Europe

Exploring the Ancient Roman City of Hierapolis in Pamukkale, Turkey


Thursday, May 13th, 2004: Selçuk to Pamukkale

N 37°
E 029°

Pamukkale hosts another ancient Roman city, Hierapolis. It was located here because of the thermal springs, thought to promote good health. What makes it stunning and different is that the springs have, in flowing down the mountainside over millennia, have formed travertines – calcified formations that cover the side of the mountain – from the road yesterday we thought we were driving onto a glacier. After we get settled, we walk up the hill, over the travertines. When you walk over them, you must remove your footwear, to help preserve them. Walking through the flowing water is wonderfully refreshing, and as we go we pass people wading in, covering themselves in the mud, hoping it will cure whatever ails them, or simply make them more beautiful.

Promises of a Thermal Spring

We have been promised a thermal spring at the top, but when we get there, we are disappointed. It looks like a bad swimming pool, and at the price being asked (15,000,000 Turkish Lira each – about C$15), we aren’t so interested. Instead, we walk up behind the pool to the ruins of the Roman Amphitheater, then around the top of the ridge into the old town, which spreads up the hills behind us. We can see the ruins of the houses stretching out into the distance – this must have been a good sized city.

Even in Turkey

Our hotel tonight is family owned and run. The husband, Mustafa, is very big and very funny. He has a joke or a funny face about everything, and in every language. He keeps asking us how long Kim Campbell was prime minister of Canada, and why she now lives in the U.S.?

Even in Turkey, we can’t seem to escape some Canuk jokes.

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