Sacred Pool

by wjw on May 15, 2009

You might think I’m smiling in this picture because I’m looking at Melinda’s chest. This wouldn’t be true. While I’m sure Melinda’s chest is worth smiling at, I really couldn’t see it from this angle.
I’m smiling because, Dude, I’m diving the ancient ruins of Hierapolis!
Hierapolis was an ancient spa town built on a plateau behind the white calcium cliffs of Pamukkale (“Cotton Castle”), which is the modern name for the area. “Hierapolis” either means “Sacred City,” or “We named this town after a possibly mythic woman named Hiera.” After a bad earthquake and invasions by Persians and others, the town was abandoned in the 14th Century.
Among the many hot springs in the area was this large one, which was very possibly the sacred healing spring associated with the nearby temple of Apollo, who was of course a healer himself. The pool was once surrounded by tall ornamental columns that fell in an earthquake. The columns and other structures are still there. You can pay a fee and swim among them.
This was, for me, pretty much the highlight of the trip. The spring bubbles out at maybe 95 degrees F, is heavily mineralized (which makes you buoyant), and is full of tiny bubbles which tickle and get attached to your person. I could have spent all day there, though in fact we subsequently left this little oasis and hiked up to look at the ancient Roman theater.
We were staying at a little family-run hotel in the modern town, which is built at the foot of the travertine. I wish I could remember the name of the place, because I’d recommend the hell out of it. They cooked us a lovely dinner, and afterwards we retired to our room, which had, according to the hostess, “boy linens.”
Which meant the quilts had Harrier jump jets on them! Cool!
Photo by Patricia, whose cool little digital camera was also waterproof.

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