Pamukkale Trip from Antalya – History Nature Culture Travel

As the sun kisses the turquoise shores of Antalya, beckoning travelers to embark on an adventure, a timeless allure awaits those who dare to explore. Today, let’s embark on a journey that transcends the ordinary – a Pamukkale trip from Antalya that promises a tapestry woven with threads of history, nature’s wonders, and the vibrant tapestry of Turkish culture.

The mere mention of “Pamukkale Trip from Antalya” evokes a sense of anticipation, as if whispered by the winds that have swept across civilizations and whispered secrets to the ancient stones beneath our feet. Beyond the bustling streets of Antalya, a world of marvels unfolds, inviting us to trace the footsteps of those who came before us.

Travertines of Pamukkale

Pamukkale Trip from Antalya

Nature, with its masterful strokes, has painted a surreal canvas at Pamukkale, where terraces of travertine cascade like frozen waterfalls, echoing the whispers of millennia-old thermal waters. These terraces, known as the “Cotton Castle,” are not merely geological wonders but living testimonies to the forces that shaped this region, leaving behind a tableau that captivates the senses.

Yet, our journey extends beyond the geological wonders. Pamukkale is a living museum, where ancient Hierapolis rises from the past like a phoenix. The ruins, steeped in history, narrate tales of Roman baths, theaters, and agora, echoing with the laughter of ancient civilizations. It’s as if the stones themselves are storytellers, weaving narratives of triumphs, defeats, and the passage of time.

Pamukkale Travertines Description

In Pamukkale the water at 35.6°C is recommended for the treatment of various medical conditions following a doctor’s examination. Suitable for conditions such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, rheumatism, rickets, paralysis, skin, eye, nervous system, vascular diseases, vascular inflammation, and Raynaud’s disease, the thermal waters of Pamukkale offer a therapeutic sanctuary. Additionally, when consumed warm, the water is advised for alleviating stomach spasms, promoting diuresis, and treating inflammations, kidney stones, and bladder stones.

The waters that create the Pamukkale Travertines have established Pamukkale as a significant and unique destination in thermal tourism. The geography surrounding Pamukkale, specifically the Çürüksu (Lykos) Valley, boasts thermal springs with distinctive properties. For millennia, people have utilized thermal water for medicinal purposes, constructing functional and elaborate baths in these areas. The renown of Hierapolis’ thermal springs spread across Anatolia during the Roman era, drawing patients seeking healing to this location. The city evolved into a medical center with its spas, where patients would temporarily or permanently reside for treatment. In the Roman necropolis, graves of patients who came from outside the city and stayed until the end of their lives can be found.

In the ancient world, religious ceremonies were conducted in places where thermal sources were present, and festivals were organized with public participation. State officials and the wealthy preferred these areas for treatment. Research indicates that treatments were administered by religious figures and physicians. Today, within the area of the ancient city of Hierapolis, the joy and happiness of swimming in thermal waters, surrounded by historical structures, are unparalleled. The waters emerging from karstic areas that form the travertines have sedimented due to the dissolution of lime in their composition, evaporation, and the separation of carbon dioxide in the water. Generally white and resembling heaps of cotton, these calcareous tuffs constitute the Pamukkale travertines.

The therapeutic properties of Pamukkale’s thermal water have been understood since ancient times, and centuries later, its healing qualities have been scientifically proven. Listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and carefully preserved, Pamukkale offers visitors numerous alternative treatment opportunities with its healing thermal waters.

Pamukkale Hierapolis Ancient City

Pamukkale Trip from Antalya

Pamukkale, a place nearly ubiquitous in the lists of must-see locations before one’s demise, attracts around 2 million tourists each year with its captivating charm. It stands as a testament to nature’s artistic prowess, where the interaction of thermal waters with the air gives rise to cascading white travertines, resembling frozen waterfall-like terraces and occasionally forming terraced pool-like structures. The discovery of Pamukkale’s allure dates back to the Roman Period.

Adjacent to the Pamukkale Travertines, standing in all its grandeur, is the majority of the ruins of the Pamukkale Hierapolis Ancient City from the same period. Alongside these unparalleled travertines, these remnants are listed on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List.

