Algis Kemezys

Algis Kemezys
Ste Adele, Québec, Canada
June 28
Internationally exhibited Photographer/Documentary filmmaker, Sculptor, Dowser, Scrabble enthusiast, Geomancer, Iatromant, gourmet chef


Editor’s Pick
MARCH 25, 2011 4:08AM

Pamukkale -- The Cotton Castle

Rate: 63 Flag

 pamukkale turkey by algis kemezys 

Pamukkale is Turkish for “Cotton Castle” and refers to an otherworldly geological miracle in the heartland of Anatolia, a world-heritage site that is visited by millions of tourists annually. It is a cascading sequence of snow-white calcium-deposit —travertine— hillsides with body-temperature (36C / 96.8F) mineral water streaming through it, forming aquamarine bathing pools in decorative patterns. The therapeutic effects of its bathing has been utilized since Antiquity, with Hierapolis, an ancient “health-spa” built at the top of the hill, and Afrodisias, a sacred town dedicated to Afrodite (the goddess of love and famous health-nut) not far away.

The calcareous travertine, grainy and ever so markedly jagged, is easy to bruise and must be traversed on bare feet so as to minimize its erosion. It is amusing to watch visitors trekking up and down the slopes as if they’re walking barefoot on snow, seeking frequent relief of sore feet with soakings in the hot water of the pools. It takes years of sole-hardening beach-combing to develop the right texture for easy walking of these surfaces.   

I first visited Pamukkale some thirty years ago as a tender-foot from Maine, U.S.A., where walking barefoot was possible only a couple of quick months a year. I tried at the time to fully explore the site, but had to give up with feet that screamed at me to stop. Now years later, with every inch of my body and soul hardened by the rigours of life and endless barefoot wanderings, I felt ready to tackle the task anew.

Forced by circumstance to extend my winter in Turkey past its due-date, I decided to add some spice to my adventures with a dose of Pamukkale, even if I had to do it on a low budget. A cheap bus ticket ($17 each way) from Bodrum, brought me to Denizli (the nearest city) in four and a half hours. I was met at the terminal by Bayram, manager of  Artemis Yoruk Hotel, who drove me to his lovely and affordable place with its excellent breakfast included in the price, its next-door-to-the-site location and its swimming pool 

IMG_4329    that is fed by the same mineral waters at the same temperature as the Travertines, a perfect way to unwind after the arduous explorations of the hillsides and a great way to start one's day. Here is my morning swimming partner Midori, who is from Japan.  I give her a big hug each morning because she is so stressed about her country's current problems. We later made prayers together underwater hoping for Japan's  speedy recovery.


                       Just to the right of the pine tree is the                                                computerized gate to enter the site.                          


It was almost four p.m. by the time I had checked in to the hotel, put on some heavy socks (for better “barefoot” walking) and walked over to the site, which is open twenty-four hours, for my initial salvo into its wonderland. An officious fellow at the gate pointed at a sign announcing a $13 entry fee, that is the same for either a long or short stay. Being from Maine gives a person some disadvantages (like tender feet) but also a lot of street smarts. Refusing to pay so much money for a visit that I felt would have to end at sunset some two hours hence, I walked along the edge of the site, skirting the travertines until I reached the top and an open gate. 

I entered —some might think I snuck in, but I fully intended to return the next day and pay my money for a longer visit— and started slowly walking up the hillside, my shoes dangling on my arm, my feet somewhat protected by the heavy socks, and just in awe of the moonscape of this amazing place. I have always found that by taking the route rarely travelled one gets far more unexpected pleasures than that of the usual way. So, I was having too much fun, I guess, and time flew by, sunset came and went, and suddenly I was in the middle of darkness, illuminated only slightly by the occasional lamp-post strategically placed to reflect coloured light onto the pools for the night visitors.


      The Face in the Tavertine was found because I strayed off the beaten path. I was amazed how it looked like a mosaic.




