Sunday, July 28, 2013

There is no snow here!

We had a bit of a later start today, leaving at noon from our hotel - which was appreciated after the late night last night! It also gave us a chance to enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, as well as relax by the sea. 

Our drive to Pamukkale (formerly Hierapolis in Roman times) is unique because of the incredible mineral deposits which are created there. It looks like snow!

It is most certainly not snow. Actually it was the hottest day of the trip so far - easily mid thirties or higher. 

There's actually hot springs in the area, the mineral rich water of which is carried by underwater means overtop of limestone cliffs. As the water evaporates under the scorching, I can assure you, sun, the minerals are left deposited on the rocks (it's calcium carbonate). Little pools have formed over the centuries.

In fact, Hierapolis was built by the Romans in this area especially because of the mineral rich waters, which they believed to have healing properties. Apparently people still believe this, and going for a dip in the water is supposed to be, at the least, therapeutic. So that's what we did:

The scenery in the area was beautiful, and unlike anything either of us had seen before:

There are also great ruins there, as the city used to be large - approx 150,000 people or so. In fact, the largest Roman cemetery ever found was discovered here. The ruins included a remarkable restoration of an amphitheatre:

The remnants of a gymnasium:

As well as a museum housing all sorts of artifacts, including one of the most ornate roman sarcophagi I've ever seen (short of being for an emperor):

Hierapolis is expected to cover the same area as Ephesus, but most of it remains to be restored. 

By the time we were finished up, it was nearly 7:00 pm, so we raced back to our hotel for a quick turnaround before dinner. 

After that, a quick tour of the market in the local village and then to bed. An early start and a long drive to the resort town of Cesme tomorrow. 

Talk to you all soon,

Paul and Aoife. 

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