HOT SPRINGS and
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 here can easily be added to
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 Koycegiz Lake.
The- Balcova/Izmir hot springs are located on the site of the
Baths of Agamemnon, known and used in Roman times for their
Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, is nestled
against Uludag (Mt. Olympos). There the natural hot springs of
Cekirge prompted the Ottomans to build a large complex of domed
baths during the reign of Murat 1 (1359-1389) on the site of an
earlier Roman and Byzantine bath complex.
On the shores of the Aegean, Cesme is famous for its natural
mineral springs and the therapeutic qualities of the sea.
And amidst the verdant forests of the southern shore of the Sea
of Marmara, Yalova hot springs pour out mineral-rich water,
thought to cure a variety of ailments.
The thermal waters of spas described in this brochure have been
tested by the Turkish Ministry of Health, and thermal waters
which are also safe for drinking have been noted. The most
popular spas are concentrated in the Marmara and Aegean regions
of western Turkey and are easily accessible from Turkey's major
cities, Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara.
But while touring through Turkey's Central Anatolian Region
there is one thermal spa well worth mentioning here, a spa of
such an extraordinary character that it is unique in the world.
It is visited by people from everywhere who are searching for
cures. This healing spa is called "Kangal Hot Springs with Fish"
and it is only 13 km from the town of Kangal in the province of
Sivas. The beneficial waters contain myriad small fish (2-10 cm
long), which play a vital part in curing various skin diseases.
Thermal spas in the Black Sea region include Sarnsunladik and
Rize-Ayder. Another thermal complex, known for maintaining
international standards in its thermal therapy center is located
in Yoncali near Kutahya.
Highly recommended for their thermal spring facilities are the
following spas listed by province:
Afyon: Omer Gecek (Sandikli)
Ankara: Kizilcahamam, Ayas, Haymana
Bolu: Buyuk Kaplica
Bursa: Cekirge, Oylat
Denizli: Pamukkale, Karahayit
Izmir: Balcova, Cesme, Sifne
Kutahya: Yoncali, Harlek
Samsun: Ladik, Havza
Yalova: Yalova Termal, Armutlu
Although some of these particular spas are not luxurious, the
main advantage is being able to enjoy their therapeutic benefits
in natural surroundings. Take a lesson from the ancients and
treat yourself to a natural health cure during your visit to
BURSA (Altitude: 109 m)
This first capital of the Ottoman
Empire has been famous for centuries for the therapeutic
qualities of its natural hot springs.
the earliest recorded visitors who came to Bursa to enjoy the
waters was Byzantine Empress Theodora. Today, the Ottoman baths,
known as Eski Kaplica, continue to function as part of the
Kervansaray Termal in the Cekirge district of Bursa. The five-star
Celik Palas Termal Hotel also has luxurious facilities with
natural hot springs and baths offering various treatments. The
domed baths run by the Kervansaray Termal are an excellent
example of early Ottoman architecture.
Cekirge hot springs flow at the rate of 5 liters per second. The
Kervansaray baths can accommodate 600 people per day, while the
Celik Palas can provide curative baths to 400 people per day.
thermal waters of the Cekirge springs are composed of calcium,
magnesium sulfate and bicarbonate; the water temperature ranges
from 39-58 C with a pH ranging from 6.6 to 7.2, and a total
mineral content of 1,164 mg/It. These hot springs are good for
rheumatic diseases, hepatic and gall bladder diseases, metabolic
disorders, gynecological diseases and post- operative problems.
Celik Palas Termal Hotel
Kaplica, run by the Kervansaray Termal features hot mineral
pools, baths and a Turkish bath with natural hot springs.
Treatments in hot mineral pools and baths, as well as massage,
underwater massage and electro-physical therapy are available at
the Celik Palas Hotel. Oylat Thermal Center is 27 km from Inegol
in a forest at the foot of Uludag Mountain. The hot spring has
been used for 2000 years. The temperature is 40.5 C, the pH is
7.3, and the mineral content 3000 mg/lt.
YALOVA (Altitude: 10 m)
Yalova hot springs are located to the south of the Sea of
Marmara, 13 km southwest of the provincial center of Yalova in a
wonderfully green setting.
