If you like ancient ruins and natural wonders of the world, you will have loads of fun with these fun activities in Pamukkale. The city of Pamukkale is home to one of Turkey’s most popular tourist attractions – the dazzling white travertine terraces of Pamukkale. Lets start to read 14 Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Pamukkale.
Pamukkale is a surreal natural wonder of semi-circular pure white travertines set amongst green fields. This white mountain is one of the most photogenic places in Turkey and one of the country’s most famous landmarks. For many visitors, it is a must-see on their trips to Turkey.
Though most travelers come here just for the travertines, Pamukkale is actually a two-in-one attraction. The ruins of the Roman spa town of Hierapolis are located on the top of the travertine mountain. Here, in addition to the preserved ruins of a theater and other great monuments, you will find the famous thermal baths, where you can bathe your pain like the Romans did.
Thankfully, the travertines have recovered and are sparkling white again. If you are looking for Pamukkale reviews, this Pamukkale blog post is for you! Not only do we list the best Pamukkale places and top Pamukkale tourist spots, but we also include some essential Pamukkale tips to help you get the most out of your trip. So if you are wondering what to see in Pamukkale, read our Pamukkale travel blog.
The ancient city of Hierapolis, also known as the “Holy City,” was a spa town built by the Romans. It was built around the world famous hot water spring Pamukkale (“cotton castle” in Turkish).
The city is located 18 kilometers north of Denizli in south-west Turkey. The city of Pamukkale is now the city center for tourism centered around the natural springs and ancient ruins of Hierapolis.
Often considered the eighth wonder of the world, Pamukkale has also been a World Heritage Site since 1988.
Well it’s a natural spa in the Menderes Valley. The carbonate minerals left behind by the running water make for an incredibly relaxing natural bath. Many weary travelers have journeyed through Hierapolis for many thousands of years to experience the wonders of this natural beauty and reap the health benefits.
When you first see this geological phenomenon, just stand back and stare. How can that be natural? Man must have contributed to it. The answer is no!
How did this great miracle come about? There are many hot springs in this area, around 17 to be precise. When the water from the hot springs comes to the surface, it gets to the travertine. wait, travertine?
Travertines are a type of limestone formed with the minerals from the hot spring water. The calcium from the hot spring cools as it reaches the surface and when it mixes with the ground, travertines are formed. Travertine is a strong material and did you know it was used in construction? The Romans used travertine to build St. Peter’s Basilica and Square in Vatican City!
Discover more attractions with our list of top tourist attractions in Pamukkale.
Pamukkale’s dazzling white calcite cliff was created by calcium deposits from the region’s hot springs. Just as stalactites form in limestone caves, the deposits grow on the steep slopes and gradually fan out to form natural terraces. Pamukkale means ‘cotton castle’ and the dazzling white color of these travertines looks like a bizarre natural fortress.
The best way to see your sights here is to walk (barefoot only) from the foot of Calcite Mountain up the entire cliff ridge. On the terraces on the upper floors there are pools of water where you can sit.
Hierapolis was founded shortly after 190 BC. Founded by King Eumenes II of Pergamon, it was originally a fortified military colony. The original city was destroyed by an earthquake in AD 60 and after rebuilding, its glory days began.
The city experienced its greatest prosperity in the 2nd and 3rd centuries when it became an important spa center with its natural hot springs. The remains of a large colonnaded street run just over a kilometer parallel to the travertines below, stretching between the necropolis on the north and a Byzantine church on the southern end.
Taking the east path from the church will take you to the Temple of Apollo and its famous Plutonium (a cave beneath the temple that was a source of poisonous gas). Here the priests consulted the oracle and brought in birds and small animals that were killed by the rising gas.
Not much left from today either. East of the remains of the agora is the octagonal Martyrdom of Philip the Apostle, built on the spot where the saint and his children are said to have been martyred after demonstrating to the pagan worshipers of Hierapolis.
On a slope above the rest of the ruins of Hierapolis is the mighty theater with its facade over 100 meters long and two tiers of seats, each with 26 rows.
Built during the reigns of the Roman Emperors Hadrian and Septimius Severus , the theater is incredibly well preserved. It has retained much of its original detail, with the imperial boxes (where VIP guests would have seen the entertainment) and some decorative panels along the stage still remaining. You have a beautiful view from the upper rows of seats.
If you want to take part in a relaxing hot pool bath like the Romans did – but without the togas – then you’ve come to the right place. At Pamukkale’s Ancient Pool (next to the Temple of Apollo), you can soothe weary travel muscles in mineral-rich hot spring waters maintained at a constant 36 degrees Celsius.
It’s probably the most atmospheric hot springs experience you’ll ever have, with half-submerged pillars and chunks of fallen marble strewn in the water all around you.
This small but excellent museum dedicated to Hierapolis is housed in the ancient city’s former Roman bathhouse. A visit here will help bring the city to life. Displaying some of the fine art and heritage of this once important city, the exhibits showcase a variety of finds from the site, including beautiful and intricate stone carvings, sarcophagi and statues.
The museum also has a decent collection of statues from the nearby archaeological site of Aphrodisias.
