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Cotton Castle

What image would your mind conjure up when you hear the term "cotton castle"?  

I have been scanning my mother- and father-in-law's slides, converting them to a digital format.  My in-laws were in Turkey from 1958-1962 and my husband and two of his three brothers were born there.  My father-in-law wrote a brief description on all the slides he took in Turkey, which has helped immensely in knowing what and where the pictures were taken.  I came across a series of pictures entitled "Hierapolis, Cotton Castle, Pamukkale".  So my mind was prepared to see bales of cotton stacked up....enough bales waiting shipment that they looked like a castle.  Instead, this is what the slides were:

Now I was really curious!  Clearly this wasn't cotton, but was some kind of rock formation.  So I looked it up on the internet.  First of all, I learned that "Pamukkale" is a Turkish word meaning "Cotton Castle".  Then I found out that this "castle" was formed where there are limestone-laden thermal springs.  The limestone leaves heavy calcium carbonate deposits which create the formation of stalactites, potholes, and cataracts.  The hot springs themselves have been touted to cure all sorts of ailments from high blood pressure to nervous and physical exhaustion.  (Click here for a direct link to this web page for more info.) Probably it isn't the water itself that cures but just sitting in the pool enjoying the beauty!  That would bring down anybody's blood pressure.

At one point in time hotels (seen in the photo 2nd from the bottom) were built on top of the "castle" and a road (seen in the last picture above) was formed to go right up the side of the "castle".  Water was taken from the cataracts to fill hotel pools.  Waste and dirty water were dumped directly on the "castle".  People walked all over it and even rode bikes and motorcycles on it.  The site was beginning to lose its attraction when UNESCO stepped in.  The hotels were demolished and the roads were filled in with artificial pools which are accessible to tourists.  More information about the transformation and preservation of the Cotton Castle can be found here.

Today, this is what you would see if you were to visit the Cotton Castle.  The photo was found at this site.

 I never thought I'd want to go to Turkey, but now I find myself really wanting to see Pamukkale, the Cotton Castle.  (This picture found here.) Warm springs sounds like just what the doctor ordered for the winter blahs!