Pamukkale is sure to enchant you at first sight. Even 2000 years ago, the Kingdom of Pergamon could not resist this allure and constructed the Hierapolis City next to the travertines. During this era, Hierapolis served as a thermal health center, attracting individuals seeking health and beauty from different parts of Anatolia for thousands of years. Today, the pursuit of beauty and health continues as visitors still indulge in the therapeutic hot springs. You can immerse yourself in the waters where the ancient world’s people swam thousands of years ago and witness the magnificent panorama of the travertines. However, this natural beauty, shaped over thousands of years, is quite delicate. Therefore, it can only be explored and entered in specific areas. Those who wish to stay longer in Pamukkale and benefit from its healing waters can stay in thermal facilities near the ancient city and travertines, enjoying massages, thermal waters, and mud baths.

Hierapolis Ancient City

Hierapolis Ancient City has remarkably well-preserved to reach us today. During its time as a thermal center, the Roman Bath, which we can confidently say was frequently visited, is now used as an archaeological museum. Sculptures and other remnants unearthed during excavations in Hierapolis and its surrounding areas can be seen here. Structures such as the ancient theater, temples, monumental fountains, tombs, agora, and gymnasium are in excellent condition, making you feel like you’re in the city of 2000 years ago. Stories about Plutonium, believed to be the entrance to hell during the Roman Period, especially fascinate visitors.

Hierapolis is also a sacred place in terms of Christianity. The most significant reason for this sanctity is the martyrdom of St. Philip, one of Jesus’ 12 apostles, who was killed here, and his tomb is located in this city. The Martyrium, built by palace architects in the 5th century, is one of the holy structures of Christianity, housing a baptismal font and bishop’s ceremonial spaces.

Hierapolis Ancient City is located 17 kilometers north of Denizli. Its designation as the “Holy City” in archaeological literature comes from the many known temples and other religious structures in the city. The geographical location of Hierapolis places it among various historical regions. According to ancient geographers Strabo and Ptolemy, who provide information, the proximity to the cities of Laodikeia and Tripolis, which border the Caria region, suggests that Hierapolis was a Phrygian city. The name of the city before it was called Hierapolis in ancient times is not known. It is known that there was life in the city before it was called Hierapolis due to the cult of the Mother Goddess. Although information about the founding of the city is limited, it is known that it was founded in the early 2nd century BCE by II. Eumenes of the Kingdom of Pergamon and took the name Hierapolis because of the Amazon queen Hiera, the wife of the legendary founder of Pergamon, Telephos.

Hierapolis adhered to the principles of Hellenistic urbanization until the great earthquake during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero (AD 60). The city, located on an earthquake fault line, suffered significant damage from the earthquake and was completely renovated. After successive earthquakes, the city lost all its Hellenistic characteristics and took on the appearance of a typical Roman city.

Hierapolis remained a significant center in the Byzantine period after the Roman period. This importance stems from becoming a metropolis for Christianity in the 4th century (AD 4th century) and, in the 80s AD, the martyrdom of St. Philip, one of Jesus’ apostles. After Christianity became the official religion in the 4th century, a martyrdom was built in the place where St. Philip was killed in honor of him.

Sections of Hierapolis Ancient City

Hierapolis Theater

Hierapolis Theater: The large structure is built on four vaulted galleries. The steep cavea is divided into two by the diazoma, and nine cunei are vertically arranged, with the Summa cavea gallery and eight steps. The middle part of Ima cavea (lower steps) is arranged as a marble exedra for proedria, with high-backed, lion-footed seats for important figures in the city. The stage building has a logeion and a large backstage, connected to the skene. The skene has a three-order marble monolith columned podium with a frieze dedicated to Apollo and Artemis. This magnificent structure was built in the 3rd century AD during the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus, encompassing and destroying the previous phase (Flavian Period). It was used until the Late Roman Period, as indicated by a repair inscription dated 352 AD under the lower side of the architrave.

Great Bath

Great Bath Complex: Today, traces indicate that the interior spaces of the structure, of which the massive walls and some vaults have survived, were covered with marble. The plan of the bath is similar to other typical Roman baths. There is a large courtyard at the entrance, a closed rectangular area with large halls on both sides, and later, the main bath structure. The ruins of the bath complex date back to the 2nd century AD. The vaulted enclosed spaces adjacent to the large hall are now used as a museum.

Frontinus Street: Due to its architectural features, this 14-meter-wide street (plateia), thought to have been built with the gate, forms the main street of the city.

Agora: After the earthquake of AD 60, the Frontinus Street was rearranged into the Hierapolis Trade Agora in a large area of change between the slopes of the eastern hill.

North Byzantine Gate: Included in the city’s wall system, the North Gate dates back to the end of the 4th century AD.

