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The Pool of Pamukkale

March 23, 2016

I’m definitely in the mood for warm weather, which is months away for Oregonians. Lately I’ve been thinking about some of the warm places Mrs. Chatterbox and I have visited.


We try to absorb as much local flavor as possible. We’ve ridden camels in the Great Thar Desert, explored Old Delhi in rickshaws and bathed elephants in Thailand. I never want to return home feeling like we missed out on an experience, but there was a time when I denied myself one, and I think about it often.


We were exploring Hierapolis, an ancient Greco/Roman city founded in the second century B.C. in southwestern Turkey. Ancient Greeks had been drawn to the location because of hot springs and travertines—terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water.






It looks cold, only the white is not snow but the result of mineral deposits. It was ninety degrees the day of our visit.



Hierapolis was originally called “Holy City” because of its numerous temples, and citizens of the ancient world came here to enjoy the thermal springs and live out their golden years. Today, the Turkish name for this spot is Pamukkale (White Castle) and tourists flock here to soak in the warm terraces as they have for thousands of years. In addition to the terraces, once there were dozens of Roman baths here, but all are now reduced to ruins.


Turkey is prone to earthquakes and an early Greek temple was destroyed and replaced several hundred years later by a Roman one, which was itself destroyed by an earthquake in the seventh century AD. This time the temple wasn’t rebuilt, and over the centuries its ruins were submerged beneath spring water, creating a large natural swimming pool.





The day of our arrival was blistering hot and we sweated profusely while plodding around amphitheaters, forums and other ruins—until we came to the Pool of Pamukkale. The water couldn’t have looked more refreshing, and I was intrigued by the plainly visible ruins below the surface of the pristine water. Unfortunately, our swimsuits were in our luggage on the bus, but I was wearing shorts and should have jumped in, only I didn’t want to return to our bus and ride around in wet shorts so I chose not to.





I won’t make this blunder again if I ever return to Turkey.  How often do you have an opportunity to swim among ruins in a two thousand year old pool?




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How fascinating, Steve! I think I would have passed, too, and opted not to ride around in wet clothes the rest of the day. but if it was that hot , they would have been dry very quickly!
By: Linda on March 23, 2016
I'd say one in a million. I would've stuck my feet in at least.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on March 23, 2016
Your travels amaze me, Stephen. You really get around to fascinating sites.
By: MICHAEL MANNING on March 23, 2016
So far never. If I were a betting man, i'd wager you will visit again and you will be prepared.
By: cranky on March 23, 2016
I will be in Turkey in June. I have to find this.Sounds amazing.
By: Brett Minor (Transformed Nonconformist) on March 23, 2016
Maybe it is just me but it looks like a fellow way in the background didn't let lack of bathing suit bother him. Those terraces looked other worldly.
By: Arkansas Patti on March 23, 2016
well, next time just wear your bathing trunks under your pants instead of underwear then you are always prepared.
By: Ellen Abbott on March 23, 2016
There is certainly a big difference in the lives of the haves and have-nots. Of course, if what we have in this world was indeed earned, there is no problem with doing with it as we like, but if much is indeed expected of those given much... Be assured, nothing would be said if you were not deeply loved, my friend.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on March 23, 2016
Your travels have taken you to marvelous places and have provided us with fascinating posts to read. I was not aware of the Pool of Pamukkale. Intriguing.
By: Tom Cochrun on March 23, 2016
What an "i wish i had" moment! There've been a few of them for me, too.
By: messymimi on March 23, 2016
Hope you get the opportunity to knock that one of the list, Stephen. It sounds like an amazing place. Take care.
By: Mr. Shife on March 23, 2016
Not sure what I would have guess is, I would have passed up the opportunity and regretted it, too.
By: Pixel Peeper on March 23, 2016
But it looks sooooo inviting!!
By: fishducky on March 23, 2016
WHAT? You just didn't want to ride around in wet shorts? I thought you were going to tell about avoiding a skinny-dip in an ancient bath ritual!
By: Val on March 23, 2016
I thought people soaked in the nude in those pools.
By: Catalyst on March 23, 2016
Oh I would have gone in even if just to my knees. You are so lucky to have seen all the sights you have seen and experienced all you have experienced. I would love that
By: Birgit on March 23, 2016
I used to love to swim, now I never do, even though I have a swimming pool. I don't think I would look back with regret as you still enjoyed the experience as a spectator I'm sure.
By: LL Cool Joe on March 24, 2016
I do seek out thermal pools and at least, in Oregon, you just have to get to the other side of the mountains to find such pools--many which are still natural
By: Sage on March 24, 2016
At your age, you have nothing to prove... you should have gone commando. You could then refer to yourself as the Turkish Delight. ;-)
By: Daniel LaFrance on March 24, 2016
I'm not nearly as adventuresome as you are; but I did once partake of the ancient baths in Bath, England. They were open to the public only once a year, and we happened to be there at the right time.
By: Tom Sightings on March 24, 2016
I think you missed an opportunity there. Plus, in that temperature, your shorts would probably have dried out in five minutes anyway!
By: Botanist on March 24, 2016
Wow! I'd love the opportunity to do this but I agree---it wouldn't have been fun afterwards sitting on the bus in wet clothes.
By: Marcia @ Menopausal Mother on March 24, 2016
That would have been a unique experience. I bet it would make my knees feel better.
By: Rick Watson on March 27, 2016

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