Pamukkale © josep salvia i bote
Calcium-rich mineral springs surging over the edge of a mountain plateau for thousands of years have resulted in an intriguing natural masterpiece. The rock formations of Pamukkale ('Cotton Castle') are a series of natural shelves and ridges, terraces that have been turned white from the solidified chalky calcium deposits left behind as the thermal waters tumble into further basins clinging to the cliff edge below.
From a distance it appears to be a dazzling, white, fairytale castle, with a formation of tiers rising from the ground containing warm water pools. The hot springs have been used since Roman times and are believed to cure certain ailments. Additionally, visitors should not miss the bubbling 'sacred pool of the ancients', the main source of the springs which created the white terraces; fortunately, its mineral waters are open for public bathing.
Pamukkale is also the site of the ancient Roman spa-city of Hierapolis, and there are several ruins scattered about the area, including an impressive Roman theatre. It was considered a sacred site for its magic healing waters and was the holiday destination of kings and emperors of the Pergamum and Roman Empires.
Transport: Pamukkale is a five-hour bus journey from Bodrum.