       Without fresh calcium loaded water the tavertines turn a pink grey. 






pamukkale turkey by algis kemezys

 Trouble was that I was the only person in there —unlike in summer when thousands of people roam the hills— and soon enough had strayed off the path. My only landmark the distant lights of Pamukkale town where my hotel was, which themselves would come in and out of focus as drifting mists from the hot water kept obscuring my vision. I started to walk tentatively towards those lights, singing to myself, often having to detour as the spring rush of water made some pools too deep and dangerous to cross at night since they often led to waterfalls and certain injury, or at least serious damage to my cameras.

Instead of panicking, I used the predicament to take many pictures, and talk myself out of being upset. Because at one point I thought the night-guards who pointed the way out to me were having the biggest laugh yet over sending me the wrong way.  After what seemed an eternity, tired but not defeated, I did make it down to the exit, and the guards who knew I hadn’t paid to enter, took pity on my bedraggled appearance and let me get out of there without charge. Naturally, I did return the next day, paid the fee and saw the place during the day, although my night visit despite its mini-panics proved by far the more memorable and provided the more dramatic photographs.      

pamukkale turkey by algis kemezys 

















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pamukkale turkey by algis kemezys



pamukkale turkey by algis kemezys


 pamukkale turkey by algis kemezys  





pamukkale turkey by algis kemezys  





pamukkale turkey by algis kemezys 


pamukkale turkey by algis kemezys 


pamukkale turkey by algis kemezys



pamukkale turkey by algis kemezys


                                                 pamukkale turkey by algis kemezys


And here's how Pamukkale looks in the daytime:






















































































































































IMG_4046                                                                the super perigee full moon


      These photographs were taken during three separate visits to the travertines.I was at the site during the rising of the super perigee full moon.  By the end of the third visit  my supposedly hardened feet were so sore that I simply had to leave and come home to Bitez. I did however manage to also visit Hierapolis and Afrodisias, which will be the subjects of my next blog. Stay tuned



all photos by Algis Kemezys, 2011    












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It all looks!!

My ancient footsies wouldn't stand up to it I'm afraid. Thank you muchly for this wonderful photo tour!!!
I think I'll be seeing this on the cover. Great post and beautiful pics. I wonder how I have never heard of it. Oh, well, I do now. Give Midori a hug for me~
Once again courage pays bountifully, Algis. Without the signs of humanity these gorgeous photos would be otherwordly. With them, they are heavenly.
skypixie0, Thanks! You can were socks as I did the first evening I came down.
I was never sure where the path was though not having ascended and it was rather frustrating figuring out the way in the clouds of mist.Sometimes you had to cross over a rushing stream beside the cliff and this was very scary for me at that particular time.

scanner, Thanks so much! I send Midori your good wishesand the HUG!

Matt Paust, Thanks! I felt I was on the planet that they filmed in Alien. Every time I walked here though I felt like singing and humming tunes.
The german shepherd has the right idea. ;)
Belinda T. Yeap! That was just like me after wards too.
Ep for sure! Congrats now..
rated with hugs
I was there in the 1990s, during the day, but the night shots are unreal. What a landscape Turkey has, between the cotton castle and the fairy chimneys! Thank you for sharing so deeply! You are so very talented.
This ranges from the jaw dropping, to the stunning to the "I've never seen anything like that!' Many thanks for the journey!
Algis my dear friend,

