Introduction -



Introduction -
International Journal of Arts and Sciences
3(15): 303-321 (2010)
CD-ROM. ISSN: 1944-6934
The Noticeable Geomorphosites of Turkey
Deniz Ekinci, Istanbul University, Turkey
Geomorphosites are landforms to which the society confers a certain value for scientific, but
also cultural, ecological, aesthetic or economic reasons. Geomorphosites, geomorphoheritage,
geomorphotourism are widely used terms in many countries, but are still scarcely mentioned
in Turkey. The value of geomorphosites is poorly known to the public and to scientists from
other disciplines. However many natural landscapes are preserved throughout Turkey due to
their cultural and historical values as well as for their environmental importance.
In particular, geomorphosites make opportunities for education, recreation and tourism. Thus,
geomorphosites offer as a potential for sustainable tourism, education and landscape
appreciation. As it is state, tourism is the largest economic sector in terms of earnings and in
number of people employed among Turkey. As the Word Tourism Organization defines it,
sustainable tourism should make optimal use of environmental resources, respect the
sociocultural authenticity of host communities, and ensure viable, long term economic
operations, providing socioeconomic benefits to all stakeholders. The issue of sustainable and
responsible tourism can be tackled, with good hopes for success, by favoring an easy
understanding and comprehension of the landscape. This approach represents the most
correct mean of environment and tourism.
The main objective of this study is to improve knowledge and assessment of
geomorphological sites, with particular emphasis on conservation, education and tourism
attractively in respect to Turkey. This paper also presents the conspicuous geomorphosite
inventory of different types of relief, and namely, structural-erosional, karstic, rivererosional,
erosional-denudated, glacial, seacoast landforms, sandstone beehives, limestone caves, crags
and cliffs, peaks and ranges, saltpans and desert dunes, and gorges are present.
This present consisted in a preliminary identification of important geomorphosites such as
terrace, travertine, cave, canyon, landform and mountain that need to be protected for a
rational and sustainable use. In order to describe and evaluate the geomorphological heritage
of Turkey, some geomorphosites have been selected comprising karst, carbonate
depositional, fluvial, structural and volcanic landforms. The results of this research have been
summarized in a thematic map, representing the geomorphosites related to various landscape
Keywords: Geomorphosites, Turkey, Bosporus, Cappadocia, Travertines at Pamukkale
This article presents a panoramic analysis of geomorphotourism in Turkey with special
references. As ıt known tourism is the largest economic sector in terms of earnings and in
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number of people employed among morphological areas. In addition, tourism particularly sea
tourism in Turkey has become a mass industry concentrated in the western and southern
coastal areas (TÜRSAB, 1996). At the end of the millennium Turkey is ranked 19th of the
most visited countries in the world (TÜRSAB, 2000). Most visitors are attracted by its 9000
km of coast, but central Anatolia with the two natural highlights of Cappadocia and
Pamukkale are also focuses of attention (Seckelmann, 2002). Geomorphotourism is a
segment of tourism that has been developed worldwide and emerging as a new global
phenomenon in recent years. It is a form of special interest tourism and focuses on
morphological features and the types of landscapes. In addition, Geomorphotourism is
sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing the landform types in a way that
fosters geomorphological and cultural understanding, appreciation and preservation, and is
locally advantageous (Dowling, 2008).
Whichever way it is defined, the ‘geomorpho’ part in geomorphotourism means
geomorphology. Geomorphology is the study of landforms. It explains generating and
developing with processes of landforms. The ‘tourism’ part means visiting, learning from,
appreciating and engaging in geomorphosites. Overall, geomorphotourism contains the
geomorphological elements of ‘form and process’ combined with the components of tourism
such as attractions, accommodation, tours, activities, interpretation and planning and
Morphological features due to tourism activities are among the most important
geomorphosites of Turkey. Turkey has river, glacial, periglacial, semi-arid landforms, coastal
relief, volcanic and karstic structures including springs, caves and exogenic features, gorges
and widespread river deposits, etc… As a result, Turkey has a big geomorphotourism
According to all of the glorious morphological features, they are not used for tourism,
moreover geomorphotourism hasn’t developed and widely known until 2000. In fact, since
long time ago people come to visit “geomorphological wonders”, like mountains, caves,
volcanoes, travertines, canyons and of Turkey. However, only in recent times, there was a
challenge for this sector and geomorphotourism in Turkey has begun to increase its
awareness and importance. Therefore, this niche of tourism has been growing in Turkey like
in many other countries in the last years.
