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The ‘Cotton Castle’ of Pamukkale

Pamukkale is, quite simply, like no other place on earth. It is a unique and important site where nature and history combine to offer a holiday destination that re-defines the over-used expression ‘must-see’.

From natural springs high up on the side of a 200m cliff, water laden with calcite deposits from deep underground has been cascading down for centuries. The heavily mineralised waters have formed an ‘other-worldly’ landscape of step-like terraces, petrified waterfalls, stalactites and pools, all with a snow-white, calcium coating that dazzles in the strong Turkish sunshine for a visual effect that is nothing short of stunning!

Pamukkale means ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish and it’s easy to see why the name was given to the steeply terraced hillside with its bright, white covering.

Many of the milk-white pools are deep enough for swimming, and the thermally-heated water remains at a constant 33ºC, so there’s no chance of a chill, even if you visit in the off-peak season! The water is also famed for its apparent benefits for skin complaints, asthma, rheumatism – and even for the eyes – but it’s probably best to consult your doctor before relying upon a quick dip for any potential relief or cure.

It comes as no surprise that the ancient Greeks were the first to recognise the therapeutic value of the water at Pamukkale and, at the end of the 2nd century BC, they built the thermal spa of Hierapolis on this extraordinary natural site. The spa featured huge, hot basins and pools for bathing and swimming, and the ruins of the original bath-house, as well as the adjacent temples and various other monuments, can still be clearly seen – and used – today.

In 1980, Pamukkale was officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it remains one of the most important and most-visited tourist spots, not only in Turkey, but in the whole of Europe.

Driving to Pamukkale will take just over 3 hours from CLC World’s Kusadasi Golf & Spa resort. However, it is always possible to relax en route by joining one of the many daily excursions that operate from the Kusadasi area. Reception staff at the resort will be happy to advise about departure times, prices etc.

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