It’s January 2021, the januariest of them all. Final day of January, but still… It’s long this month. It’s cold, it’s dark. Most noticeable this year, it’s quiet. Quiet as the world after the apocalypse!

Give me the opposite, please. A bright, sunny day on a (semi-)packed beach in the Yucatan sounds positively pornographic at this moment. But… we’ll not get carried away. Not today.

Instead, I have a short retrospective post for you. On a Greco-Roman bath in Turkey, an ancient healing centre. And – this will not surprise you – a world heritage site. Pamukkale is one place I’ve promised myself to come back to, sans kids. Or, at least, with kids old enough that they don’t need to be watched closely so they won’t fly off the cliffs.

No wonder, though. This dreamlike landscape of calcium-white travertines (terraces) practically begs jumping into, running gleefully about, and yes, maybe even making you think you can fly. Even when you’re older than 5.

The natural spring runs down from a 200-metre-high cliff, brilliant white from the calcite-laden cascades. Flowing mineral water, petrified over the centuries.

Back in the 90s, the underground volcanos made these pools lovely and warm, and it took some willpower to get out of the water. They are, no doubt, still lovely and warm, but getting in is not so easy. Years and years, millennia actually, of visitors have damaged the site, and the authorities now keep them off-limits. Look, but don’t touch!

However, you can swim in the nearby antique Cleopatra pool, where legend has it, that most famous of queens once bathed. It is a lovely experience, snorkelling in the crystal clear waters above a sunken temple.

Above the travertines are the ruins of the spa town known as Hierapolis by the Romans; there are temples, statues, gates, the remains of ancient city life – as well as an interesting archaeological museum.

Just like in Pompeii, I loved wandering along Hierapolis’ main street; something about walking on that same street people walked 2,000 years ago.

World at a Glance is a series of short posts here on Sophie’s World, (normally) with a single photo, portraying curious, evocative, happy, sad, wondrous or unexpected little encounters.


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Hierapolis-Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world.