Choose Edition
Choose Edition
Tamaño letra

Why Turkey's Pamukkale is drying up
GALLERY

Why Turkey's Pamukkale is drying up

9 fotos

The UNESCO site, which is famous for its thermal pools and travertine terraces, is at risk due to excess tourism

Pamukkale (Turkey)
  • Pamukkale (Turkish for 'cotton castle') is a natural site located in southwestern Turkey. The site is made up of travertine, a type of limestone formed when water dissolves pure white calcium. The ancient Greek city of Hierapolis was built on top of this travertine formation in 19 BC, and today its natural pools attract thousands of tourists a day.
    1Pamukkale (Turkish for 'cotton castle') is a natural site located in southwestern Turkey. The site is made up of travertine, a type of limestone formed when water dissolves pure white calcium. The ancient Greek city of Hierapolis was built on top of this travertine formation in 19 BC, and today its natural pools attract thousands of tourists a day.
  • The management of Pamukkale's water resources has been a controversial issue for more than 20 years. Various investigations suggest that the uncontrolled use and exploitation of the water reaching the travertines could lead the pools to dry up. These striking rock formations were formed as a result of earthquakes and the movement of tectonic plates in the area, which brought to the surface the thermal waters, which are rich in minerals. The water found in some of the travertine pools is brought artificially to ensure tourists can enjoy bathing in the pools.
    2The management of Pamukkale's water resources has been a controversial issue for more than 20 years. Various investigations suggest that the uncontrolled use and exploitation of the water reaching the travertines could lead the pools to dry up. These striking rock formations were formed as a result of earthquakes and the movement of tectonic plates in the area, which brought to the surface the thermal waters, which are rich in minerals. The water found in some of the travertine pools is brought artificially to ensure tourists can enjoy bathing in the pools.
  • Bathing in the natural pools has been a tradition for hundreds of years. But in the 20th century the site reached a critical point, as there was no control over how it was managed. The travertines of Pamukkale became tremendously popular and many tourists flocked to the site, but there was no plan for how to organize the use of the pools or manage waste.
    3Bathing in the natural pools has been a tradition for hundreds of years. But in the 20th century the site reached a critical point, as there was no control over how it was managed. The travertines of Pamukkale became tremendously popular and many tourists flocked to the site, but there was no plan for how to organize the use of the pools or manage waste.
  • The management of Pamukkale became so bad that an asphalt ramp was built to allow vehicles to reach the formation. What's more, water from the site was used to fill the swimming pools of the hotels built on top of the area. Tourists were also allowed to use soaps and creams in the natural pools.
    4The management of Pamukkale became so bad that an asphalt ramp was built to allow vehicles to reach the formation. What's more, water from the site was used to fill the swimming pools of the hotels built on top of the area. Tourists were also allowed to use soaps and creams in the natural pools.
  • In 1988, Pamukkale became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was then that changes and restrictions began to be applied. Hotels were demolished, the use of any kind of chemicals in the pools was forbidden as was walking on the travertine formation in shoes. Turkey's state coffers benefit from the large number of tourists that visit Pamukkale.
    5In 1988, Pamukkale became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was then that changes and restrictions began to be applied. Hotels were demolished, the use of any kind of chemicals in the pools was forbidden as was walking on the travertine formation in shoes. Turkey's state coffers benefit from the large number of tourists that visit Pamukkale.
  • Turkey is a popular destination for tourists interested in hot springs. The tourism sector generated an estimated €1 billion in revenue in 2019, the vast majority of which came from Pamukkale, one of the country's most popular tourist spots. Before the Covid pandemic in 2019, as many as 2.5 million people visited the site. Since it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, many improvements have been made, but excess tourism remains a major concern.
    6Turkey is a popular destination for tourists interested in hot springs. The tourism sector generated an estimated €1 billion in revenue in 2019, the vast majority of which came from Pamukkale, one of the country's most popular tourist spots. Before the Covid pandemic in 2019, as many as 2.5 million people visited the site. Since it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, many improvements have been made, but excess tourism remains a major concern.
  • Organizations such as IUCN, which are in charge of studying the state of UNESCO heritage sites, are positive about the preservation efforts at the site, but make it clear that there is room for improvement. One area that needs to be addressed is the lack of staff to control the huge number of tourists at the site.
    7Organizations such as IUCN, which are in charge of studying the state of UNESCO heritage sites, are positive about the preservation efforts at the site, but make it clear that there is room for improvement. One area that needs to be addressed is the lack of staff to control the huge number of tourists at the site.
  • According to the IUCN, the workflow between the various institutions responsible for the preservation of Pamukkale needs to be improved to ensure the future of the site.
    8According to the IUCN, the workflow between the various institutions responsible for the preservation of Pamukkale needs to be improved to ensure the future of the site.
  • Most of the travertine terraces are completely dry and cannot be accessed. Authorities in Turkey chose to make them off-limits due to their poor condition.
    9Most of the travertine terraces are completely dry and cannot be accessed. Authorities in Turkey chose to make them off-limits due to their poor condition.