However you say it, it's beautiful.
I know you're just here for the pictures, but for those of you that are actually going to go here, here's some tips. Then the pic explosion.
1. Take the minibus from Denizli Otogar. The train station is right near there too. We chose a hotel next to the bus station so we could walk from the train and bus station. It was perfect. The minibuses leave from the bottom level, Peron 76 (Gate 76). The buses are comfy, seat about 15, and take about 20 minutes to get to Pamukkale.
2. You'll see the white hill as you're getting close, but it will disappear as the minibus cuts into the town to the bus station. Keep your bearings straight so you know which way to head when you get out.
3. The bus will drop you off in the middle of nowhere. Take note of buildings or street signs, because that's where it will pick you back up. Walk towards where you think the white hills are.
4. Eventually you'll see them. Walk toward them.
5. You'll run into the Natural Pools of Pamukkale. That's not where you're going, but you want to walk through them to the right. -->
6. You buy your ticket at the base of the hill and start walking up the gravel path.
7. About 2 minutes up the path, you reach the white part of the mountain. You have to take your shoes off. The pools are only a few inches to about a foot deep. So you can wade anywhere you want. (Well, anywhere that's not off limits. They keep you on a pretty straight line.)
8. The tour buses let out at the top, so the top pools are much busier (and not as pretty) as the pools in the middle.
9. There are no facilities along the hill. Once you get to the top (Hierapolis), walk along the main road past the museum to the big building in front of you. That's Cleopatra's Pool, and changing rooms, bathrooms, lockers, restaurants, and anything else you need is there.
10. Your ticket includes the travertines (the infinity pools) and access to all of Hierapolis. Swimming in Cleopatra's Pool is not included (30 TL per person), and honestly, doesn't look worth it. We passed. The museum is only 5 TL and that was ok. These are from the museum, which used to be a Roman Bath.
11. Stay for sunset. It's AH. MAZE. ING.
12. We caught a minibus after dark. Not sure when the last one is. You'll be fine.
Ok, now for the pictures. With some commentary. :)
In Turkish, Pamukkale literally means "Cotton Castle." Fun, huh?
We were fascinated that such a place even exists. So here's what's going on. This superheated water comes up from somewhere in the earth's crust and it picks up calcium carbonate along the way. When it hits the surface, the water cools and deposits the calcium carbonate as it flows down the mountain.
Some of it is hard as rock (I think it technically is rock, actually). Some of it is like clay and mushy.
It naturally forms walls, pools, and rivers as it flows down the mountain. Although since it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site, they've been manually rerouting the rivers to give various parts of the mountain a break from foot traffic. So some older pools are dry now. And they've created new ones. I suppose it will be different every time you go, which is kind of appealing.
The view from the top over the valley and pools below is nice...
But the view from the infinity pools is ridiculous.
We just couldn't get over the color and contrast between the white walls and the blue water. We took a LOT of pictures.
Ok, let's break from the pools for a minute and head up to Hierapolis (we'll come back to the pools for sunset). :)
Our first stop was the "Church with Pillars." I was happy as a clam climbing all over everything - for it being a world heritage site, that's not usual.
Isa was tired...
Our next stop was the theatre, which was even cooler than the massive theatre in Ephesus yesterday.
This one was smaller, but the stage facade was definitely cooler.
Then we stopped at Cleopatra's pool, decided against the 30 TL entry fee, and hit up the museum, and then went back to the pools to relax. That lasted about 20 minutes and then we went back to Cleopatra's to change into our bathing suits.
Then I took a nap.
By the way, those walls are massive.
All over the place, these Russian and Ukrainian women take glamour shots. It's funny to watch them.
This is Isa's best shot at impersonating them.
As the sun sets, it lights up the walls and the whole mountain gets prettier and prettier.
Today was a great day. One of our best days.