'Burası Türkiye!' 'This is Turkey!'

‘All In The Best Possible Taste!’

Whilst J and I were on our Magical Mystical Tour seeking out those beautiful and evocative painted mosques for convenience we based ourselves in the small town of Pamukkale. It’s a good few years since we visited the site of the travertines and, although mildly amazed, we spent the bulk of our time exploring the extensive ruins and seeking out flora and fauna. Neither of us felt a strong urge to return. As for the town, our only impressions were of a stuffed camel faded to green, garnered as we’d whizzed along the bypass, a piece of construction that was probably the best thing about the place!

Anyway, time had moved on and it was reasonable to expect that with its growing, world-wide reputation Pamukkale had as well. We’d booked a reasonable place online and it served us well as we radiated out to each of the mosque sites and the all-important Pamukkale Wine Company. Driving out each morning we were forced to notice what an dismal place much of the town is. As we usually came home in the dark we were saved from the trauma of a double daily dose. Keep in mind that the travertines of Pamukkale and the ruins of Hieropolis are a World Heritage Site that hosts countless thousands of visitors annually. That being so you would think that creating a good impression might sit high on someone’s list of priorities – it does – look at these typically tasteful examples along the main road and then I’ll introduce you to Pamukkale’s International Ambassador of Good Taste.

a tasteful hotel – even has bits of Dalyan attached

a tasteful restaurant complete with tasteful concrete dinosaurs, a tasteful concrete tree with tasteful lamps and a tasteful flashing light on top

the tasteful and well-named ‘Natural Park’ at the foot of the travertines complete with tasteful concrete water features and a tasteful artificial lake

in case you didn’t have the good taste to realise you are in the World Heritage Site

. . or the good taste to appreciate the varied wildfowl and other species

Finally, credit where it is due – let me introduce you to Pamukkale’s Ambassador of Good Taste, the world renowned personality and film star Miss Cupid Stunt (appearing by kind permission of Kenny Everett Esq)

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

33 thoughts on “‘All In The Best Possible Taste!’

  1. Alan, You didn’t pass through Denizli and get the rooster! We spent Kurban Bayram in Pamukkale in 2011 and quite enjoyed ourselves, mostly because the town is completely bypassed by the huge tour buses that blow down the highway from parts on the coast. So we kind of felt sorry for the hotel and restaurant trying to attract the few who stay.

  2. . . actually, the rooster is sitting atop the concrete tree! That said, we were there in the winter – can’t escape the thought that this is the second worst ‘resort’ in Turkey after Samandağ in Hatay, though. I know, you think I’m a grumpy old git!

    1. . . the site itself is quite something to see and explore if you can pick a time when tourists are fewer – it’s the town that is so tacky!

  3. WELL, it was about 9, 10 years ago when we were there. Spent a few days around Selçuk (efes, şirince, St. John’s – just taking our time) no rush. And we thought it would be silly to go back to Fethiye without going via Pamukkale and Denizli. Can still remember our faces as the bus got closer to the Pamukkale travertines and the town. That look of, “No, this is an outer area. There’ll be something else.” And then you arrive… We had a few hours there and we needed to leave by the time our bus was ready to go! Sad. Actually want to go back to confirm/change our minds about it. Suspecting our thoughts may still stand, much as I don’t want them to. 🙁

    1. . . if you drive passed the site heading West there is another car park and entrance near the necropolis which is (or used to be) a nicer less crowded way in. I hear they have demolished the hotels in the site but have built artificial travertines so people can have their photos taken paddling!! One step forward – ten back!

  4. A few years back when we were in Pamukkale, there were avocets on that lake. At that time it wasn’t ‘fully developed’.

    Hierapolis is, however, extremely worthwhile. Especially the necropolis beyond the ‘Cleopatra’s bath’ bit. Even in the height of tourist season you don’t get so many people along there.

    Last time we were in Pamukkale it was as a convenient stop over on the way to Eğridir. We enjoyed sitting in the Belediye cafe overlooking the lake, watching the men maintain the swan-boats and the tourists, nose to tail, trailing up the travertines.

