DENIZLI AWAITS ITS SPRING GUESTS WITH ITS NATURAL WONDER PAMUKKALE, HOT-SPRING PARADISE KARAHAYIT, ANCIENT CITIES AND QUALITY WEAVINGS…
Surprising you with the fact that its name has sea (deniz) in it - although it doesn’t have any coastline, being a few hours drive away from the Aegean and the Mediterrenean - with its remedial Karahayıt hot springs, Denizli is a city of health. The region is also the site of many ancient places such as Tripolis, Colossae, Laodicea and Hierapolis, as well as one of the world’s natural wonders, Pamukkale.
Once upon a time, fleeces of the Laodicea sheep would have been exported to Egypt and Rome via the port in Ephesus after having been painted in the unique purple of its neighbor Hierapolis, to be processed. Since the Weavers' Association, which was known as the stock market of the day, banned the selling of substandard goods, it became prestigious over time to buy and use weavings manufactured at the cities of Colossae, Laodicea and Hierapolis. These weavings were wrapped around brides in weddings and the babies in childbirths. Today, Denizli keeps this tradition and the quality standard alive, and ranks among the top ten cities with powerful economies in Turkey as an important textile export region. 'Every rooster crows in his own yard / Denizli’s rooster crows everywhere / Oh how beautiful are your mountains / That evaporate in blue and green,' wrote Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, a Turkish painter and poet. If you lend an ear to this master of colors and words, and become familiar with Denizli, you can't help but notice that the values which enrich the city’s economy and landscape haven't been lost since ancient times.
WANDERING IN THE CITY
If you start our tour in the city center from Bayramyeri Square, you'll meet with Denizli’s famous weavings. Babadağlılar Commercial Complex is always lively, and this bazaar is where you can find hundreds of types of towels, bathrobes, loincloths and local weavings for a fairly cheap price. Across the street is Atatürk and Ethnography Museum. The historical Kaleiçi Passage nearby lures shoppers with its jewelry stores, coppersmiths and little shops where you can basically find anything. One of the musts here is the Kale biberi (a type of green pepper) and dried eggplants hanged all over. If you go the Copper's Bazaar you'll see the smiths working in the tune with the rhythm they created and catch some beautiful moments to be photographed. Leave Bayramyeri Square and head towards Çınar Square, making sure you stop by Haci Şerif, aka 'Uncle Candy' of children, which is the source of kabak peskeli (boiled sugar pumpkin), semolina halva with ice cream and Denizli paste with semolina. In the square, the glistening glass rooster sculpture, the new symbol of the city, welcomes you. How about taking a souvenir photograph with a giant Denizli rooster?
Çamlık is where the people of Denizli go to relax. Taking a walk in the city forest and visiting the zoo are good alternatives to the spring, though. Here, you may even see the real Denizli rooster, which is known for its long crow and strong voice. Later on, you can catch your breath at any one of the chic cafés that lined the street.
For dinner, I suggest you try the Babadağ keşkeği (ground wheat and meat), gelin turşusu (mixed vegetable pickles), Kale biberi, dried and stuffed eggplant and Tavas beans at one of the mansions in Balcı or Konyalıoğlu, perfectly preserved examples of old Denizli houses. If you like kebab I order a Denizli kebab. Denizli kebab has a special preparation process. A brick furnace filled with gumwood is heated, and the flame is damped down. The prepared lamb meat is hung inside with hooks; it takes to hours to cook before service. Most of the restaurants that keep the old tradition alive don’t offer forks or knives, so don’t be surprised if the cook scolds you in his local dialect: “We don’t have forks or knives! Kebab is eaten by hand! Don’t you know that?”
PAMUKKALE AND HIERAPOLIS
Pamukkale is Denizli’s main attraction. Dawn or sunset to are the times to really enjoy this natural wonder, which is visited by 10,000 of people every day. Standing on the massaging travertines as the thermal waters flow beneath your feet, it’s an indescribable feeling as you overlook the verdant Lycos Valley.
Hierapolis is an ancient city with a bath house at the entrance. Requiring its visitors to take a bath before entering the city, this structure starts healing you even at this point. Whether it's summer or winter, you can swim in the ancient pool, in the source of the remedial waters of Pamukkale and among the Roman columns sunk underwater. And the white travertines! Walking the travertine road with your shoes in your hand and walking along the 'pedestrian road' - it is a unique path. Taking a vehicle from there, you can go to Laodicea. With its columned streets, floor mosaics, wonderful view, the stadium where gladiators fought and the church mentioned in the Bible, Laodicea will take you on a journey into the past. Another ancient city, Tripolis, is just 25 minutes away from Laodicea.
If you want a spa vacation in Denizli, where people have been coming to be healed for thousands of years, you can stay at Karahayıt in Pamukkale. Five-star hotels and hostels here offer you various prices and levels of service. In order to enjoy Denizli’s alternative beauties, Kaklık Cave shoulbe the top of your list. Here, the natural structures formed by sulphurous springs and resulting little waterfalls will relieve you of your travel soreness, and the travertines inside the cave will surprise you. Later on, you can visit the Akhan Caravanserai, a fine example of Seljukian architecture. Paragliding over Hierapolis is another, more adventurous, possibility.
Organized every two years in Denizli, the International Glass Biennial hosts workshops and manufacturing performances by glass crafters from all over the world; however, other traditional festivities are held throughout the year. Among them are the International Weaving Culture and Handicrafts Festival in Buldan, Denizli Hayrettin Village Fritillaria imperialis and Flatland Festivals, the Sheep Crossing the Water Contest in the Aşağıseyit village in Çal, the Babadağ Textile, Tourism, Culture and Arts Festival and horse races, and the Eren Günü Festival, held around Lake Kartal in Beyağaç.
With the arrival of spring, Denizli’s parks bloom, and poppies and daisies cover the prairies. The marble stones of the ancient cities are surrounded by green grass. The white travertines in Pamukkale shines all the brighter under the April sun. It’s just the time to set off for Denizli…