When I first heard Cosette sing the popular song from the musical Les Miserables, I had no idea that I’d one day actually visit the cotton candy castles of her dreams. Last week though, I visited just such a place in southwestern Turkiye called: Pamukkale. Who knew Cosette was even Turkish (I thought she was supposed to be French)?

Aren't any floors for her to sweep...
Aren’t any floors for her to sweep…

Pamukkale is the site of hot springs that create travertines – sedimentary limestone deposited in concentric circles formed by the rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate near the mouth of the geyser. The location in Turkiye is perhaps the most alien looking in the world, although there are several other travertine locations including Italy, Indonesia, and the United States (Turner Falls, Lake Havasu, and Yellowstone National Park). It looks like snow, but I promise it isn’t.

The ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis was built on top of the cotton-like mountain and the citizens used the springs as a spa of sorts. Great baths were constructed with huge stone blocks and linked together for ease of use. Unfortunately, the area experienced a series of massive earthquakes – the first of which hit in AD 17 and the most recent in 1354 which destroyed the city once and for all.

Until that time, Hierapolis was populated by the Greeks, the Romans, and eventually the Ottomans. In the early 7th century, the town was attacked and ransacked by the Persians. In spite of attacks and quakes, the springs continued to draw settlers and visitors for thousands of years. There’s not much else to say really, so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Until Next Time…

-Justin

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