Travertine terraces of Pamukkale, Turkey
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Heavenly hot springs. Pamukkale, Turkey
These stunning terraces and hot pools can be found in Pamukkale, Turkey, and their warm waters have been attracting admirers for more than 2,000 years. Since the founding of the Greco-Roman thermal spa of Hierapolis in the 2nd century BCE, people have been enjoying a relaxing soak in the 36C waters which, some say, have healing powers.
Pamukkale is also known as the Cotton Palace, in a nod to the fluffy-looking white formations that cover the hillside. That ‘cotton’ is travertine, a soft limestone that is formed over centuries as mineral-laden water drops from springs in a cliff high above. Here it’s a stunning white, but travertine can be found in many different colours, ranging from grey to gold.
The terraces and the ancient ruins of Hierapolis are so unique that they were made a Unesco World Heritage Site. There are restrictions on the number of bathers allowed in, but there’s lots of other things to see. Walk around the ruins of the theatre and necropolis, the ancient temples and bath houses in Hierapolis. You’ll be in good company: More than 2 million people visit each year, making it one of Turkey’s most-visited attractions.