Global Conference in Istanbul, 2022 Travel

Walking carefully on slippery, ancient steps

Visitors, including YJI students, walk carefully in a Roman salt pool at Pamukkale. (YJI photo)

Pamukkale, TÜRKIYE – The Cotton Castle! Located in the Denizli province of western Türkiye, this UNESCO World Heritage site has been the traveler’s favorite for centuries.

And so with a few days to spend together after Youth Journalism International’s Global Conference, we had to make the trip to this ancient site of beauty.

In addition to housing the natural landscape caused by the calcite-filled waters, Pamukkale is home to the ancient city of Hierapolis and its hot springs.

The Roman theater at Pamukkale. (Bilge Güven/YJI)
The temple of Dionysus at Pamukkale. (Bilge Güven/YJI)

In the foreground, the calcite covered ground and the city of Denizli in the background. (Bilge Güven/YJI)

It was my first time in Pamukkale, though I had wanted to visit since I learned of its existence as a kid.

The rocky surface. (YJI photo)

From afar, the white terrains of calcite look rather like soft clouds, stacked on top of one another, hence the title Pamukkale, which translates to “Cotton Castle.”

Due to years of erosion and pollution from tourism, stepping on the whole surface area of the cotton-candy-looking steps is not permitted. But we did get to walk atop the accessible part of the pearly steps.

My inner child was quite disappointed that the surface did not in fact feel like cotton candy but rather textured and solid.

Walking on the smooth yet hard parts was quite a challenge to avoid slipping and falling on one’s behind. 

It is quite a funny exercise to imagine all the ancient people who lived in this city experiencing the same thing, presumably on the daily.

After we toured the natural landscape, we proceeded into the ancient city of Hierapolis, home of Greco-Roman architecture.

After taking the history all in with our eyes, we decided to go further and dip our toes in the ancient waters. We swam in the hot healing spring, with ancient columns and other artifacts beneath our feet

It was truly a humbling and astonishing experience to be surrounded by such natural beauty as well as incredible history.

Bilge Güven is a Senior Correspondent with Youth Journalism International.

Top: author Bilge Güven at Pamukkale with the YJI flag with YJI’s Regina López, Burak Sanel and Owen Ferguson. Below, she is in the center of the pool with Burak Sanel and Regina López as they swim among the ruins of Pamukkale’s ancient Roman columns. (YJI photos)

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Parnian Shahsavary/YJI

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