Off Season at Pamukkale, Turkey’s Cotton Castle
No, you’re not seeing things. We are not completely off season.
We ARE surrounded by mountains of white “snow,” and wading around in what you would think are freezing pools of icy cold water. And yet…we’re comfortably wearing shorts and t-shirts, have red, sweaty faces, and if I recall correctly, the temperature that day reached a searing 44 degrees Celsius.
What you’re seeing is not actually snow. It’s travertine – a sedimentary rock deposited from the 17 springs of hot water, that have surrounded Turkey’s Pamukkale area for millennia.
The otherworldly landscape is formed when hot water from the source of the springs travels down a 320 meter long canal, and falls into terraces. Because the water from those springs is supersaturated with calcium carbonate, over time, it hardens and forms into the improbable-looking Pamukkale terraces, otherwise known in Turkish, as the Cotton Castle.
The Cotton Castle, along with the ancient ruins of Hierapolis, that sit at the top of the terraces were proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988.
The sparkly crystallized travertine, with it’s descending terraces of cool, blue basins created an unreal landscape, that remain one of the weirdest and most wonderful places we’ve ever visited.
Have you visited Pamukkale? or another otherworldly landscape? Tell us all about it in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.