Thursday 11 January 2024

Pamukkale and a Caravanserai

We set off early on a very long drive today. We covered 422 miles with the first stop being at the Sultanhani Seljuk Caravanserai. 

It was built in 1229 and has just recently been beautifully restored. Basically a Caravanserai is a safe place for travellers and traders to stay overnight when travelling along the silk routes between the Far East and Constantinople.

The silk routes covered thousands of miles and roughly every 25 miles there was a Caravanserai, which was the distance that could be covered in one day.  There are spaces for the traders to sleep, for their animals to stay, for them to pray and to eat and drink, all safely within a fortified building.

After that our journey was far, far further than the ancient traders could manage, and by late afternoon we reached Pamukkale. 

I have had to consult Wikipedia yet again for more geological advice, or maybe this time it might be chemistry. Anyway, Pamukkale is the site of a carbonate mineral left by the flowing of a hot thermal spring. Dripping slowly down the mountainside the minerals form natural pools and mineral terraces.

From a distance it looks like a snow covered mountain rising up out of the green countryside. 

The water comes out of the spring at about 30 degrees centigrade and obviously that is a great temperature for a paddle. 

What they don't tell you is how slippery and sharp the rocks are on bare feet, and also if you sit down on it, how difficult it is to get the white salty stuff off your jeans. 

The site was discovered by ancient peoples, and a temple was built there over 2,000 years ago by the Greeks. It was eventually abandoned after about 1,000 years because of frequent earthquakes that damaged all of their buildings. Our guide talked at length about the occupants, but I think that our whole tour group just spent almost the whole allotted free time playing about in the water. 

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