Sunday, 17 November 2019

TURKEY: Pamukkale The Home Of Travertine Hosts 2.3M Visitors

Pamukkale, a region that enjoys global fame for its travertines, ancient ruins and healing waters, saw an increase in the number of visitors, with 2.3 million in a 10-month period of the year, adding another record to the ones it has broken this year.

A total of 2.1 million visitors came to the region last year in the same period, according to Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism data.

Pamukkale in central Denizli province, was the fourth-most visited site in Turkey last year, this year it hosted 284,498 visitors in October, up 43% compared to the same month last year.

Denizli Tourist Hoteliers and Operators Association President Gazi Murat Şen said on Wednesday that Pamukkale has had the best year in terms of number of visitors.

We aim to attract 3 million visitors by the end of the year, Şen said, adding that they will achieve this goal due to the intersession holiday of schools, he said they also want to host 5 million people in the medium term.

Underlining that 2019 has been a golden year for Pamukkale, Şen said: we aim to promote our country in the best way by staying above Turkey's average.

In fact, our goal is to exceed the number of visitors at Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Museum. We continue our efforts for everyone to see the fascinating view of the travertines.

Şen noted that tourists from Far Eastern countries as well as Russia, Germany and South America, led to intensified visitor traffic, adding that a significant number of foreign visitors participated in long-term Turkey tours which had increased the income per tourist.

Pamukkale is a town in western Turkey known for the mineral-rich thermal waters flowing down white travertine terraces on a nearby hillside. It neighbors Hierapolis, an ancient Roman spa city founded around 190 B.C.

Ruins there include a well-preserved theater and a necropolis with sarcophagi that stretch for 2km. The Antique Pool is famous for its submerged Roman columns, the result of an earthquake.

Pamukkale, meaning cotton castle in Turkish, is a natural site in Denizli in southwestern Turkey. The area is famous for a carbonate mineral left by the flowing water.

It is located in Turkey's Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which has a temperate climate for most of the year.

The ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis was built on top of the white castle which is in total about 2,700 metres (8,860 ft) long, 600 m (1,970 ft) wide and 160 m (525 ft) high. It can be seen from the hills on the opposite side of the valley in the town of Denizli, 20 km away.

Known as Pamukkale or Cotton Castle or ancient Hierapolis or Holy City, this area has been drawing the weary to its thermal springs since the time of Classical antiquity.

The Turkish name refers to the surface of the shimmering, snow-white limestone, shaped over millennia by calcium-rich springs. Dripping slowly down the vast mountainside, mineral-rich waters foam and collect in terraces, spilling over cascades of stalactites into milky pools below.

Legend has it that the formations are solidified cotton which is the area's principal crop that giants left out to dry.

Tourism is and has been a major industry in the area for thousands of years, due to the attraction of the thermal pools.

As recently as the mid-20th century, hotels were built over the ruins of Hierapolis, causing considerable damage.

An approach road was built from the valley over the terraces, and motor bikes were allowed to go up and down the slopes. When the area was declared a World Heritage Site, the hotels were demolished and the road removed and replaced with artificial pools.

Overshadowed by natural wonder, Pamukkale's well-preserved Roman ruins and museum have been remarkably underestimated and unadvertised; tourist brochures over the past 20 years have mainly featured photos of people bathing in the calcium pools.

Aside from a small footpath running up the mountain face, the terraces are all currently off-limits, having suffered erosion and water pollution at the feet of tourists.

Pamukkale's terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs.

In this area, there are 17 hot water springs in which the temperature ranges from 35 °C (95 °F) to 100 °C (212 °F).

The water that emerges from the spring is transported 320 metres (1,050 ft) to the head of the travertine terraces and deposits calcium carbonate on a section 60 to 70 metres (200 to 230 ft) long covering an expanse of 24 metres (79 ft) to 30 metres (98 ft).

When the water, supersaturated with calcium carbonate, reaches the surface, carbon dioxide de-gasses from it, and calcium carbonate is deposited. Calcium carbonate is deposited by the water as a soft gel which eventually crystallizes into travertine.

In this museum, alongside historical artifacts from Hierapolis, there are also artifacts from Laodiceia, Colossae, Tripolis, Attuda and other towns of the Lycos (Çuruksu) valley.

In addition to these, the museum has a large section devoted to artifacts found at Beycesultan Huyuk that includes some of the most beautiful examples of Bronze Age craft.

Artifacts from the Caria, Pisidia and Lydia regions are also on display in this museum. The museum's exhibition space consists of three closed areas of the Hierapolis Bath and the open areas in the eastern side which are known to have been used as the library and gymnasium.

The artifacts in open exhibition space are mostly marble and stone. Hierapolis is broken down into ruins.

Pamukkale is a tourist attraction. It is recognized as a World Heritage Site together with Hierapolis. Hierapolis-Pamukkale was made a World Heritage Site in 1988.

The underground volcanic activity which causes the hot springs also forced carbon dioxide into a cave, which was called the Plutonium, which here means place of the god Pluto. This cave was used for religious purposes by priests of Cybele, who found ways to appear immune to the suffocating gas.

Tadpoles can be found in the pools.

The hotels built in the 1960s were demolished as they were draining the thermal waters into their swimming pools and caused damage to the terraces.

The water supply to the hotels is restricted in an effort to preserve the overall site and to allow deposits to regenerate.

Access to the terraces is not allowed and visitors are asked to follow the pathway

These locations are also well known for their travertine formations:

- Egerszalók in Hungary

- Badab-e Surt in Iran

- Mammoth Hot Springs in the USA

- Pink and White Terraces in New Zealand

- Hierve el Agua in Mexico

- The White Whale in Italy - Bagni San Filippo (Siena)

- Baishuitai in China

- Garmchashma in Tajikistan

- Tatev in Armenia

- Terme di Saturnia in Italy

- Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area, A similar UNESCO world heritage travertine cascade in China.

- Dolok Tinggi Raja in Simalungun Sumatra Indonesia

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