    1. I fully agree about Hierapolis – it was where we spent most of our time whilst there. For me it is the tasteless, thoughtless and utterly tacky ‘development’ and ‘attractions’ that ruins experience.

    1. . . said it in a nut-shell! I do wonder sometimes what people see when they stand back to admire their ‘creations’.

    1. Hello again Sarah, I think you meant to comment on one of the Mystical Tour posts as there’s nothing solemn and peaceful about the town of Pamukkale 🙂

  5. Good grief, how dreadful. I think I might have already mentioned this in a comment on another post, but here I go again. It reminds me of a family visit to Niagara Falls two years ago. Ghastly. I will never go back. They have destroyed it with tackiness. Your first picture is beautiful thoughl

  6. . . it was the contrast between the beautiful, simple dignity of the painted mosques and the tacky, amusement arcade that has been allowed to grow around the World Heritage Site with its unique travertines.

  7. Hubby and i spent 3 days in Pamukkale 17 years ago and we found it delightfull and very natural. We returned 6 years ago and were shocked to see the improvements :-/ ????
    They promote the place so much and poor turists are expecting heaven!!! I would like to warn everybody. ‘Dont waste your money’ bloomin rip off!!!

  8. it was about 30 years ago, during my army duty i was in denizli. 30 years ago denizli/pamukkale was a grungy and ugly place, 6 years ago we passed through denizli, i felt like nothing changed at all. i have no desire to go back, army days wasn’t pleasant either…

    1. . . at least the Romans built tastefully – at least what was left behind gives that impression – maybe they had hotels and restaurants that looked like slums!

  9. Hi Alan,

    Thanks for this fun post. I have to say I wasn’t much impressed with Pamukkale the two times I’ve been. The first in the early 1990’s and then two years ago. Many people kept saying, “Oh, it’s been improved and cleaned up” but by the looks of it, the area still needs a real “taste-maker”. 🙂 Now, Hierapolis, that sounds like a place I need to put on my bucket-list.

    1. Thank you Justine and welcome to Archers (and the group) – if you do intend to visit make a note to follow the suggestion to Julia @ turkeysforlife above. Hierapolis, which is part of the site, is well worth a visit.

  10. The Jolly Joker captures my sentiments exactly…the best thing that happened to us on that trip was that we were given fresh cucumbers at a gas station while filling up – just a kindness to visitors passing through. It looks ABSOLUTELY AWFUL.

    1. . . it’s such a unique place and when coupled with the amazing Hieroplolis site makes up an amazing whole. This is not just a ‘Turkish’ site it belongs to all of us and the way it is treated reflects very badly on this country.

  11. My cousin once told me about Pamukkale thermal pools.
    She said it was beautiful there and she also told me about the natural showers which was her favorite experience. oh I’m so jealous.

    ♥ Tarin

    1. Hi Tarin and welcome to Archers! Pamukkale historic site and travertines is an amazing place – the town is not, it is the most awful and tatty place.

  12. Our only visit to Pamukkale was 20 years ago, can’t remember much about the town itself, but the hotel we were in was OK. We only had eyes for the travertines and Heirapolis, they were amazing, although the damage caused by “modern” man was already obvious. We have thought about a return visit, but seeing your photos fills us with dread as to what we will find there now.

    1. Hello Judy, welcome to Archers. If you go to the site from the western entrance you avoid all of the tackiness of the town. The site itself is still what it always was – amazing 🙂

  13. Alan, those pics give a great impression of Pamukkale. I’d love to go there sometime. Did you have a chance to taste any of the wines from the Pamukkale Wine Company. Would love to know what types of wines they produce and what they taste like!

    1. take my advice Tim and avoid the town like the plague! The site is OK, but one visit is enough now that they have created artificial travertines for the hoards of tourists. Pammukale Wine have there operation some distance from the site and their products are world class.

      1. Hahah, fair enough. I’ll have to take your advice then and will seek out other destinations in Turkey for the meantime. Just out of curiosity, what type of wines do they predominantly make?

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