The Travertine Hot Spring Terraces of Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale, Turkey is home to one of the most beautiful and interesting geological setting in the world – the travertine hot spring terraces that cascade down the hillside toward the city below. Pamukkale is located in the southwestern region of Turkey, in the Denizli Province. Pamukkale is the location of the ancient city of Hierapolis. Some of the city’s ruins are located at the top of the terraces.

Pamukkale means “Cotton Castle” in Turkish. Close examination of the area indeed looks like a wall of cotton interspersed with blue water-filled terraces. The area formed from a group of underground hot springs that flow to the surface through fissures, or cracks, in the land. The water is rich in calcium carbonate, which deposits on the surface and hardens into a form of limestone, known as travertine. Because of the flow of the water, the travertine appears as cascading cotton along the expansive hillside between the hundreds of terrace pools. The terraces are open to the public as long as you take your shoes off before bathing in the crystal blue hot spring pools. The terrace pools form in unique shapes that give the area its fantastic appearance.

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