South Byzantine Gate: Built in the 4th century AD, it is made of travertine blocks and recycled materials containing marble.

Gymnasium: A part of an architrave with an inscription indicating that the structure is a gymnasium draws attention.

Triton Fountain Building: Along with the fountain building near the Apollo Temple, Triton Fountain Building is one of the two large monumental buildings in the city.

Ionian Capital House: The house is located on a secondary long road leading to the theater. The original structure is dated to the 2nd century AD.


Latrine: This structure, which collapsed in the earthquake, has reached the present day in ruins. There is a channel on the floor of the long space that carries sewage to the canalization on the street. Along the inner wall, there is a bench made for sitting, and there is a clean water channel in front of the channel carrying dirty water for sanitary needs.

Apollo Sacred Area: The monumental structure is dedicated to the most important god of Hierapolis. The inner part indicated on the podium was previously described as a temple, but later studies revealed that it was a center of prophecy.

Aqueducts and Nymphaeums: Two aqueducts made up of channels built on the surrounding hills provide drinking water to the city.

Plutonium: The entrance to Plutonium is on the right side of the temple.

Walls: In the 5th century AD, as in other cities of the Roman Empire, Hierapolis was surrounded by walls in the north, south, and east directions in accordance with a law issued in 396 AD.


Cathedral: One of the most important Christian cult structures of Hierapolis. The structure opens to the plateia with a narthex and atrium. Entering the baptismal area from the right door, a square-planned, apsed area divided into three naves with columns is reached. In the apsed part, there is a round baptismal font with marble-clad plates and stairs on both sides. A water channel was built in front of the channel carrying dirty water for sanitary needs.

St. Philip Martyrium: In addition to being a source of healing with the unique thermal waters of Hierapolis, it has also been considered a sacred city in both pagan and Christian periods. This is due to the fact that St. Philip, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus, was crucified and killed here in the 80s AD when he came to spread Christianity to Hierapolis. After Christianity became the official religion in the 4th century, a martyrdom was built in the place where St. Philip was killed in his honor. The structure, built as a religious and spiritual treatment center, has an octagonal plan. In the middle marble-covered area, there is the tomb of St. Philip. There are small chapels in the structure for prayer. The base of the octagonal section is marble, the base of the corridor and connected sections is covered with plant motif mosaic, and the base of the rooms’ floor is travertine, while the floor of the external rooms where the public stays is compressed earth. Today, many churches still celebrate the feast of St. Philip and organize ceremonies.

Cleopatra Pool

Cleopatra Pool

This is the Ancient Pool, also known as the Cleopatra Pool, in the city of Hierapolis, dating back to the 2nd century BC. The site, which is under UNESCO protection and on the World Cultural Heritage List, is located within the Ancient City of Hierapolis, in the area just above the Pamukkale Travertines. You should definitely experience this pool during your visit to Pamukkale.

Formation of Hierapolis Ancient Pool

Formation of Hierapolis Ancient Pool

In the 7th century AD, an earthquake opened a hole in the middle of the city, caught the beautiful columns of the city and threw them into it, and when the free thermal waters filled it, this Ancient Pool was formed. Since Hierapolis and its surroundings were like a health center / spa even during the Roman Empire Period, it has been a common belief since that time that the water of the Ancient Pool was good for some skin and circulation problems. Therefore, it is not possible for such a natural, healing and at the same time aesthetic pool to be unpopular. It is claimed that even the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra heard the praises of this pool and came here. It got its name from here. Since the pool is fed by thermal waters, the temperature in summer and winter is 36 degrees, which is the optimal body temperature.

Transportation to Pamukkale – Pamukkale Trip from Antalya

Transportation options include;

  • You can visit the region with a guide, thanks to the tourism agencies that organize tours. You can compare price offers.
  • If you would like to visit with your private vehicle, you can create a route by getting directions from the map below.
  • You can visit Pamukkale from Antalya with a car rental service with a driver, by getting an offer from travel agencies (with a personal guide).
  • The average transfer time from Antalya to Pamukkale is 3-3.5 hours and 230 km.

Culture, which is a living part of Turkey’s rich fabric, is evident in the warm smiles of the local people, the aroma of traditional Turkish cuisine and the echoes of traditional music dancing in the air. When passing from Antalya to Pamukkale, we do not just pass through physical landscapes, you step into a cultural kaleidoscope that enriches the soul.

You can visit the category for other culture and nature tours.

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