipedia says that Pamukkale means “cotton candy”; however my friends—our graduate students—explained to us that this is not necessarily the correct translation. “We don’t translate English names of places, why do they try to translate Turkish names of places?” said our friend Burak during our car ride.

Omer, Yasir, Burak, Alex, and I rented a car for our trip to Pamukkale. We left at 9am and arrived to the destination around 2pm with a pit stop for lunch. Our friends Muahmmet and Burak are from Denizli and welcomed us to their home city. Muhammet was visiting home for the weekend, so he met us near his hometown. We met his parents, transferred over to a van, and drove the remainder of the 1 hour trip.

When we got there….it was indescribable!  I feel as though it is becoming a pattern not to be able to describe some of the natural wonders that I am experiencing here in Turkey. While that is true, believe me when I say that this place is like no other. Pamukkale is its own hidden gem.

Pamukkale is a natural wonder like no other. The calcium and other minerals found within the spring waters make the natural wonder white—it looks like snow, but it isn't snow. While walking on it, it felt as though I was climbing a snow mountain. We had to take our shoes off to climb the whole thing, which took about 30-60 minutes (since we stopped so often to take photos). The water was lukewarm, perfect for dipping our feet in it. Upon reaching the top of this wonder, we explored the ancient Roman city of Hierapolis, which now lies in ruins, much like all the other ruined cities I have visited (Perge, Side). My friends and I spent the late afternoon at an amphitheater until the beautiful sunset.

Photo by Yasir; Roman amphitheater in the ruined city of Heiropolis.

We had dinner with one of Yasir’s former colleagues who treated us all to a tavuk doner (chicken wrap). We drove back in our rented car and arrived home around 11pm. I am so grateful to our graduate students for accompanying us on this enjoyable trip and showing us a part of Turkey that I will forever cherish.

Check out this video from the amphitheater in Hierapolis, city located atop Pamukkale.

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