Yalova hot springs have a natural water outlet, flowing at a
rate of 15 liters per second. With 1,651 total beds, this
amounts to 600 liters of water/person/day.
hot springs have a composition of sodium chloride, calcium
sulfate and fluoride. With a temperature of 60-65 C, a pH of
7.8, and 1,435 mg/It total mineral content, the waters are
suitable for both bathing and drinking. Yalova hot springs are
known for their therapeutic qualities, especially for rheumatic
diseases, digestive maladies, neurological and urological
disorders and metabolic problems. The Armutlu hot spring is 4
Ian northeast of Yalova. The water is 57-73 C with a pH of
6.2 to 6.5. It flows at a rate of 10 lit/sec.
spa has both indoor and outdoor pools and baths, and offers
massage, underwater massage and drinking cures. With a treatment
capacity of nearly 2,000 people per day, the spa includes a
first-class restaurant, a cafe, a very attractive park and a
BOLU (Altitude: 786 m)
Bolu hot springs are 5 km south of Bolu in the western Black Sea
region in the foothills of the Ala Mountains.
The waters contain bicarbonate,
sulphate, calcium, magnesium, and carbon dioxide. The pH is
5.82-6.36 and the temperature 42-44 C. The thermal waters are
beneficial for the treatment of liver, gall bladder, kidney, and
urinary problems. Treatment The thermal waters and steam
are good for bathing, drinking and inhaling. Near by is the
privately operated Kucuk Kaplica.
BALIKESIR - GONEN (Altitude: 36
hot spring is located next to the Gonen Stream in Gonen County
in the province of Balikesir in the Marmara Region.
Pyshio-Chemical Characteristics and Indications
thermal water is 730C with a pH of 7.36. It is classified as
hypothermal, hypotonic mineral water which is good for drinking
and bathing. The water contains 0.590 mg/lt ammonia, 528.770 mg/lt
sodium, 29.325 mg/lt potassium, and 278.637 mg/It chlorine.
Turkish Bath (Hamam)
IZMIR - BALCOVA (Altitude: 25
Balcova hot springs are located on the site of the Baths of
Agamemnon, known in antiquity for the therapeutic qualities of
Balcova Treatment Center
According to one legend, Agamemnon was advised by an oracle to
bring soldiers who had been wounded during the campaign against
Troy to the sulfur-rich waters of these natural hot springs.
Balcova is situated to the west of the Aegean port of Izmir.
Balcova hot, springs flow from two exploratory wells at a
rate of 28 liters per second. The facilities can accommodate
3,456 bath-days on the basis of 600 liters per person per day,
Balcova hot springs contain sodium chloride and calcium
bicarbonate. The springs have a water temperature ranging from
62 to 80 C, a pH of 6.4, and a mineral content of 1,369 mg/It.
hot springs are recommended for the treatment of rheumatic
diseases, digestive maladies, post-injury healing and post-
operative problems, along with calcification and metabolic
The Balcova hot spring complex,
with a total capacity of 3,000 people per day, provides hot
mineral pools and baths, offers a patient therapy pool, sauna ,
massage, underwater massage, ultrasound, physical exercise,
electro-therapy and physical therapy. The complex also has a new
IZMIR - CESME (Altitude: 5 m)
Cesme ("fountain") is
abundantly endowed with natural hot springs.
on the Aegean coast, 80 km west of Izmir, the holiday resort has
excellent hotels with complete spas. Some use mineral waters
from natural hot springs, while the facilities at the Altin
Taunus Holiday Resort utilize mineralrich seawater.
springs on the long sandy beach flow at a rate of 15 liters per
second and can accommodate 500 people a day. The Altin Taunus
Holiday Resort, situated in a cove along the seaside, has a
Natural Sea Spa which can also handle 500 people per day.
Characteristics and Indications
hot springs contain a high level of sodium chloride, magnesium
sulphate, and calcium bicarbonate. The water temperature is 55 C
with a pH of 6.5, and the mineral content is 2,720 mg/lt. The
sea water used in the Altin Taunus spa has a similar composition.
These waters are heated and used for treating rheumatic,
dermatological and gynecological diseases. They are also
recommended for neurological exhaustion and to help strengthen
muscles after surgery. The Sifne-Ilica hot springs have 42 C
water with a pH of 6.76.
has hot mineral pools and baths, and offers underwater massage,
physical and electrotherapy. The Altin Taunus spas incorporate
similar facilities along with physical exercise and geriatric
Pamukkale ("Cotton Castle") nature has produced a sight of
For thousands of years a deep underground spring has been
pouring out streams of hot, mineral-saturated water. As it has
flowed down the mountainside the steaming water has hollowed
enormous circular basins in the earth, and the water's rich
mineral content has coated them in a smooth layer of dazzlingly-white
calcareous rock. To the ancients such beauty could only mean
that the place was sacred to the gods. Built near the natural
hot springs, the grand city of Hierapolis attracted a
steady stream of pilgrims, who came to bathe in the curative
waters. Pamukkale is located 250 km from Izmir and 20 km from
Denizli. Most of the hotels are in Karahayit, 5 Ian north of
Pamukkale. The water is 42-56 C, the pH is 5.98, similar to
Pamukkale, but the water has more iron content.
