Thermal Spas in Ancient Turkey

Thermal spas are a natural phenomenon in Turkey because of the volcanic nature of the region. Steaming hot water pouring down mountainsides carrying rich minerals has health giving properties here. The ancient Ottomans realized the importance of this water and set up baths where people often came from far off places for therapeutic reasons. The ancient city of Hierapolis was built around one such site where the waters of Pammukale flowed down the mountain.

The minerals in the water formed white Calcernous rocks on the mountainside and created natural lakes in places where it carved out hollows. The Koycegiz Lake is one such lake where the people of the ancient city of Caunos bathed. It is a sight of such exquisite beauty that the ancients felt the existence of something divine in that place. Pilgrims poured into Hierapolis to bathe in these curative waters.

Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Dynasty, is said to have the Byzantine Empress Theodora as one of its first visitors who came to bathe in its natural hot springs for health purposes. To facilitate the use of the waters, the Ottoman Sultan Murat I built a huge complex of domed baths on the site of the earlier Byzantine baths. They say King Idris of Libya was taking a bath in the waters of Cekirge spa in Bursa when Moammar Khaddafi staged a coup and threw him out.

The Baths of Agamemnon was well known during the Roman times for the therapeutic properties of the water there. Today the Balcova/Izmir hot springs have sprung up in the same place.