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Photographer's Note

Pamukkale (cotton castle or fortress Cotton) is a Turkish village in the valley Curuksu (in ancient times known as the Valley of Lycos), about 18 km from Denizli.

Pamukkale hot springs flow from Cal Dagi mountain slopes in western Anatolia, Turkey. Water at 37 ° C is rich in dissolved calcium salts, which precipitate to fall into the valley like a series of cascades. On the slopes of a hill, thresholds are formed, creating semicircular and elliptical thermal water pools in the form of terraces. This process has been continuing uninterrupted for more than 14,000 years. These structures in Roman times were called trawertynami and are now called travertines. Most look like snow, but some have a yellowish or brown tint.

You may have seen photos of this incredible place - bright white formations protruding and “dripping” from the mountainside, filled with shimmering blue water. Those photos of pristine white terraces were taken in the 1980s. I was surprised to see in photos that people walking around with shoes, bathing and washing themselves with soap and shampoo in the pools and riding bikes and motorbikes up and down the slopes....I wondered whether the formations don’t get dirty?! Thermal water was also diverted for the nearby “thermal hotels,” causing to water flow to the terraces to cease.

Finally, someone figured out that their main attraction was no longer attractive, and things are now being done to try to restore the site to its former glory. When the area was declared a World Heritage Site, a National Park was created to protect the travertine. Built on top of the slope, the numerous hotels which had contributed to the gradual drying of thermal water sources and increasing environmental degradation were demolished. In 1997 the road leading to the natural terraces was closed. A road ramp they had been inexplicably built into the terraces in the 1980’s has been turned into artificial pools. This area is the only place open for tourists to walk through, but barefooted. Water released from the spring is now controlled and distributed only to a few pools at a time, in an effort to allow the pools natural white appearance to be maintained. The flow of water (quantity and place of flow) is regulated by the park staff in order to evenly supply the natural and artificial pools. The calcium content of flowing water is so high that it can cover the sediment thickness of 1 mm area of approximately 4.9 km2 per year.

The terraces look gorgeous with the turquoise pools of water

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7852 W: 324 N: 16061] (56760)
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