Pummakale is nature’s answer to, “what would a water park look like, if it wasn’t made by man?”
Dozens of calcium-rich pools called travertines have formed on various hillsides in the south-west of Turkey called the Denizli Provence. The travertines are said to have formed before the 2nd century B.C. due to left-over minerals from natural hot-springs in the area, which are also said to possess healing properties.
An ancient Greek city called Hierapolis was constructed above the springs sometime during the early 3rd century B.C. so the locals could utilise and bath in the natural warm water.
Tourism has boomed in the area, thanks to the natural travertines and the discovery of the ancient city of Hierapolis since the 1950s. However, as hotels and recreational vehicles began to tear through the place, many of the travertines were destroyed. Before the hotels were built the water in the travertines was crystal clear and projected an amazing blue shimmer reflected from the sky above. A decade later and a lot of the underground water was being siphoned by the hotels for their own use, which caused many of the travertines to become dry and yellow as they collected dust.
Eventually the travertines and the ancient Greek city of Hierapolis were declared a world heritage listed site and every hotel in the area was demolished and recreational vehicles were no longer permitted in the area. Today, people can still walk and bath in the travertines, but they’re not allowed to wear shoes. Most of the damage from the travertines that survived seem to be pretty-much back-to-health now.
If you ask me, you shouldn’t be allowed to mess with them at all. I managed to take some great photos by walking around them, instead of traipsing through them.
After being blown-away by the travertines, I ventured over to the ancient city of Hierapolis. My first stop being the necropolis.
I’m a big fan of ancient necropolises. Mainly due to the fact that they are ancient burial grounds and I like to wonder and write about what happens to our souls after we die. There are over 1200 graves located in the necropolis of Hierapolis and it’s pretty-much the most preserved one of its kind in Turkey.
Because it was off-season and because Lorna was pretty sick that day and stayed at the hotel, I was entirely alone for a few hours as I traipsed around the nearly two-kilometer ancient spectacle. I witnessed four different grave sites.
The common site.
The Sarcophagi (special marble-engraved type tombs, many of which have been stolen, but there are still some in the museum).
Circular Tumuli (containing deep chambers inside) and the family tombs.
It must have taken a bit of time to first build the tombs and Sarcophagi, then cart them to the burial site, then put the deceased inside. And the people these things were being made for, must have been pretty special, for some reason.
Although it felt a little eery and . . . scary (pretend I didn’t just say that), I climbed down and half-into some of the bigger tombs, through their dark holes to have a look inside and feel for paranormal energy.
I’m one of those guys who only believes things that he can see with his own eyes, so . . . while sticking my heads into the tombs, I asked, “Is anyone here?”
After no-answer I said, “I want to know what happens to you after you die? Any takers?”
And, maybe their souls were too busy exploring the rest of the marvelous universe, or, maybe I wasn’t special-enough to be told the answer, but not one sound http://healthlibr.com ommited from the dark depths and no one from the other side could be bothered helping me out that day on little ol’ planet Earth. Still, it was worth a shot.
Next up I visited the ancient theatre, which was created and then destroyed in the early parts of the 1st century. Apparently it was rebuilt a number of times, all the way up to the 4th century.
Back then, of course, if you wanted to be entertained, you couldn’t just switch on the tele, watch a movie or play a computer game or get on the internet . . . you couldn’t go out to a pub or a football match. If you wanted entertainment or companionship, you visited the public baths to have a gossip or went to see a performance at the theatre. It was the place to be seen and/or take care of business.
I then checked out the various other ruins including the Plutonium, Nymphaeum, Martyrium . . .
Before finally ending up at the Antique Pool and Cleopatra’s Pool. Apparently thousands of people used to flock to Heriapolis in the first few centuries just to use the pools to cure on-going health problems. Although the water is still naturally heated from the Earth below, it was a shame to see it so modernized and “public-pool” templated. I decided it was a modern-day con-job and kept my fifteen-bucks in my pocket, rather than hand it over for a quick dip.
Who knows, maybe it really was a fountain of youth and could cure all my aches and pains? I doubt it, but.
With such a full-on day and because I spent so much time scrounging around in the necropolis, I only just made the bus to take me back to Salcuk.
The tour guide had said, “We’re leaving at 4:15 p.m!”
At 4:14 p.m. I hopped on the bus and it took off. They weren’t messing around. It took about three hours to drive back to Selcuk. In hindsight, especially because we were heading for Fethiye next, I think it would have been better to stay closer to Pummakale and Hierapolis, instead of doubling-back. But . . . sometimes you have to learn the hard way.
The next day Lorna was better (albeit a little sad from missing the day-trip) and we hopped on a bus headed for Fethiye. Most of it was spent driving nearly two hours toward Pummakale. Still, there are worse things to do than travel around on a bus a few times on the same road in Turkey. I was really starting to get used to the place, put it that way.
Rob Kaay is an Australian author and musician.
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