• Day47

    Hieropolis, Pamukkale & Dervishes

    February 24, 2019 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    Off to the town of Pamukkale today to explore the ancient site of Hieropolis. Thousands of years ago, thousands flocked here for the healing power of the waters in the spa pools of Pamukkale. The calcium carbonate waters flowed in shallow pools, creating white cliffs that hung above the grounds below. Aside from Cappadocia, this was the part of the Turkey tour that I'd looked forward to most, having read about it before it in travel articles online.

    We started at the northern gate where few go, walking through cemeteries outside the city. Not everyone was admitted in, and likely many who were too sick, perished and were buried here. Most visitors start closer to the cliffs and only see a small part of the ruins.

    There's also a beautiful theatre in ruins here that is quite high up, those afraid of heights take heed, but the photos are so worth it.

    The waters in the pools are supposed to be heated to 28C but some of the pools had cool waters, perhaps chilled by the winter air. You need to remove your shoes and socks before walking into the area, and the ground can be either hard for your feet or slippery depending where you were. If you wear shorts or roll up your pants, you can walk through the water. Want to be more submerged? Bring your swim suit, it's not deep enough to swim but you can certainly sit in a pool and just enjoy the scenery.

    I think there's a path you can walk all the below down to the valley below, but I didn't quite have enough time as we were headed to a whirling dervish ceremony right after.

    Some would call it a whirling dervish show, but it really it more of a ceremony of prayer for those Sufi's. Solemn, you sit in silence taking in the various stages of the ceremony. In addition to the whirling, you also hear prayers and see greetings and bows from the Sufi's to Rumi's hat, a symbol for him.

    Our guide arranged with us to speak with the Sufi master after and it was interesting to hear more about the ceremony and how long it takes to master the whirling without being dizzy among other things. People can come here and study anywhere from 3-6 months or even longer. Women are also allowed to whirl, but only in front of other women.
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