Pamukkale hot springs flow at a rate of 400 liters per second.
The various facilities can accommodate about 6,000 people/day
total which amounts to 600 liters of water/person/day.
mineral-rich Pamukkale hot spring waters are rich in calcium,
magnesium sulfate and bicarbonate. They also contain carbon
dioxide and have a radioactive content of 1,537 picokuri/liter (or
56 bekerel/liter). Water temperature is 36 to 38 C with a pH of
6. Total mineral content is 2,430 mg/It. The waters are used
both for drinking and bathing. They are recommended for the
treatment of rheumatic, dermatological and gynecological
diseases, neurological and physical exhaustion, digestive
maladies and nutritional disorders.
Treatments and accommodations
Throughout history, Pamukkale has been a famous spa, with both
baths and open pools set into the snow-white cliffs. Bath
treatments take place in natural pools developed around the main
hot springs. Hot mineral water spas have been opened at a number
of new and very comfortable hotels in the area.
MUGLA - KOYCEGIZ - DALYANKOY (Altitude:
Koycegiz Lake, located near Dalaman International Airport and
within a convenient distance of both Fethiye and Marmaris, is
well known for its natural hot springs and mud baths.
The lake narrows into a
channel, flowing into the Dalyan River which empties into the
Mediterranean at one of Turkey's most spectacular beaches,
lztuzu, which is also the breeding ground of the Caretta caretta
sea turtle. The reed-lined river meanders toward the sea,
overlooked by 4th-century B.C. Lycian rock tombs. Nearby are the
ruins of the ancient city of Caunos. On the asphalt road to
Velibey is the ancient settlement now at Sultaniye, also a
thermal center used for centuries, and site of numerous ruins.
Situated next to a natural
channel between Koycegiz Lake and the Mediterranean Sea, the
Riza Cavus Thermal Baths form a water pool and a mud pond, with
a flow rate of about 8 liters per second. The mud and mineral
baths can accommodate 1,000 people per day. At a second spring
is Velibey Thermal Baths, 1.5 km north of Riza Cavus that has
similar qualities and a flow rate of 20 liters per second. The
waters of Sultaniye are good for both bathing and drinking. They
flow at a rate of 42 liters per second, resulting in a bath
capacity of 10,000
baths per day.
Physio-chemical Characteristics and Indications
Riza Cavus natural hot springs contain sodium chloride, hydrogen,
sulfur, bromide, fluoride, and are naturally radioactive (3,770
picokuri/liter, or 139 bekerel/liter), with a total salt and
mineral content of 2,800 mg/It. The temperature of the mud and
water is 30' to 38 C, and the pH is about 6.5. These hot springs
are good for the treatment of rheumatic, dermatological and
gynecological diseases, as well as neurological and physical
Treatments and Accommodations
Koycegiz baths do not offer overnight accommodations so visitors
stay at small hotels and pensions in nearby Dalyan. The baths
can be reached from Dalyan by small boats. The treatment
consists of covering the body with a layer of mud and then
soaking in the hot mineral water. At Sultaniye it is possible to
find accommodation in village houses for up to 400 persons.
KUTAHYA (Altitude: 969 m)
is in western Anatolia and has been a thermal center for
numerous civilizations for more than 5,000 years.
Kutahya is an important city for
thermal centers and the only one in the country to have 6 in the
same area. The most important of these are Ilica Harlek and
Yoncali. The thermal center at Yoncali has been in use since
A.D. 762. The city of Kutahya is also known for the beauty of
its ceramics and tiles.
thermal waters at Ilica Harlek flow at 41 literstsecond. At
Yoncali. the capacity is 36-51 lit/sec.
Physio-Chemical Characteristics and Indications
waters of Ilica. Harlek vary in temperature from 25 to 43 C, and
at Yoncali. from 32-36 C. The waters of Ilica Harlek and Yoncali
contain magnesium, calcium and bicarbonate. The waters are
useful to those suffering from rheumatism, dermatological
problems, neurological disorders, gynecological problems, liver
disorders, insomnia, and gall bladder and backbone complaints.
The waters at Yoncali are particularly beneficial for gout,
lumbago and fractures.
hot springs in the Kutahya Province include:
Ilica Kaplica (Altitude:
Located 13 km from Gediz. The thermal waters flow at 217 lit/sec
and are 78-79 C with a pH of 6.5-7.9.
Murat Dag Kaplica (Altitude: 1450 m)
Located 30 km from Gediz. The
thermal waters flow at 23 lit/sec and are 31-420C with a pH of
Located 4 Ian from Simav (between Kutahya and Balikesir). This
geyser with a pH of 9.7 emits steam at 163 C.