Pamukkale (pa-mook-ka-lay) means “cotton castle,” but you won’t find any cotton plantations here! The name refers to the color alone as the mountain is covered in white minerals. The area is filled with natural hot springs that deposit calcium carbonate in the water, which later hardens and turns into travertine. The views were amazing and the pictures just don’t do it justice!
The ancient city of Hierapolis was built atop the “cotton castle” and there are still a few remnants of the ancient ruins.
People have bathed in the pools of Pamukkale for thousands of years. Tourists are allowed to walk along the travertine terraces and bathe in the hot springs, but shoes may not be worn while walking on the minerals in order to protect the site.
As tourism began to boom in this area, hotels were built on the “cotton castle.” Roads were built and considerable damage was done to the natural landscape. The area was declared a World Heritage Site in 1988 and the hotels were demolished in order to preserve the site. Artificial pools replaced the hotels and still remain today. Tourists can pay an additional fee to access the artificial pools.