20th March 2017
After a short drive from Ephesus, we arrived in Pamukkale.
This wonderful place has come about by many warm mineral springs which escape from the earth here due to many earthquakes creating fissures in the plates deep beneath the earth. The mineral rich waters have left it’s dregs on a platform which is 150 metres high.
The Pamukkale travertines are full of many different minerals, and temperatures in the pools can reach up to 35 degrees Celsius. The water is also very clear, and even drinkable, good for you even as they contain a wealth of earths minerals. These travertines are the most popular tourist attraction in Turkey, and they are frequently visited since they are very good for people’s health.
The surreal, brilliant white travertine terraces and warm, limpid pools of Pamukkale hang, like the petrified cascade of a mighty waterfall, from the rim of a steep valley side in Turkey’s picturesque southwest. What makes this place so amazing is the fact nowhere else in the world can visitors enjoy exploring both picturesque travertine formations, but also incredible temples and Roman buildings in the neighboring Hieropolis, A Roman-Greco civilization.
After exploring the wonderful travertines, wandering around the fascinating museum at Hieropolis and exploring the vast and beautiful ruins we went to find the hotel. There are a couple of great Asian restaurants in pamukkale so afterhaving some lovely Asian food we walked back through the pretty town to bed for the evening.
21st March 2017
Today, we planned to visit the ancient Roman metropolis of Laodikea, which was a major trading place on route to Ephesus. However, our day would begin by visiting some more local, famous hot springs, located not far from Pamukkale. These other hot springs are called Herakles Thermal Center, and, unlike Pamukkale, they are not hung above the valley, but instead located in the centre of a town. Although The Pamukkale travertines are much more impressive, Heracles travertines shouldn’t be missed. The water that comes out of these earth springs can be as hot as boiling, the pools they end up in are bath like with rich mineral mud.
After soaking in the mineral rich warm baths we drove on to the ancient site of Laodikea. In all the guide books Laodika isn’t really rated highly, but I must say that it really is as spectacular as Ephesus as far as I’m concerned and the ongoing excavations there seem endless and exciting!
Laodikea became important because it was situated on the road which connected trade centers such as Ephesus and Miletus to Mesopotamia, quandary thus linked it to the capital, Rome, in the 1st century BC. Laodikea was also one of the first places where a church was built during the spread of Christianity and is one of the seven churches of Asia, mentioned in Paul’s letters in the Bible. During the time we visited lots of excavation work was taking place, and a young man who was the archaeologist in charge of the site was eager to chat and show us around and take us on tour around Laodikea, he even had the keys for the church which is amazing inside, but which I couldn’t photograph as it doesn’t open to the public until this summer!
As it turns out, much of the area Laodikea is in has been hit by major deadly earthquakes, especially under the reign of Emperor Nero, when over a thousand people died.
Excavations have also revealed artifacts dating from 3500 BC (Late Chalcolithic) to 3000 BC (Early Bronze Age). The scenery around laodika was amazing, with large Montaigne in the backdrop, and rolling hills over near Pamukkale. When Our guide showed us a Church which was under excavation he was keen to point out The Large mosaic floors were beautiful, and each of the tiles told a biblical story.
It was a difficult tour, the heat, the size of the place and the concern over wether we were getting ripped off again by our impromptu guide, but at the end of the site when we tried to give the man a tip, he wouldn’t take it! It’s getting very confusing trying to suss out the etiquette here you know! Seems Laodikea is a lot quieter than other nearby sites and the chap was just keen to show it off to someone! We did shove some cash in his pocket though before we left!
After a long walk around the five kilometer site, we drove back to pamukkale and went back to the hotel. The yacht management company decided the boat still wouldn’t be ready, not for two more days…. we are heading back to Fethiye though to check out what’s going on this time with Steady On Jean, and to speak to the technicians.
We had an unexpected mini break in Calis, and got back on board on Friday. So sorry that I’m late with the last of these posts, but I hope that you have enjoyed reading about Didim, Ephesus and Pamukkale, all, well worth a visit.