Have you ever been somewhere, where you had the feeling that you were on an entirely different planet? It feels simply unreal. I felt that way when visiting Pamukkale in Turkey. The landscape is simply otherworldly. Everything is white. All shades of white. From the brightest white, that you can imagine, to light shades of grey. In between you can spot turquoise and terraced pools.
If you’re not familiar with Pamukkale, let me explain to you what all my admiration of this place is about. Pamukkale is the most well known natural site of Turkey and is located near Denizli, a city in the southwestern part of Turkey. From afar it looks like the mountain is covered with snow, but you will quickly notice that this is just an illusion. This white chalky stuff that you see everywhere is made out of calcium carbonate. It originates from the hot water of the springs that keep traveling down. Overtime the calcium carbonate hardens, which results in the forms of the Pamukkale terraces. Due to its fluffy appearance, the Turkish gave it the name “cotton castle”.
First things first, you have to remove your shoes before entering the travertine. Since becoming an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988, Pamukkale is being carefully protected.
I made my first steps barefoot on the cold white ground and was surprised.
What had surprised me was the texture of the ground. There is constantly water flowing down the hill, which makes the ground look extremely slippery. However, it is not at all. The surface of the ground is kind of rough and corrugated.
When stepping into one of the shallow pools, you can feel spongy sand squished between your toes. The mud in Pamukkale is supposed to have beautifying effects.
Slowly making my way to the top, I always made sure to turn around and to look back to appreciate the stunning view of the surrounding landscape. The higher you walk, the warmer the water in the pools becomes. The sun shined bright and reflected on the white hillside even more. Sunglasses are mandatory! My shoes in one hand and my camera in the other one I tried to capture every single ankle of this amazing experience.
Right on top of Pamukkale lies the ancient Roman city of Hierapolis, which was established in the second century B.C. Back in the day, Hierapolis used to be spa town that later turned into a medical center due to the belief that the thermal springs had healing powers. Nowadays, visitors can walk through the remaining temples, ancient baths and the impressive theater.
After reaching the top, the sun started to setting in, which made this experience even more magical. The whole landscape was colored into a warmer tone. It quickly turned into one of the most spectacular sunsets that I could imagine. There it was again: That feeling that I was in a completely other world.
Pamukkale was truly one of the weirdest and most wonderful landscapes that I have ever visited until this point. When traveling to Turkey, you have to put Pamukkale on your bucket list. There is nothing quite like it in the world.
Have you ever visited a place that felt otherworldly?