Travelled: 298 klms from Egirdir to Pamakkale.
Visited: Sagalassos TL10pp, then Hierapolis and the Travertines in Pamakkale.
Stayed: Behind Seyir Restuarant, TL50, usual services. Fabulous pool. N37.92001, E29.11691.
Unfortunately this blog covers our visit to two ancient roman cities, so I apologise in advance.
From Egirdir we continued our journey west across Anatalia. While seemingly only a short distance on the map we head from the ancient city of Sagalassos. However our passage over the White Mountains is slow. There is little traffic but the road is a series of hairpin bends up mountains, then back down. Eventually we reach Aglasun and start winding up another steep road to the World Heritage Site, Sagalassos.
Firstly this is antithesis of Ephesus, the are no crowds, no tour buses and no souvenir sellers. A guy on the gate, some workers perhaps archeologist digging away in one corner and us. All the signage is multi-lingual including English.
One of the city gateways. Founded about 1200 BC by a warlike tribe, it developed and adopted Greek Culture and language. Capture by Alexander the Great in 333 BC. However most of what survives here is Roman.
On the upper Agora, a monument to a local benefactor. The city flourished under the Roman Empire, gained status as an important trading centre. Mind you, you would need to be a very keen trader to walk up that mountain to flog something off.
Note the necropolis behind, most of the niches were inscribed with the details of the dead, very interesting. Hard to capture a good selfie whilst wearing hats ! Despite being at 1500+ metres it’s another hot day and the sun intense.
Again on the upper Agora, the Antonine Nymphaeum, just amazing. Note the water flowing from the fountain. In front of Pam a 28 metre long trough of water about 1 metre deep. By the 4th Century AD it was a Christian/Byzentine outpost. It was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 590 AD and abandoned.
Amazing that a spring can produce this constant flow of water at this altitude.
Another gate on the lower Agora. It’s a long way to Pamakkale and it’s time to head down the mountain and continue west. There is no direct route, there are mountains and lakes to negotiate so it’s another long drive.
We arrive in Pamakkale and negotiate a campsite. It’s been a long day and this place has a fabulous pool. There are three entry points to the site but the southern gate high on the mountain opens at 6 am, so we plan an early entry so we can wander about and enjoy both Hierapolis and the Travertines before the crowds and Turkish sun take the fun out of it.
We wake with the call to prayer at 5.15 am and slowly get ourselves organised with a good coffee and fruit. The peaches and nectarines in Turkey are so good, it doesn’t matter where you get them, the supermarket or the roadside stall they are just wonderful. I get the bicycles out and we head of up the mountain just after 6 am. The picture has Pam standing at the entry gate into Hierapolis.
It’s 2.5 klms of a steep hill to the southern gate. Thank goodness for our electric bikes. This picture is for my dear sisters who love seeing Pam doing her stretches. This area beyond the columns was the city gymnasium. Hierapolis was a spa city, established in 190 BC. For Greeks, Romans and Jews it was a tourist resort, a place to enjoy the mineral rich waters of the Travertines.
The amphitheatre at Hieropolis is quite spectacular and apparently used for concerts from time to time. The sun has not risen yet and yesterday’s haze can still be seen in the valley below.
The Travertines or terraces wind there way down the mountain, it’s quite a spectacular sight glistening in the morning sun. This picture gives some perspective to the mineral rich waters from the mountain spring and its effect over thousand of years.
The aim of the exercise is to bath in the warm, mineral laden water and be rejuvenated. But Pam and I jumped in and had a good old time. The water is almost spa temperature at the top and progressively gets cooler in each pond.
We had the place to ourselves for 30 minutes before a bus load of Germans came along. They gave us funny looks and took pictures then one old fräulein stripped her gear off and it was on for young and old. By the way this is a picture of Pam, not some old fräulein.
That water is nice and warm and the flow strong. Almost lost the budgie smugglers more than once.
One of the most amazing places we have visited in our travels, Pamakkale.
We walk back to the campsite have another coffee with breakfast and pack up, we’ll pick up the bikes on our way out of town. Turkey is a big country and despite some excellent freeways it will still take us almost 5 hours to reach the Port of Bodrum on the west Aegean coast.
Michael and Pam