As long as you are here I will never have to travel again. Stunning photos! ~r
I never knew there was such a place!! Thanks for sharing you incredible photos and funny story with us...
A magical mystery tour
cotton castle
misty colored memories
your bravery
to wander at night
and show us
the full glory
of the site
Oh! to be there
in the day
to beguile
the time away
to be there
in the night
and see
the glorious light
loving this post
your magnificent photos
your travel journal
such a gift
rated with love
Absolutely breathtaking! Not only the place, but your photography! The only travertine I have ever seen is in Yellowstone. This makes that look like a gravel pit. Not really, but this is so gorgeous!
Algis, what a unique landscape that is! Your great photos really reveal a lot about what it must be like to experience this first hand!
Algis, thanks for the photos and report. I have been to Pamukkale twice. Each time was overwhelming. Your pictures, as you know give only a hint of the beauty found in this unique place in Turkey.
This post is gorgeous. I love your blog. It's like traveling at my computer. Thank you for continuing to bring the goods every week!
Wow. What a fantastic place.
I'm so glad you stuck it out, alone in the night, singing to yourself! These pictures are great, as usual. Because of you and your pictures, Turkey is on my List.
Underwater prayer. Boggles the mind. Certainly concentrates the mind.
Spectacular! Thanks for sharing this beautiful adventure!
Sitting in a small office cubicle taking my lunch break, I am transported to another world. Fabulous, I can ALMOST imagine myself as Aphodite or some mythical, otherworldly creature. The EP is so well-deserved.~R
I have never seen anything so unusual, and the night pictures, well, fantastic. I am glad you were able to calm yourself to keep taking pictures. It was fantastic. Thank you for sharing this. I could not have walked barefoot either.....
Your images are utterly surreal. I've never seen anything like that. Especially the night images. I'd be scared and enthralled at the same time. Wow. Thank you.
I have already used up all my WOW's on you Algis. This is particularly gorgeous. I am dreaming at work here wishing to swim in those ponds. Thanks for this.
HCC! Gorgeous. Now I know where to relocate ...
Everyone has said exactly what I would say. -R-
Thanks for the trip!!! Looking forward to the next adventure!!
would love to see this in person. :) and the dog you captured in one of those photos looks exactly like my Luna.
Truly otherworldly. When I was in high school and walked barefoot a lot, my feet might have been tough enough for this.
I visited Pamukkale when I was 10 years old but I have never seen Pamukkale at night time. I should revisit. The mythology of this area is very interesting too. Thanks Algis for this post.
Sometimes I wonder if we live on the same planet.
it's so odd and magnificent this planet, and I hardly know it.

I wish I had all the money I need and then I would make my life's work traveling. that is my wish: to see everything before I die.

And you have made me yearn to see this one other thing with my own eyes. (sigh)

Thank you.
Looks like a unique and amazing place, Algis. Wonderful photos!

And that's the joy of reading you posts ... you always have wonderful photos to share with us. Thank you!
Beautiful pictures - and so many! Love it -- I almost feel as I'd gone there too. And, photo-wise, I'm glad you lost your way in there after sunset as well :-)
What a spectacular place, it's like a fairy land of wonder. You have gorgeous eyes, looking at these photos had a healing effect on me. How fun to see the green misty photo with the man hidden at the top, then two later the shadow with the peace sign, then scroll down and find them filled with people enjoying life. It was like a movie journey from day to night to day but it was all photos.

I'm excited to hear you and Midori prayed under water, it must be very powerful. I pray when I shower, do dishes or water the yard, it feels like the water makes the prayer bigger. I'm happy to read this post today. Thank you.
I have a friend who lived in Turkey and also took some photos...but none could touch yours. Now I feel like I was there! Thank you for suffering the barefoot trek!
Wow. wonderful. wish I had your life. R
WOW! Absolutely incredible, thanks for this.
I had no idea this place existed, it takes my breath away. I am amazed...
Just forwarded this on to good friends who are going to Turkey in April. I hope they get a chance to go. What an amazing place and how fortunate you were to travel there. And it sounds like you had a mini-adventure while you were at it. I can understand the reasons for the mini-panic attacks finding your way back through the dark. Your photos are just really fantastic. I loved this. Thank you.
Algis...this is breathtaking...really so there a book in the working? xox
Thank you, Algis. I was there the summer before I left Turkey and then back in 1997 for a visit. The memories live in my heart; your photos will give them more substance.
Linda Seccaspina, Thanks! You were right.

Lea Lane, Thanks, I hope I brought back and added some fine memories.Apparently this place has changed alot since then because they tore down all the hotels up top that were built there.

Chicago Guy, Great and Thanks. Turkey truly has some of the most amazing places in one country and then there is the food!

ThroughMyEyes, Well that is just awesome, I will try to do all that I can to keep your eyes looking and enjoying.

Susie Lindau, Thanks the place is waiting for you, but I think the cooler

RomanticPoetess, Beyond a doubt you are the Romantic Poetess. Thanks! You poem was wonderful.

