Friday, April 27, 2012

TRAVELLING: To the Land of beautiful Horses and beyond. Part. 2

                               In order to avoid the heat, we left Kusadasi  early in the morning. 
 A few hours later, and after we had passed some unimportant places we reached Pamukkale. The word Pamukkale in Turkish means cotton castle, and the name  fits perfectly in this place. In the middle of a plain area stands a –not –so- high- mountain, with its front side totally white. It looked like it had snowed, although it was the middle of summer.  This phenomenon is caused by the water which is running there for centuries and contains certain carbonate minerals that leaves a white mud. With the passing of time this mud holds on to the rocks, and becomes hard. So the whole cliff takes this white colour.
Every here and there you can see some small natural pools of therapeutic water. It is impossible to describe this phenomenon and the beauty of the place with words  I'm afraid. Only looking at the pictures you can get a small idea...
  Around the same area, you can find the ruins of ancient Hierapolis. A Greek city at first, and later Roman, very popular in the ancient world because of the hot springs. Hierapolis was maybe actually the first natural spa we know. The whole area of both Hierapolis and Pamukkale is considered to be a World Heritage and is protected by Unesco.
   Upon our arrival there, we found a descent  hotel and rushed out to visit the sights around.
 First we wandered in the ruins of the ancient city, which surely was very impressive at its glory days. Today the ruins cover  a very wide area which is better to be avoided under the hot sun. The ruins are scattered around, but the most impressive ones are the ancient market, the theatre, and of course the huge necropolis, with the hundreds of sarcophagus that are almost everywhere. There are many more to see there, but we were tired, it was almost noon, and the sun was burning like you couldn't believe. So we left the city and moved to the cliffs of Pamukkale to experience this unique feeling.
   We visited the white cliffs, enjoyed the hot waters in the little pools on the rocks, took a few pictures of the panorama around, and headed to the pool with the natural soda water. We paid the entrance fee and we entered to a very beautiful area with a few cafe's and restaurants. In the middle lies a very big pool that contains hot natural soda, and is on the exact same place as the ancient Roman baths. Inside the pool you can see parts of ancient artifacts, such as columns, parts of walls, roofs, etc. The pool itself is a very big one, with many small channels, bridges, waterfalls etc. Again the feeling of this place is very hard to describe. But I can assure you that we enjoyed for quite sometime the swimming there. We made head massages under the small waterfalls, we swam over the ancient artifacts, and in general was a great experience! But time had passed, and after all these the only thing we wanted was a nice food. So we left this area and headed fast to the small and very traditional village of Karahayit, where we enjoyed a really tasty food in a very traditional restaurant. When I say traditional restaurant, I mean that you leave your shoes in the entrance, you sit down on carpets and big pillows, and you eat on some very low tables. Interesting eh?
   Really very tired after all these rounds, we spent our afternoon exploring the small village of Pamukkale that lies under these rocks, but it has nothing special to offer, except for the nice view of these white cliffs. At night the whole mountainside is lighted with colours and is a really magnificent view!
   The next day again very early, we hit the road once more moving further into the inlands of Turkey. Next stop the small island of Egirdir, that lies in the middle of a lake and is connected with a very narrow road with the coast. It looked interesting in the books, so we decided to spend the night there.
 To be continued...
                                Next part: Egirdir and Konya