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Although in the Denizeli Province and beyond the normal range for trips from Dalyan , I have included it in the website as it happens to be one of the most popular tours people book when visiting Turkey , and it is recognised by birders as a good site for seeing Finsch’s Wheatear amongst other birds.  So you can combine birding with history and natural phenonamen . 

If you are on a family holiday in Dalyan with limited time it may well be that you have to visit by booking with a tour guide. However,  I would suggest you visit under your own steam and hire a car and enjoy an uncrowded visit by spending the night in Pamukkale village and birding in the morning before enjoying this protected World Heritage Site.

Pamukkale and Hierapolis were jointly declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

First founded by King Eumenes II of Pergamon soon after 190 BC , Hierapolis was originally a fortified military colony. But the city enjoyed its greatest prosperity during the 2nd and 3rd century when, with its natural hot springs and it became an popular spa centre renowned for it's healing properties. Numerous temples were constructed, and because of these, the city became known as Hierapolis, which translates to ‘holy city’. Severe earthquakes destroyed the city in 133 BC, and again in 60 AD. Following the latter, Hierapolis was rebuilt by the Romans.  Another earthquake in the early 7th century caused significant damage but the city was only abandoned for good after the earthquake of 1354. What remains is predominantly the ruins of the Roman city and the reported site of the grave of Philip the Apostle. 

The ruins of a grand colonnaded street are parallel to the travertines for just over 1 km, extending between the necropolis to the north and a Byzantine church at the southern end.  On a slope above the rest of the Hierapolis ruins is the mighty theatre with its facade over 100 meters long and incorporating two tiers of seating, each with twenty six rows. Built during the reigns of the Roman Emperors Hadrian and Septimus Severus, the theatre is incredibly well preserved, retaining much of its original detail with the imperial VIP boxes, and some decorative panels along the stage still surviving. 


The Theatre

The Travertines

Deep in the earth beneath the city lies a vast source of water that is heated by volcanic lava. As a result, the water dissolves pure white calcium, and then becomes saturated with the calcium before appearing on the surface of the earth where it bursts and runs down a steep hillside. As the calcium cools in the open air, the material precipitates from the water and adheres the soil. And the end result is a form of calcium cascades frozen in stone. The terraces of the place are made out of travertine, a sedimentary rock that is deposited by water.There are 17 hot springs in Pamukkale with temperature ranging from 35 degrees to 100 degrees. The water, once emerging from the spring, is then transported 320m to the head of thee terraces where it deposits calcium carbonate. Once the water reaches the surface, carbon dioxide is de-gassed and the result is deposition of calcium carbonate. The deposition continues until the carbon dioxide in the water and in the air is balanced. Calcium carbonate is deposited as a soft jelly, but in the travertine the carbonate hardens.


My routine is to get to the North Entrance ( main coach park entrance) which opens at 6:30 am (at least in June when I have visited on a number of occassions) It is from this entrance that most of my sightings of Finsch’s Wheatear have taken place both to the left and right of the entrance once you have made your way a little along the path. The plan here is to spend a good few hours birding the whole site before meeeting family at the southern entrance at the bottom of the Travertines and then enjoying the travetines and Hierapolis.

Keep in mind you will need decent foot wear for walking around and swim wear if you are going in the travtines or Cleopatra pools . Note you have to walk bear foot up and down the travertines 

Potential birds may include :

Finsch’s Wheatear, Chough,  Linnet,  Blackeared Wheatear, Isabilline Wheater, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Rock Sparrow, Short toed Eagle, Peregrine Falcon ,Black Kite, Raven. 


1 :

 From Dalyan drive to Ortaca and pick up the D400 at Ortaca and turn left onto Muğla Fethiye Yolu/D400 towards Mugla


Take a right at the Köyceğiz Ula Yolu towards the Ula and Denizli Yolu, just after the Namnam River bed.


Follow the Köyceğiz Ula Yolu for about 20 kilometres then the road turns to the right onto the D300 towards Denizli .  


Keep on the D300 past Kale and past Tavas  follow the road until signs for Denizli and turn left onto the Denizli Muğla Yolu/D585/E87 .


Keep on the D585/E87 main road /through Denizli

6: Then follow the Brown Tourist signs for Pamukkale .

© Brendan Searson 2017