Pamukkale – A Land of Surreal Landscapes and Strange Tourists


We went to Pamukkale for the surreal landscapes and the Roman ruins. Although very beautiful and interesting, we found the tourists to be more entertaining.

Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle,” is a white cliff face formed by the calcified deposits of mineral waters that rush from the springs. Scattered about are rock pools of turquoise water, filled with tourists doing weird things.

We began our exploration at the south entrance with a walk up a sloping trail, through warm mineral waters, past artificial baths filled with beautiful girls posing for photos, past obese men in speedos, and women in bikinis who should not be wearing bikinis. Down below, terraces filled with light blue water offer a glimpse of what the place looked like before being altered by man. I’d love to have seen in its natural state, but I’d have to travel back in time 2200 years in order to do so.

Hierapolis, the ruined Roman city atop the terraces, might have been the original spa town. For thousands of years, people have traveled here to bathe in the mineral waters. Today, the ruins are an afterthought for most visitors who come to party in the pools. I think Hierapolis is okay with that. What other ruins do people visit in bikinis and swimsuits? Where else do men walk around shirtless and girls pose for photos in ancient amphitheaters while wearing next to nothing? Nearby Efes may be more renowned, the forum in Rome might have more history, but Hierapolis is the cool kid of ruins.

20131017-135701.jpg This may end up being my best photo of this trip. On the left we have a bride-to-be posing for photos, on the right we have a man evidently worried about keeping the sun off his face.

20131017-135932.jpg I am not quite sure what these girls were doing. Trying to look hot? Posing for a photos?

20131017-140127.jpg Muslim women enjoying the mineral waters. I wonder what she thinks of the naked Russian girls there?

20131017-140229.jpg The result of trying to be sneaky while taking someones photo. I didn’t want to look creepy. Note: I probably did look creepy.

20131017-140345.jpg A beautiful, unadulterated area of the terraces.

20131017-140534.jpg Touring ruins in bikinis and swim trunks. This has to be the only place in the Middle East where this happens.

The manmade pools.


She is mistaking this for an SI Swimsuit Issue shoot.

20131017-140812.jpg A glorious sunset atop the travertines.

20131017-141018.jpg Sunset and moonrise above the pools.

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Currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I travel, write, take photos, and stalk street cats. ~

14 thoughts on “Pamukkale – A Land of Surreal Landscapes and Strange Tourists”

  1. Great and interesting photos. A thumbs up for them, but your images didn’t open on the iPad but i was intrigued and they opened on the mac air. Might like to check that because your other ones have come through on other posts. Interesting tag – fat tourists!

    • In the last year I’ve been to Disney and now Pamakulle. I am afraid “fat tourists” may be a theme.

      Thank you for letting me know about the photos. I am using an Ipad while traveling and having loads of trouble with the apps. I may have to clean it all up when I return.

  2. wow… what a lovely place, lovely pic. kudos photographer,” tourists doing weird things” ha ha ha ha…… make your trip to the beach, most so african beach safaris you will be more amazed. i love tourists way of life

  3. Fascinating…
    I’ve tried the sneaky photo taking thing too, but not usually of a girl in a bikini. You probably did look creepy…. 🙂

    Great pics as usual!

    • Sneaky photography is a little creepy at times. I should have been more bold – I saw unspeakable bodies in bikinis there. This post could have been epic.

  4. Beautiful place and funny photos. Siwa and the white dessert (limestone windswept lumps in the dessert and limestone ‘waves’ on the ground) in Eqypt is probably the most surreal landscape I have been to – definitely no bikini clad women there. Well worth a trip if you are ever in Egypt though I know that may be unlikely for the moment…

    • I went to Siwa about 5 years ago. That is a very bizarre landscape. Agreed – no bikinis there. Women even hide their faces!

      Thanks for commenting. I’ll check out your post.

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  7. stunning images, really! what was the temperature when you were there? that hot that a lot of bikini girls? the surface looks icy, though.

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