The Thermal Hot Springs of Hierapolis
Trip Start Mar 28, 2014
17Trip End Apr 13, 2014
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The morning "lecture" was about St Nicholas who happened to be born in the 4th century in Petara, Turkey and was the bishop of nearby Myra. He is the patron saint of Russia and when Russians visit Turkey they usually visit his shrine.
We also learned about Turkey's attempt to become part of the European Union, the history of Cyprus and what happened during WW1 regarding the Armenians in Eastern Turkey.
By this time it was time for lunch. We stopped for a delightful outdoor lunch under some shade trees at the tennis club in Pamukkale
Then it was on the see the ruins of Hierapolis and the famous thermal hot springs that are part of it. Hierapolis was first founded as a thermal spa in the 2nd century BC. Originally settled by Jewish families it reached an estimated population of 50,000 by 62BC. It was later taken over by the Romans. St Paul had a church built here. He mentions Heirapolis in his letter to the Colossians (4: 12-13) and St. Philip was crucified here. Several earthquakes destroyed the city but it was rebuilt each time.
The city covers a very large area. The main street is almost 1 mile long. There are the ruins of a Greek/Roman theater here that seated 15,000 people. Because of the thermal spas it was commonly visited by people "seeking the cure". Because not all were cured there is a large cemetery extending 1.5 miles where over 1200 tombs were located. Many can still be seen. Also because of the thermal hot springs there was a very large Roman bath facility which is now a museum. Although the site is very large it is not as impressive as what we saw at Perge.
The thermal springs and the "white terraces of Pamukkale" the main attractions of the area. They are similar to the thermal springs you see at Yellowstone but on a larger scale. From a distance it looks like a white snow field. It is limestone containing calcium carbonate, which gives the area its white color. Unfortunately because of decreased water flow there are not as many pools with flowing water anymore. People wander through the warm water pools in shorts and swim suits. There is a large swimming pool where people can swim in the thermal waters for a small fee.