Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Brain freeze..

There comes a point while visiting a country with vast natural and cultural beauty that your brain gets slightly overloaded. I think we reached that point yesterday.

Pammukale is not much to look at on first inspection. A shabby town in need of many civic repairs. Cheap pensions and the typical tourist stalls line the streets as you drive into town. The bus can barely make it up the narrow, rutted roads. Our hotel was comfortable enough and we turned in after a long day on the road. In the morning we drove up to the ancient city of Heiropolis in a light rain. What one sees there is another thing entirely. This was a spa town from waaaay back. And its not hard to see why. Natural hot springs deliver a mineral broth of calcium carbonate that over thousands of years has created a kind of frozen white waterfall down the side of the mountain. It is amazing to see. Pictures don't really do it much justice.

Especially mine. Hey, it was crappy weather. So take a look at some of these pics on flickr, which are much nicer.

Alas, earthquakes have shifted the natural water flow in the area. In fact, it must get 'a bath' once a week to maintain its form, and already iron is entering the system and staining some of the formations. You cannot swim or walk on the formations except for a small section.

I'd show you a cool pic of me but the net connection here is crappy and won't upload images for some reason. Just imagine it... it's pretty cool.

Hey I got it to work...

Luckily, there is an 'Antique Pool' on site which is quite nice. There you can cavort amongst fallen Roman Columns in steamy goodness amongst fat Russian Oligarchs and rude Germans.

The ruins of the ancient city are extensive, including many stone waterways that shunted the piping hot water throughout this city. There's a small museum build into an ancient bathhouse and a large necropolis outside the walls of the city. All warrant further exploration. Alas, time did not allow. We had to push through the Taurus mountains to get to Antalya. On the list of places I would expend the time and energy to return to Hieropolis is near the top.

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