May 05, 2008
May 09, 2009
Pamukkale is nowadays a shamelessly resorty town built next to one of the great natural wonders of the world. A river with waters very rich in calcium flowed over a gently sloped falaise several kilometers in length. The result is a blindingly white cliff face undulating for kilometers, with dozens upon dozens of shallow pools of water separated by smooth chalk walls over which water flows gently. The Romans recognized this as a wondrous place, so they built a resort town at the top of the falaise, complete with theatres, circuses, shops and brothels (not so different from these days, eh?). Hence these days as one slowly crawls up the cliff face, barefoot from one shallow pool to another, is greeted by the extensive ruins of a classical city- nowhere else have we seen something like this. Of course, like everywhere, there's drawbacks- for one thing the water has been drying up lately, so the place is not as spectacular as it used to be. The other problem is the masses of rich Russians who come here and drive up the price of everything (the entrance to the site itself is about 20 dollars and a plain cheese sandwich is about 4. There is a pool with ancient Roman columns submerged underneath and it costs another 20 dollars a perso just for the privilege of swimming there - and yes it's full of rich Russians. Still, the place is worth seeing once in a lifetime...