After taking a train back to Munich, we caught the next day's flight to Istanbul. We spent a day viewing the Blue Mosque, the underground Roman cistern, and the Museum of Islamic and Turkish Decorative Arts. No new pics of that stuff (see earlier blogs), though my mom took a thousand. Next, we took a train to Ankara, spent a few days' respite there...took my mom to Ulus, to Anit Kabir (Ataturk's final resting place), and the Museum of Anatolian Civilization. After re-energizing, we hopped in the car for the Aegean Coast, to new sites for me: Pammukale, Hierapolis, Aphrodisias, and Ephesus.
First stop: Pammukale and Hierapolis
Pammukkale means “Cotton Castle” in Turkish. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a geological fairyland. A spring saturated with calcium carbonate surged over a plateau for a millennia, creating stalagmatic feet, terraces, and water lilies of calcium carbonate.
On the top of the hill above Pammukkale sits Hierapolis, the ruins of an ancient city founded by a Pergamene king in 2nd century BC. The Pergamenes preceded the Roman Empire and were known for laying a solid administration foundation, a value for education, and a high level of artistic and intellectual culture. This was a great boost for the Roman Empire. When the Romans incorporated Hierapolis into their Empire, development proceeded apace, and a health spa was created. To this day, the waters of Pamukkale are reputed for their therapeutic properties, and spas and thermal baths can be found throughout the area.