Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pamukkale

While walking the streets of Istanbul we saw some pictures of other wonderful places in Turkey outsides of a travel agent.  I saw a picture of people all over white "snow" and I asked Brad where are there where it has snow now?????  He explain to me that it wasn't snow, it was limestone.  The place looked beautiful and I just knew we HAD to go!
Fast forward to the second leg of our trip and we realized that Pumukkale was 3 hours from where we were staying.  Was it worth the drive???? Would we survive the trip with 5 of us squeezed in the back seat??  Was it worth driving 6 hours to spend a couple of hours at this place????
Determined to make it a GO, we said, "Yes!  We CAN do this!!!" and we headed out and I can now tell you that it was totally worth the drive!!!!
You can see this HUGE white area as you are driving in on the highway.  It stands out from the lush green that surrounds it.  We weren't sure what to expect but then driving into town, you can see the beauty that you are approaching.  We still weren't sure what to expect.  Your mind plays tricks on you a bit as you see white and think cold, wet, and slippery.  Not only that but, most of the people we saw walking were in their clothes so we headed up to hike up the limestone formation with our clothes on but a backpack with our swimsuits and a couple of towels.
As you can see it didn't take us long to change over to our suits right there in the middle of it all using a towel as a change room!  The place was amazing and we wanted to enjoy it to its fullest!  Addyson was the first one to step over onto the limestone, the rest of us were taking our shoes off because they ask you to take your shoes off because of all of the tourist that come with dirty shoes was making the beautiful white an off-white.  As she stepped over, she started to run around and I kept telling her to go slow because it was slippery and I didn't want her to fall.
It wasn't until I stepped over that I understood it wasn't slippery.  It was actually easy to walk on.  The "worse" part was that there was water everywhere so the kids were getting their clothes wet which is why we changed over and then they kids were able to do as they pleased!
The white limestone allowed you to look up over the lush green and the town that surrounded it!!!  The backdrop for this amazing place couldn't have been any better!
As you walk from the bottom of the formation to the top you come across little springs and it was interesting to find that the springs ranged in temperatures from very cold to warm and everything in between and in no specific order.  When the kids found one that was the prefect temperature for them the would go right in!
They soon realized that on the bottom was a clay like substance you could spread on your body!!! "Mud baths" for all!!!  Just think, people pay big bucks to be rubbed down in clay and my kids were doing it for free!!!
Facial mask anyone?!?!
Cheese!
I realized that if I stood on the other side of them I could get the amazing background in the picture and I wanted to capture the perfect photo to frame.....
And then the "mask" started to drip down....
and got into Ethan's mouth and made him gag....
and got into Addyson's eyes... and then it wasn't fun anymore for anyone.....
except for Owen!!!  So much for that perfect photo of the three!!! : )  You win some, you lose some!
I know this trip to Turkey has been epic but I really felt it here with the beauty around us, the kids loving every second of it, and looking at Brad and just being amazed of the memories we were making!
Right before the steep ledge that leads down to the middle of the formation where no one is allowed to go because they are trying to preserve it is a fast flowing "river".  The kids loved walking through it!!  They use river to create tiny streams to flow down the side of the formation to wet it because it is when the limestone is dry that it starts turning gray and when it is moist it returns to its beautiful white!

Pamukkale travertine is a type of limestone deposited at the mouth of the spring. Thermal sources on an important fault line of western Anatolia in Pamukkale are warmed up by subterranean heat and come out at 33-36 C. The water contains calcium hydro carbonate. Tectonic movements triggered frequent earthquakes in this area and gave rise to the emergence of a number of very hot springs. The water from these springs created Pamukkale with its large mineral content. When the hot water is in touch with the carbon dioxide, it starts to lose its warmth and also the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are released in to the air. As a result the calcium carbonate is precipitated. So the water forms magnificent viewed travertine.

Pamukkale is one of Turkey’s incomparable natural wonder with the calcium cascade terraces of snow white stalactites and is known as 8th wonder of the World by Turkish people.  Pamukkale means “Cotton Castle” but had many different uncommon names in the past. Pamukkale is very well known with the entrancing beauty of its unique geological formation and also with its historical remains.

The white cotton-like terraces are mineral deposits which come from Cal Mountain’s rich spring waters and volcanic springs that were saved since thousand years. The water runs down the travertine and fill them up with water and there is a pool where you can have a chance to swim among the ancient Roman columns.http://www.pamukkale.net
After hiking to the top we reached Hierapolis. In ancient times all religious buildings were built nearby hot or cold water sources. Beside religious buildings, some other buildings such as fountains and baths also were built for curing. The numbers of baths, fountains and also churches are evident of the importance of waters in Hierapolis and Christianity.  The temples were significant trade centers and Hierapolis had many temples that made people confused about which god they would worship before Christianity.
The water here is thought to be healing- The mineral water of Pamukkale helps recovering the high blood pressure, kidney stones, stroke, rheumatism, nervous and physical exhaustion, eye and skin diseases, circulatory problems, digestive maladies, nutritional disorders and chronic disorders. Pamukkale became a spa resort today and the center of a pagan cult in antiquity. At the top there is a "resort" like area where you can pay to "swim" in the water for two hours.  There is also a water spout where people were coming and filling up water bottles to take home with them!
The area that no one is allowed to go.- To keep the travertine white and to prevent crush and damage on them, in 1997 it was forbidden to walk on them and the water is allowed to reach the terraces periodically according to weekly watering schedule. But it is possible to walk on the south part of the travertine with naked foot.
 We spent close to three hours exploring here and enjoying the spring pools.  At the top, after looking around, we had a drink and changed over into clothes so we could go out into town and explore a bit before driving 3 hours back home.  We figured there would be an easy way down but it turns out the easiest way down was the way we came up so we made a beeline for the bottom so the kids would stop and play and get wet all over again!!!!  What an amazing time exploring Pamukkale!!!

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