Tag Archives: Pamukkale

Nothing to oppose

From Jim…


We are in Pamukkale, Turkey, site of the ancient city of Hierapolis with healing thermal springs, Roman and Byzantine ruins, the sarcophagus of Marcus Aurelius, and the Martyrium, where St. Philip was killed.

Philip (see above -red cloak) was with Jesus when they miraculously fed a hungry multitude, starting out with only two fish and five loaves of bread. The “feeding of the 5000” is the only story, besides Jesus’ Resurrection, that is included in all four Gospels (Mathew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:31-44; John 6:5-15).

In the 5th century, the Martyrium was an important Christian pilgrimage destination. We will take you on a similar pilgrimage and explain how you can benefit from it.

We climb the hill where the warm spring water leaves calcium carbonate deposits, making the ground hard and white. Visitors are required to walk barefoot so as not to cause ecological damage — even though the…

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Pamukkale to Ölüdeniz

12/13 – Our transport worked like magic this morning – as we left our pension for the bus stop in Pamukkale, a dolmus pulled up and the driver asked if we wanted a ride to Denizli. Yes! Getting out of the dolmus at the Denizli bus station (otogar) 20 minutes later, we were just asking the driver where to buy our next ticket when a man came over to say the bus to Fethiye was just leaving – did we want to jump on? Yes!

The bus had to climb some serious mountains to get to Fethiye. Here’s what we saw out the bus window:




Four hours later, we arrived in Fethiye, right in front of a cafe where we had a delicious traditional lunch of gözleme – pancakes filled with spinach and feta cheese.






We asked where to catch a dolmus to Ölüdeniz. Right on the corner! In 10 minutes we were on our way, and I turned on my GPS to see how far we would have to walk from the town center to get to our new apartment. The dolmus was going right down our street, so we yelled Dur! (Stop!) and he let us off right at our front door!

So here we are in a sunny apartment with our own kitchen, right down the road from a produce market, a butcher and a Wishy Washy. Who could ask for more?


Here’s the view from our balcony:


We’ll be spending the next month or so in southern Turkey, hiking, relaxing and hiding from winter as much as we can. Stay tuned!

Pamukkale – Travertine and the Apostle Philip

12/12 – Woke up to the patter of rain on the roof, after a rocky night’s sleep (there is an honest-to-god disco next door to our hotel, and the Turkish hits just kept coming until 2am!). We contemplated changing our plans for the day, but while we were eating breakfast (olives, tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, bread and a boiled egg) the sun came out. Yay! It’s off to the thermal pools!

The thermal pools put Pamukkale on the map. Tourists come year round to take off their shoes and walk up a hill of white travertine while their toes experience pools of water ranging from icy cold to steamy hot. image

Here’s where you must take your shoes off:image

It was a chilly morning (55 degrees), but this is not snow – the hill is made of calcium carbonate deposited by the water from the pools.imageimage

Although the sky was turning increasingly gray, the pools were a lovely shade of blue.image imageimage

The farther up we walked, the warmer the water became until steam was rising above the pools. image

At the top of the travertine is the start of the ruins of Hierapolis, which means Sacred City. These ruins are not as extensive as those in Ephesus, and showed less white marble, but had many similar features. There were no crowds at all. image


The sky was quickly turning dark, so we made a beeline for the top of the hill, to see the tomb of the Apostle Philip, just discovered in 2011.

Here is the tomb, made of white travertine block:image


The Church of the Sepulcher was erected around the tomb in honor of Philip in the 5th century.

In addition to the church, there is a martyrion, which contained 36 little cells around the outside. Pilgrims slept in one of the cells overnight, and healing would occur while they slept. I’d never heard of this. Here is the picture from the descriptive sign at the site:

As we contemplated Philip’s resting place, the sky opened and the rain poured down. It was a cold and slippery walk back down the hill.

Selçuk to Pamukkale

12/11 – So long, Selçuk! We loved your ruins and your Roman aquaduct still standing in the middle of town.




We loved your little museum that showed what Ephesus looked like in its prime, and that jewelry hasn’t changed much in 4000 years.


We loved your town square filled with old men sipping tea and playing cards and Okey from morning ’til night.image

We weren’t so crazy about your pension with spotty wifi and no hot water…

This morning we walked down to the bus station to catch the 9am dolmus to
Pamukkale. There are several different bus companies in competition – one offers free wifi, one offers a free cup of tea enroute. We got a quote of 30 lira from one, and 35 from another, and haggling commenced. We were entering one ticket office when a guy swooped in and said he was a friend of the guy in the office, who really wanted us to take his bus instead.

We eventually got on a mini bus with a small tour group on their way to Pamukkale. We got to hear the tour guide’s patter for free during the three hour ride. Did you know there is no such thing as a green olive tree and a black olive tree? Pick in September to get green olives, and in December to get black! The first press of the olives gives you the virgin olive oil, the second press gives you oil to make soaps and hand creams, then you gather up the pits and sell them for fuel – they burn cleaner than charcoal. Who knew?

By afternoon, we were in Pamukkale, eating kebabs with shoes off, Turkish style, in a local restaurant, with a local cat to keep us company.

Sorry to say, we did not order the lamb chomps!image

Pamukkale is where tourists flock in the warmer months to bathe in the hot springs and walk on the calcium carbonate travertine. We will certainly do some of that, but are here for another reason as well. In 2011, the martyrion and tomb of the Apostle Philip was uncovered here in the excavations of the ancient city of Hierapolis. Now (you may be saying) didn’t we already see the tomb of Philip in Rome? Well, yes we did. The Church of the Apostles claims to host the remains of both Philip and James the Just, and commemorates them both in a single tomb. But if the original tomb of Philip is here, we intend to see it tomorrow!