Hierapolis and its neighbour, Cappadocia, in the Pamukkale region of
central Turkey offer traditional Turkish baths, an amazing underground
city and the rare opportunity to buy genuine souvenirs from your
Cities of Antiquities
Hierapolis, with its thermal springs, was an ancient Roman spa town
and cure centre in the. There’s also a huge necropolis (cemetery) to
An inscription inside the amphitheatre reads: “Hierapolis, foremost
land of broad an Asia, mistress of the Nymphs, adorned with streams of
water and all beauty.” It sums up the area well.
The amphitheatre is a top vantage point to soak up the area’s unique
vista – calcified hillsides that ape snow-covered mountains and the
clear blue waters of the pools.
The underground city of Derinkuyu in Cappadocia plunges 85m below
the ground and could fit 10,000 people in it. It was used by 6th and
7th century Byzantine Christians as a refuge from the Persian and
Arabic armies. Here you can see stables, schools, a wine-making area
(where they would stamp the grapes with their feet), a church and
ventilation to cope with the lack of windows.
Even if you don’t
like having a guide, you should get one for this underground city.
It’s easy to get lost (just try to follow the blue arrows if you do
lose your bearings).
Cappadocian fairy chimneys
The (admittedly phallic) Cappadocian fairy chimneys are
naturally-formed wonders that can reach heights of 40m. They were
created when the wind eroded the lava surrounding the consolidated
volcanic ash.The best way to appreciate Cappadocia is by floating above
it in a hot air balloon, especially at dawn when you can watch the sun
rise over the extraordinary formations.Scrub up in a Turkish bath
Chill out in the steam room before a huge Turkish man wielding
an exfoliating glove scours you front and back before giving you a
vigorous body massage. Rough, but relaxing!
Avoiding the tourist tat
Like so many other countries, there’s a great market in Turkey for
cheap mass-produced garbage just waiting to be pawned off on ignorant
If you’re after an affordable handmade piece of
Turkey, visit the pottery studios of Selim Gürdal in Avanos,
Cappadocia. For the past 40 years Gürdal has worked at many of
Cappadocia’s 60-plus studios and now has his own. He’s considered a
Watch him at work at Veneesa Studios, Yeni Mah, 11 Sokak No 20, Avanos, Cappadocia.
WHEN TO GO: April to October is best. Tourism shuts down in winter.
GETTING THERE: BA, EasyJet, Pegasus and Turkish Airlines fly to Istanbul.
GETTING AROUND: Buses connect towns between Pamukkale and Cappadocia.
VISAS: On arrival for Aussies and Saffas, Kiwis don’t need a visa.
CURRENCY: Turkish Lira. 1 GBP = 2.26 TRY.
ACCOMMODATION: A hostel bed in Cappadocia starts from 15 lira a night, Pamukkale from 18 lira a night. See tntmagazine.com/hostels.
Travel on a tour with On The Go and you’ll get three to four-star accommodation included in the price.
GOING OUT: A beer costs about 7 lira. If you’re out in a large group,
negotiate with the owner before you start drinking and you’ll often get
the beer down to 5 lira a pop. It’s worth a go.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: onthegotours.com tourismturkey.org