The UNESCO protected site of Pamukkale draws thousands of tourists each day to see the postcard perfect travertines. But, there’s is so much more to see including the Ancient Theater of Hierapolis as well as the tomb of St Philip the Apostle. Things to see at Pamukkale Turkey;
- Travertines – Postcard Perfect Views
- Bath in the Antique Pools
- Ancient Theater
- Tomb of St Philip the Apostle
- Frontinus Gate
- Hierapolis in the Travertine
Firstly, what is a travertine? It’s quite complicated to explain but it’s the result of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate. A hot spring is required to create this phenomenon and at Pamukkale it’s been created on a massive scale. Most people who visit will have no interest in how the travertines are formed. As a matter of fact they’ll be more interested in photographing or bathing in the hot springs. There are parts of the travertines which you can bath in and parts which are kept empty. As a result, both photographers and bathers will be happy at this UNESCO site.
There is a wooden pathway around the travertines as well as through the center. For this reason, you can photograph them from multiple angles. I highly recommend photographers stay overnight in Pamukkale town to be able to photograph the travertines at sunset and sunrise. Furthermore, be sure to take advantage of the stunning reflections the pools give.
For aerial views over the travertines as well as the ancient city of Hierapolis, I recommend paragliding.
Adjacent to the travertines are the ancient pools. These thermal pools can get quite busy so come prepared. In addition, the travertines which you are permitted to swim in are also on the busy side with lots of tourists taking selfies. For this reason, I recommend exploring the more peaceful ruins of Hierapolis.
Hierapolis Ancient Theater
It’s believed the 15,000 capacity ancient theater of Hierapolis was built in the 2nd century. It was built during the reign of Hadrian who also has a temple in nearby Ephesus. Entry to the theater is free when you enter Pamukkale and you can stay as long as you wish. Finally, it’s not unusual to have the whole theater to yourself.
Martyrium and Tomb of Saint Philip
You may receive an eerie feeling when you walk into the Martyrium of St Philip the Apostle. Where else in the world can you be alone where an apostle was martyred? What’s more, you can also pay respects at the nearby tomb of St Philip. Furthermore, the tomb of Saint John as well as ruins of his church are located in nearby Ephesus. Saint John of course is another disciple of Jesus.
The Frontinus Gate is a major landmark of Hierapolis. What’s more, there is a typical Roman road which leads up to it. For this reason, it’s a top photography / Instagram spot in Hierapolis. Did you know there is a similar style gate and Roman road in Perge, Antalya?
Something unique you experience as you explore Hierapolis is the complete freedom to go absolutely wherever you want. As a matter of fact, you can visit virtually everywhere which means you can cut through the grass or climb unofficial viewpoints. The protection of the travertines is high priority therefore Hierapolis is unpoliced. This is good news for those interested in history as you can truly explore and discover real artefacts. Finally, a rarely visited part of Hierapolis an old theater which lies on a hill adjacent to the Frontinus Gate.
Today, the famous baths are located alongside Pamukkale. However, the Romans had a northern baths area within Hierapolis city walls. You’re welcome to explore the remains of the Northern Baths area.
Hierapolis in the Travertine
The travertines of Pamukkale are constantly growing. As a result some of the tombs, mausoleums and other Roman structures have been swallowed up. Photographers will be rewarded for exploring the whole of Hierapolis.
How to get to Pamukkale Turkey
You can visit Pamukkale on a day trip from Istanbul, Bodrum, Fethiye, Marmaris, Antalya and Kusadasi. I visited on a day trip and I must confess I was a little rushed. For this reason, I recommend you stay overnight in Pamukkale to witness both sunset and sunrise. To do this you must first take a bus to Denizli and change to Pamukkale.
Enjoy your trip to Pamukkale Turkey.
There is an equally beautiful place in Oaxaca, Mexico called Hierve el Agua.