Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukale, Turkey
It was worth coming to Turkey just to bathe in the Antique Pool in the ancient town of Hierapolis, almost 2000 years old. I could not tear myself away from this crystal clear pool, bubbling with calcium carbonate. I must say I was so excited with this water I even drank some from where it was pouring out, gushing out into the pool. It tasted like a delicious mineral water, full of calcium and magnesium among dozens of other minerals.

I massaged my back, head and my whole body, by standing under the spring that fed the pool. Ahhhh what an experience! I have been to dozens of wonderful hot springs around the world but this one topped it all. From the pool I had the view of the spectacular Roman Theater of the ancient town of Hierapolis on one side and of the mountains on the other. I didn't even care when the pool kept getting swollen with tourists. I was in total bliss under the jets of water bubbling down my face and body for four hours, nurtured by the languid 97 degrees Fahrenheit.

And I haven't even described my way into this paradise of a pool. I took my shoes off at the entrance of the travertines – shelves and pools of cotton white rock formations, marble like, above the town. The water pouring down from canals and the pools was warm, from the same spring that fed the antique pool I presume. When the warm water cooled, the calcium deposited all over the cliff edge created the effect of a mountain of snow with terraced swimming pools filled with thermal water. Wow, wow, wow! This is one of the most amazing sites I have ever seen in my life, not to mention most enjoyable!

The Romans built a large spa city, Hierapolis, to take advantage of this curative water that still flows down for us to enjoy. Hooray to the Romans. They did a lot of killing and destruction in their pursue of power and conquest but I have to take my hat off for their ability to build spas. I am still in excitement, three days after I have been there. In fact, I like the mellowness of Pamukkale so much that I am staying an extra day here doing nothing but enjoying the hot springs and sauna in my hotel. It is nothing compared to the antique pool, but more than adequate when compared to other hot springs I have been to.

Hierapolis was founded in 190 BC by Eumenes II, king of Pergamum as a cure center that prospered under the Romans and even more under the Byzantines when there was a large community of Jews and early Christians in the area. Unfortunately, the city was abandoned in 1334 after a major earthquake.

This is a typical ancient city, with Roman Baths, Roman Theater, an Agora (square), Temples, in this case there is a Temple of Apollo with an oracle that was tended by eunuch priests, and colonnaded streets. This is also the site where it is believed that Saint Philip, the apostle, was martyred. But what this ancient city may be a little different from others, besides the amazing curing spa center, aka antique pool, is the size of its necropolis. I am sure it is due to the number of people who came here already in their last days, hoping for a cure. Well, the water is fantastic, but it can only do so much.

Before I am in my last days, I just hope and pray that I will meet many more curative water sites such as this! What a place.....get here if you can.

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