Pamukkale - Cotton Castle - Hierapolis

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Ancient city of Hierapolis and Pamukkale so called Cotton Castle

photo: pixabay @trondmyhre4

Where is Pamukkale?

Hierapolis and Pamukkale, this unique place, that is like no other on Earth, is 20 kilometers from Denizli. To reach this city it takes one hour by plane from Istanbul or few hours by road from Antalya.

A bride in a brilliant white wedding dress with the nymphs holding onto her skirts and carrying the marks of Anatolia with the mysteries of ancient years opens her arms to millions of local and foreign tourists every year.


In Pamukkale  where yesterday meets today, there are five star hotels and other modern accommodation. 

You can read more about best thermal hotels in Pamukkale. 

Your health and safety are assured in Pamukkale. 

Pamukkale  and the Sacred City of Hierapolis

This historic place is shrouded in the mystery of thousands of years as it has always been renowned for its healing waters and amazing artifacts. With its ancient city and white travertines it is one of the most visited places in the world. 

A heaven on Earth which astounds whoever sees it.

Within Pamukkale is the ancient archaeological city of Hierapolis which for many ages has been one of the most striking centers.


This ancient city was founded in the 2nd century BC by Pergamon King Eumenes II. It is thought that Hierapolis was named after  Hiera; the wife of Telephos the legendary founder of Pergamon.

From the time of Hierapolis’ Roman Emperor Tiberius 17 AD until the great earthquake it remained a primitive Hellenistic city. The earthquake which occurred in 68 AD totally destroyed the city. It was rebuilt with Roman architecture, typical of the time, and looked just like any other Roman city. In the time of Constantine The Great Hierapolis was the capital city of Phrygia. And during the Byzantine age it became a center for Christian diocese. After the 13th century it was completely under the domination of the Seljuks.

The ancient city of Hierapolis was the stage of many important events over the ages and consequently unique artifacts and legends had arisen. 

Gate of Hell in Hierapolis


One mythological legend, which was about due to the large number of people flooding to the area to benefit from its healing waters, is about the water fairies or nymphs as they were known. One of the most famous of these is the legend of Plutonium; Hades Gate otherwise known as the Gates of Hell. Hades Gate is situated at the mouth of the cave where even today poisonous gases escape. There are steps which lead down to this sacred place. These steps are the start of a passage into an active and boiling underground world. 


Once you pass through these gates, there is no return. 


Bu it was believed that you can only pass through this passage after death. And it is here that the souls of the dead can achieve peace. Hence a lot of mass graves can be found in Necropol of Hierapolis.

Apollo and Kybele met in Hierapolis

Also during the Roman times the Apollo Temple and fortune-telling center were established. The local people believed it was here that Apollo and  Kybele; the area’s principle goddess met, making it the oldest religious center.

And so festivals and games were held in the name of Apollo at Hierapolis. Huge numbers of people came from near and far which enriched the city. 

The city became an important Christian center in 80 AD when one of the 12 disciples; Saint Philip came to the city. St. Philip who wanted to spread Christianity was later killed by the Romans.


At the beginning of the 5th century as Christianity was spreading the matron was built on the spot where St Philip was killed. The octagonal plan symbolizes eternal life and rebirth and St. Phillip’s grave is also here. 

At the matron monument cathedrals, churches with spires and similar religious structures were built.

Hierapolis, from the point of view of town planning, had quite a well planned and orderly infrastructure. Infrastructures such as the city gates, well-maintained streets, drinking water and sewer systems all existed.

Alongside these for the physical and spiritual health of the people and for their other needs many Roman baths, sports centers, temples, drinking fountains, general toilets called latrine and the biggest monumental fountain; the Triton Fountain were constructed. The construction of this fountain began in the 3rd  century and was completed in the 5th Century. 

Agora, theatre, temples...

A marketplace(agora) for trade was constructed at 60 AD as a center for trade and entertainment for the local people. In Agora Square shows were helped by the many gladiator schools. This has been immortalized in the relief which can be found today at the entrance to a gladiator’s tomb.

Also to be found among the city’s fended works of art is the Amphitheatre the construction of which was completed in the 3rd Century by the emperor Septimius Severus. The theater has a large stage and backstage area, a relief describing Apollo and Artemis is located in the theater. 

Also to be found among the city’s fended works of art is the Amphitheatre the construction of which was completed in the 3rd Century by the emperor Septimius Severus. The theater has a large stage and backstage area, a relief describing Apollo and Artemis is located in the theater. 

hierapolis-rose-the-guide- turkey ancient cities

The city developed fast accelerated by the development of textile, leather and marble industries. It was known that the water itself was not only good for health, but also its chemical properties made the material produced here special. This is why there was a great demand for the materials produced at Hierapolis from many places worldwide. The travertines were formed by water which comes out of the ground at 36 degrees centigrade and have a high calcium hydrocarbonate content. Hierapolis was also referred to as Pamukkale because of these white travertine. These travertines resemble pure, white cotton.

Pamuk meaning cotton and kale meaning castle in the Turkish language and so the city became known as Cotton Castle; Pamukkale. Today’s Pamukkale is a center for culture and tourism.

photo: unsplash @danielacuevas

Pamukkale, a heaven on Earth.

Alongside the ancient city the white travertines are a miracle of nature, a magical place of extraordinary beauty. There is no other like it. 

It’s unique white terrace, miracle of nature and golden city of Hierapolis, has become a culture and tourism center and has made its way onto the UNESCO list of the world natural Legacies.

The interest in Pamukkale has increased over the years as nowhere else on earth has such beauty and healing waters. 

Ancient Pool (Cleopatra Pool)

photo: twitter @ToursCE

Visitors can be found benefiting from these healing waters in Pamukkale’s most beautiful and popular place; the ancient pool. It’s impossible to visit this place without having a dip in this ancient pool, which has visitors in all seasons. Those who swim here feel as if they’re on a journey through history.

Visitors are most fascinated by the ancient pool, which is full both summer and winter. 

Note that ancient pool is extra charge. There are cabins to change and safety boxes for your belongings. 

(Safety boxes require small amount of money deposit which you receive back when you handle the keys back)

An ancient building which used to be a large Roman bath is now a museum exhibiting works of art from an ancient era. This historic structure is an important bridge connecting the past and the future, sheltering all the ancient artifacts belonging to this area. 

Pamukkale invites you with all the splendor and elegance to give yourself up to the peace, well being of being in her arms.

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