Satori1, LOL Yellowstone ...a gravel pit! Thanks so much!

designanator, Thanks I tried and indeed you saw and realized that.

Out on a limb, Thants just wonderfully said. Thanks so much!

Rei Momo, Your good so you deserve my goods...Thanks!

sweetfeet, Thanks! I wonder how your sweet feet would feel after that?

catch-22, Thanks that is just tremendously nice...

Naomi de Plume, Oh you break my heart with joy! Thanks!

Leon Freilich, Yes I wonder how that works and feel it must work better than out of water because water is such a good conductor.Thanks!

Lucy Mercer, Your so very welcome...Thanks!

Doireann, Well you getting your wish Aphrodite is next in my blog ! Thanks again.

SheilaTGTG55, Thanks again. I was rather proud of myself and a little sorry it was over when I got down. It took at least 90 minutes to desend that evening. As you can see the path has some very scary places and the water is always gushing down or at least at this time of year.

greenheron, Yes you said that right. I thanks you for your words here.

rita shibr,LOL those WOWs of yours is priceless, Do you think you could find just one more for next weeks post on Afphrodias ?

cindy capitani, Well I have friends here who will help you! Thanks again.

Christine Geery, Big thanks for that !

Eric Ashford, Your amazing for saying that too.!

zanelle, Well it is about the nices site in Turkey Aphrodias ! Stay tuned please!

hyblaean- Julie, LOL I think it was because that night was the fullest moon.Thanks!


bikepsychobabble, Well the place is waiting for your visit then. Thanks!
MARCH 25, 2011 10:57 PM

Suresh Emre, Oh that must have been wonderful back then. yes indeed this place is loaded with fine places and real ancient treasures. Nest wek Aphrodias. Thanks again!

Padraig Colman, Thanks how about a third visit for the nightime view. It is best durning th cool months when the mist adds so much more atmosphere to the place.

Harry's Ghost, Thanks Yes indeed when it comes to this place.

Foolish Monkey, Oh I am so glad to have shown you this then. Thanks again!

Little Kate, Glad you are still around to have seen this. Thanks again!

Pavanne Veltman, Thanks it is my pleasure and thrill to make your experience with my photographs wonderful.

Paula Robinson, Thanks and you are too for saying that.

l'Heure Bleue, Anything for you LHB! I do beleave that water does caryy the thought waves better than just ordinary air. I am always doing my best thinking underwater. In fact thats how I swimm mostly underwater.

BuffyW, Thanks the hot pool at the hotel had tremendous healing powers for curing really aching feet. On the last walk down it was almost excrusiating.

Bonnie Russell, LOL that is so funny! Wish you could have joined me! Thanks

Sheba Marx, So nice to hear that but I am sure you would not want my life in some respects. I am returning totally broke and no jobs prospects either. I do not know if I was foolish or crasy for doing this but yes I did have a wonderful time and the finding of the dolphin mosaics was the best ever over so many years!

Lilly's Praha, Thanks for that!

Lunchlady 2, Wish we could have had lunch together at the top where you can swimm amonst the ruins of ancient pillars of Heiropolis. Costs 35 TL though. That is why my hotel was such a great deal!

marytkelly, Yeah I do hope so too. I wonder about the frustration. I truly thought I was sent down the wrong way as some kind of extreme joke because having not gone up that way on the way down it seems just so dangerous! Now I realish the idea I made it and the time there singing as I came down is a priceless memory.

CommunicationsLanguagesCulture, Well put and noted. Thanks!
MARCH 26, 2011 08:38 PM

Robin Sneed, Thanks I wish there was a book attached but no there is not. OS is probably it’s only resting place.

