Pamukkale, The name translates as "Cotton Castle", and it's been drawing bathers for thousands of years. Bathing in the Cotton Castle's 17 hot water springs, which range from 35-100°C, feels a little like being in a fairytale or a video game, albeit one with more Turkish tourists. Still, it's geology rather than magic – the white terraces, or travertines, are made of carbonate minerals left by fl owing water from the hot springs. It's geologically similar to Yellowstone National Park's famous Mammoth Hot Springs.
the Cotton Castle
Yet Pamukkale has history, too – it was the source for the thermal spa of Hierapolis, which was established by the kings of Pergamon at the end of the second century BC, as well as a complex system of canals that extends as far as 70km to the north and west. Hence the area is home to a wealth of archaeological treasures, from old Greco-Roman baths and temples to a 2km-long necropolis.
As recently as the 1960s, hotels were built on the ruins of Hierapolis, but that all stopped in 1988, when the area became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many buildings were demolished; water supplies to hotels were restricted; and tourists are now directed towards the smaller thermal pools, where they must bathe with bare feet. All of which seems right – this is a wonder worth protecting.