Pamukkale (Cotton Castle) was originally just the name of this 11th or 12th-century castle, which lies just off the road leading from the town of Pamukkale to the Hierapolis Plateau. Most tourists don’t bother coming here, so this is a great opportunity to get away from the crowds of tour buses for a while.
If you visit you will be rewarded with a magnificent view over the travertines from the castle ruins, which are worth the detour. Sunset is the best time to come as the changing light illuminates the travertine terraces.
Beautiful Laodicea, about 12 kilometers south of Pamukkale, was once the home of Cicero. This Roman trading center was a bustling city of industry, medicine and commerce. When Christianity began to replace the earlier pagan religions, a large number of Christians and Jews lived here. The ruins, while sparse, are very photogenic and there is an interesting mix of remains from the temples and theaters of early Roman settlement to the later Christian early Byzantine era.
It’s a bit off the normal Pamukkale itinerary (which usually just visits the Terraces and Hierapolis). So if you have this on your to-do list, chances are you’ll have the entire site to yourself.
Modern research has transformed Aphrodisias from a place few have visited to one of the most important historical sites in Turkey. About 97 kilometers southwest of Pamukkale, Chalcolithic finds have been made at the site, showing that the area was inhabited in the 4th millennium BC. BC was settled. Early Bronze Age pottery finds also indicate that there was an Assyrian trading colony here during the Hittite period.
However, the golden age of the settlement was in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, when its sanctuary became the center of the widespread cult of Aphrodite and the city also became famous for its schools of sculpture, medicine and philosophy.
The Temple of Aphrodite was built around 100 BC. 400 BC and still has 14 standing columns (two with architraves). In the 5th century, the Byzantines converted this pagan temple into a three-aisled basilica.
To the north is the huge and well-preserved stadium, which can seat 30,000 spectators. To the south of the temple is the Bouleuterion, decorated with reliefs and statues, the site’s best-preserved monument.
Caravanserais (roadside inns, also known as hans) dot the plains of the Pamukkale region, a relic of when this area was part of an important trade route to central Anatolia.
On the way from Denizli to Dinar stands the Akhan, a Seljuk caravanserai founded by Emir Karasungur in 1253. It has an east facade with marble cladding, an arcaded courtyard, and a three-aisled winter hall.
Near the town of Çardak, 55 kilometers east of Denizli lies the Çardakhani. This Seljuk caravanserai has two massive towers and an inscription flanked by two lions above the portal. It was donated by General Rasideddin Iyaz in 1230.
The archaeological site of Beycesultan Tepesi (10 kilometers south of the provincial town of Çivril) was first excavated by Lloyd and Mellaart in the 1950s and is an important prehistoric settlement. For the Stone Age alone, 21 layers have been found within 11 meters of the sediment.
Evidence of habitation has been found here up to the early Bronze Age (1250 BC) and again from 400 years later up to the Byzantine era. In layer V (1900 BC) the remains of a palace were found, and in the Bronze Age layers traces of a shrine with sacrificial vessels, a blood altar and statuettes of the goddess Cybele were discovered. Çivril is about 103 kilometers northeast of Pamukkale.
These scorching mineral-rich hot springs (temperatures up to 55 degrees Celsius) gush from the chalk-covered rocks just five kilometers from Pamukkale. The presence of various oxides (including iron oxide) in the water has stained the springs’ calcium carbonate with a variety of colors.
Below the springs is a small bathing pool where you can soak to your heart’s content. This is a great place to soothe weary travel muscles and take a break from the road for an hour or two.
This is one for the keen amateur archaeologist. The scant remains of the once great Phrygian city of Colossae (also known as Kolossai) lie in the Lykos Valley near the Lykos River, 20 kilometers east of Denizli. Its great age was during the Hellenistic period.
When the Romans took control of the region, it was increasingly overshadowed in importance by the cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis, and the city eventually lost its importance. Nevertheless, the name of the city remained known here due to Paul’s letter to the Christian community. There isn’t much to see but the views across the rolling fields to the mountains beyond are lovely.
The town of Sarayköy, on the western edge of the Hierapolis Valley, about 25 kilometers west of Pamukkale, is probably the ancient Karura (or Kyorara) that lies on the border between Phrygia and Cara. It was known for its hot springs and Herophilian Medical School. Herophilus was a 4th-century BC physician who was considered the most important physician of antiquity after Hippocrates.
If you have a car, it’s easy to include Saraykoy in a loop of sights and attractions around Pamukkale – including Laodikeia, Aphrodisias and Colossae in the same trip.
Everyone passes Denizli on their way to Pamukkale, but few stop here. This thoroughly modern city is the provincial capital and grew into a bustling center in the 14th century. The great medieval Arab traveler Ibn Battuta described the city as a beautiful commercial center with seven mosques, baths and bazaars and a resident prince.
Denizli was twice destroyed by earthquakes, once in the beginning of the 18th century and again in 1899. This has left the city without any buildings of historical interest. However, in the center there are excellent restaurants, cafes and parks. If you are traveling this is a good place to stop for lunch. Denizli is about 17 kilometers south of Pamukkale.