A visit to Turkey would not be complete without a stop at one of the country’s better-known spas, whether to treat a health problem or simply to luxuriate in the soothing waters of natural mineral baths. A stop at one of the spas described in this booklet can easily be combined with a tour of Turkey’s most famous destinations.
The health-giving properties of Turkey’s natural hot springs have been renowned since antiquity.
The ancient city of Hierapolis was built on the site of the rich mineral waters of Pamukkale, where the steaming water has hollowed enormous circular basins in the earth as it flowed down the mountainside, coating the slopes in a smooth layer of dazzlingly white calcareous rock.
No doubt, the residents of the ancient Lycian city of Caunos bathed in the mineral-rich mud of nearby Köyceğiz Lake.
The Balçova/Izmir hot springs are located on the site of the Baths of Agamemnon, known and used in Roman times for the therapeutic qualities of the water there.
Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman dynasty is nestled against Uludağ (Mt. Olympos to the ancients). There the natural hot springs of Çekirge prompted the Ottomans to build a large complex of domed baths during the reign of Murat I (1359-89) on the site of an earlier Roman and Byzantine bath complex.
On the shores of the Aegean, Çeşme is famous for its natural mineral springs and the therapeutic qualities of its seawater.
And amidst the verdant forests of the southern shore of the Sea of Marmara, Yalova hot springs pours out mineral-rich water, thought to cure a variety of ailments.
The spas described in this brochure are concentrated in the Marmara Region and Aegean Region of western Turkey and are easily accessible from popular destinations such as Istanbul, Izmir, Pamukkale and the Marmaris/Fethiye area.
But, while touring through the Central Anatolian region (Central Turkey), there is one thermal spa well worth mentioning here, a spa of such an extraordinary character and one of its kind in the world. It is visited by people searching for cures from all over the world. This healing spa is called “Kangal Hot Spring with Fish” and it is only 13 km from the town of Kangal in the province of Sivas. The beneficial waters of 36oC contain bicarbonate, calcium, magnesium and also many small fish (2-10 cm long), which play a vital part in curing various skin diseases. There are also two other thermal spas in this province: Sıcak Çermik and Soğuk Çermik, famous for their valuable therapeutic treatments. Another thermal complex, known for maintaining an international standard for its thermal therapy centre is located in Yoncalı near Kütahya and is known in Turkish as “Tutav Termal Tesisleri.”
Well-known and highly recommended for their thermal facilities are the famous spas of Sandıklı (Afyon), Gönen (Balıkesir) Bolu, Kestanbol (Çanakkale), Ilgın (Konya), Kızılcahamam (Ankara), Haruniye (Adana), Ayder (Rize), Ladik (Samsun), Hasanabdal (Van), and Billoris (Siirt). Though these particular spas are not luxurious, the main advantage is being able to enjoy their therapeutic benefits in natural surroundings.