On our visit to Pamukkale/Hierapolis, we entered at the northern end of the site so we could walk through the archaeological zone of the old Roman city of Hierapolis before encountering the very busy zone of Pamukkale tourism. The white travertine slopes of Pamukkale are indeed very unusual and very beautiful. It is a place where great photos are available in all directions.
Whether you are at the top of the mountain or in the village down below, the views are spectacular. On the first morning of our visit, I was able to be up at dawn and go for a stroll around the base of the mountain and take in the sights of Pamukkale mountain as the sun came up. It is a great memory from the trip.
When we had finished our walk along the mountain through the archaeological zone, the path took us off in the direction of the slopes. We were able to take in the views as well as take our shoes off and go for a short walk onto the travertine and check out the temperature of the pools of water on the slopes. It was a very interesting walk but not one that kept us absorbed for too long. We were starting to look forward to our lunch and our afternoon trip to the neighbouring ancient city of Laodocia.
I would argue that a visit to this area is made more relevant when the tourist gets a sense of the history of the mountain and its geological makeup. Visiting Hierapolis itself gives a great insight into the impact on the people of Anatolia of the thermal waters that bubbled up at this site over the centuries. It gives a fascinating back story to this popular tourist resort in the 21st century. However, if the impact of the visitors requires constant upkeep of the travertine pools (see image left), then you would have to wonder whether the guardians of the site need to monitor the levels of tourism on the fragile ecology of the mountain.
When I research a place we visit on our trips, I like to check out other blogs to ensure I don’t miss any of the key places of interest to look out for. I found that one of these blogs was a little more critical of Pamukkale than I was.
“So, is it worth visiting Turkey’s Cotton Castle? To be candid, Pamukkale is the only place in Turkey that I was itching to get away from, and it all comes down to the ridiculous crowds of people. I came to Pamukkale to see the beautiful terraced pools – I wasn’t exactly looking to have my eyes assaulted at 9 in the morning by butt cracks and barely-covered crotches. There’s really not much the authorities can do: the staff do the best they can with limited resources, and visitors simply ignore their instructions or wait until they’re not looking to climb on blocked off sections of the travertines.” (https://www.yogawinetravel.com)
The blogger also decided that future tourists need some guidance when coming to Pammukale…
- Stick to the visitor path and don’t climb on the travertines – follow the rules!
- Leave no trace – take your trash away with you when you leave.
- Be respectful and follow directions from the staff.
- Bring a bag to carry your shoes in as you must walk barefoot across the Pamukkale travertine terraces.
- Don’t blast music and scream and shout when you’re visiting.
- Dress appropriately – don’t walk between the various landmarks in your banana hammocks (speedos) and bikinis.
There you have it. Let’s hope that future tourists to Pamukkale will not only come with respect for the site they are visiting but a belief in respecting the rights of the other tourists they share the day with.