Our long drive to Pamukkale could have been boring with lunch at a touristic bus stop. Instead, Mahrut guided us through a delightful, colourful local market. We all picked out various items to share at a picnic.
We drove inland, up into the mountains, and Mahrut found us the perfect picnic spot. We munched on dates, nuts, bread, homemade butter, cheeses, cherries, watermelon and other treats in beautiful fresh mountain air.
The loveliest part of our visit to the market and picnic was that they were such non-tourist-bus things to do, ones we all agreed we would have done had we been travelling on our own not on a tour.
I had neither heard of nor seen pictures of Pumakkale, but on arrival I learned that apparently everyone else in the world had, and they were all here. The parking lot packed with busses and throngs of tourist groups really did not detract from our experience of Pumakkale. The thermal springs and gorgeous, chalky hillside has attracted medical tourists since ancient times, so it was not surprising that there was an archaeological site and museum as well as the opportunity to swim or dip our feet in the very warm, healing waters.
The sprawling archaeological site included a large theatre, numerous temples, a water delivery system and most importantly, the baths.
The small, gorgeous museum had a wonderful collection of Roman sculptures, some indoors. There was a map of the result of archaeological research by Prof. Dr. Francesco D’Andria envisioning the city as it was in ancient times. There were sarcophagi using garlands and columns to decoratively support the weight of the lid.
This relief shows that bull fighting was done in Roman times. (We were speculating about the origins of bull fighting while we were in Spain so this was interesting to see.)
This statue shows a female health official, an important position in this city-state.
Some relics were outside in the garden.
There was a letter from Hadrian to Hieropolis found at the site.
There also was a unique collection which had formed a frieze around the theatre, showing actors, dancers, musicians, and a costume depicting Artemis. Was she goddess of theater?
We only spent one night at the very appropriately-named “Collosae Hotel”, a large corporate-style hotel designed to move groups through this isolated area. We were able to swim in the hotel’s surprisingly uncrowded thermal spa. I had a great sleep after this lovely day.