FusunA, Thanks...I am so glad to have deepened those memories and brought back somethings that were forgotten. There is no place like home....There is no place like home.... There is no place like HOME!
wow and a thousand times more wow... earth is just full of treasures... its a shame we viruses have to discover them and corner those treasures to extinction.... animals and places and nature...
amazing photos... thank you for sharing them
Rated with hugs from Colombia
Magical...I never knew such a place existed. Thank you for sharing this journey! :)
Day or night, the place looks just a surreal, but tranquil. It is other-worldly. Ty 4 sharing. R
Algis- they are so cool. here I live in AZ, a land rich with so much giant red rock, and what a treat that is all white. There are natural travertine pools around the state, some in the Grand Canyon, but occasionally flooding will ruin them. Let me know when the southwest is on your tour list for photoing. Meanwhile, we will keep falling in love with Turkey.
Absolutely wonderful!
Thank you for taking me to a place I have never been!
Your words and pictures make me feel as if I'm traveling with you. What beautiful attention you pay to the world.
I am so glad I did not miss this one. This, Algis, is what we call a Grand Post. Wow! Great work, my friend. R
Wow, more truly amazing photos. rated
It is so other worldly, and your strategy to overcome fear paid off, for your images are so surreal.
Starkly beautiful. It looks very alien.
Algis, you have the most amazing, visually stunning posts of anyone here, and I thank you for introducing me to things and places I might not have known otherwise, this included.
Hard to believe these are taken on earth. I can relate to the singing. I do the same thing, sing to myself when I am lost or scared, or both. In a place like that, I imagine it would be especially necessary to help stay rooted on earth. Rated for Wow.
Amazing! I had seen images of this in magazines, but your own photos bring the reality home. It's hard to believe this is a warm place, it looks like ice formations! One so inclined could imagine these bathers as alien visitors to Saturn's icy, geyser-covered moon Enceladus. Who knows....perhaps some day.... :) Thanks for sharing. Rated!!
This post is astounding - I feel like I just watched an amazing movie. You really inspire wanderlust in me!
There's a reason baptisms are done with water and this place reminds me of such. I would LOVE to just float in one of those pools.
What a spectacular place to spend some time! If owners of water parks in the U.S. had a way of imitating the qualities of this it would most likely be a huge draw!
What a fascinating place!
This is absolutely stunning
Looks cold although by your discription and the way people are dressed it doen't appear to be. Beuatiful, nice pics.
Mauricio Betancourt' Yes it should be on your to do list. After all the jungles of Columbia this is totally the opposite. I miss the Mondongo soup from Cartahena.Thanks!

Padraig Colman' Oh we were so close to one another. glad you saw it again like this.THX

clay ball, Great, glad to be of service. Thanks

Trudge164, You deserve cool places like this for your eyes and more.

Oryoki Bowl, THX, Love that part of the world and long to explore it. Hey can I really take you up on that offer?

Ira White, Just like you...THX

mypsyche, THX, Everyone should see this place and I am glad you did.

Helvetica Stone, Thanks so much for that. Really appreciated.

Thoth, So glad you dropped by and enjoyed. Thanks!

Caroline Hagood, Thanks again for the visit and comment.

Anne Cameron Cutri, Love to have shown it to you too.Thanks!

Rodney Roe, Yes it really does and it was so cool to be on a foreign planet without a space suit.

Kathy Riordan, Hearing that from you is pure pleasure. Thanks so very much!

LizG, One day I hope we can sing together in a strange and wonderful place.THX

J. P. Major Wow Enceladus sounds excellent. Yes it did seem to be like a visit to a foreign planet but was great because I did not need a space suit and there were no horrible aliens either. Thanks gain.

aim, That is so cool! Thanks again.

Linnnn, Yes, at night it would be superb even on a cool day because they are so nice and warm and healing.THX

Larry Lauerman, yeah that would really be something and I think you have a million dollar idea there...THX!

Barry Parham, THX It truly is and more....esp the town of Aphrodisias a hour away... My next post.

Nikki Stern, Thanks so much!

zacherydtaylor, Yes it is a visual conundrum of sorts. Looks just like winter but is really like summer there. Or death valley and maybe even a moon of Saturn. THX!
Though it would seem odd, we are priviledged, those of us who because of our restless nature, visit such places, crash the gate if there is one, and bring back images from the other side of midnight.
This is beautiful...although I did prefer the day shots : )
We were hiking here far off in the woods when we found a mini-version of this, but another mineral was involved. There were the same pools and 'terraces'...I'll have to go find that spot again with a camera !
Thanks for sharing this cool/hot place...
Oh ! It looks heavenly, I have to go there!