This paper is to provide a brief overview of geomorphotourism in Turkey. It tries to present
general information about Turkey’s mainly geomorphotourism elements and places where
they occur, as well as some examples. Therefore, the aim of this study is to demonstrate
noticeable Geomorphosites of Turkey with some example as high quality destinations for
alternative sustainable tourism. However, it is clear that the future development of
geomorphotourism particularly as a morphological heritage requires a comprehensive
inventory and detailed planning.
Turkey is a Eurasian country that stretches across the Anatolian peninsula in western Asia
and Thrace in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. Turkey shares borders with Greece
and Bulgaria in Europe, with Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria in the Asia.
Occupying an area of 814,578 square kilometers including 9,820 square kilometers of water
and is surrounded by about 9,000 kilometers of coastline on the Mediterranean Sea, Aegean
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Sea, Black Sea, and Sea of Marmara.. The country covers the whole Anatolian Peninsula,
Thrace and islands in the Marmara and Aegean Seas (Figure 1).
Anatolia, which comprises the bulk of Turkish territory, is a peninsula in western Asia
situated between the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Thrace,
the western, European segment of Turkey, forms the southeastern extremity of Europe, east
of Bulgaria and Greece. Some 8 percent of Turkey’s territory is in Thrace. The Sea of
Marmara and the strategic Dardanelles and Bosporus straits separate Thrace and Anatolia.
Figure 1. Location map of Turkey
General Features of Turkey via Geomorphosites
Climatic conditions vary considerably from region to region. The Aegean and Mediterranean
coastal regions have cool, rainy winters and hot, moderately dry summers, with annual
precipitation ranging from 500 to 1,300 millimeters. The Black Sea coastal region, whose
temperature range is lower than the other coastal regions, has the heaviest rainfall in Turkey,
averaging 1,450 millimeters per year. Because it is blocked from the sea by Turkey’s
mountain ranges, the Anatolian Plateau has a severely continental climate, with cold in the
winter and heat in summer. Rainfall there is very sparse in summer, but snowfall in winter is
heavy. Annual precipitation averages 600 millimeters. The eastern highlands have hot, dry
summers and cold winters with heavy snowfall.
Turkey’s longest river is Kızılırmak with 1,355 km. and after its 1,263 km of the Euphrates
River and 523 km of the Tigris both of which originates in Turkey. Turkey, owing to its
location in the tectonically active Alpine Himalayan belt, is characterized by a widespread
geothermal activity manifesting itself in the form of numerous hot springs, fumaroles and
recent mineralization. Turkey is a country with a large number of geothermal fields,
especially in its western region. The presence of more than 500 hot springs, with discharge
temperatures up to 100 °C. Some are of high temperature, such as Kızıldere (242 °C) and
Germencik (232 °C), but most are of lower temperatures, such as Denizli-Pamukkale (36 °C)
and Karahayit (59 °C) (Simsek, 1985; 1990).
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Turkey creates natural attractions which include varied and unspoiled landscapes with
mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes. Turkey, which is located in the Alpine-Himalayan
orogenic belt, has a very rugged and high topographic structure. The geological structure in
Turkey is complex. Main causes of these situations are related to orogenic movements that
occurred during the Cenozoic Era and epirogenic and volcanic activities that took place
between the Tertiary and Quaternary times.
Turkey’s extremities are divided into the Black Sea coastline region, the Aegean coastline
region, the Mediterranean coastline region, and the Arabian Platform along the Syrian border
in the south. The interior is divided into the North Anatolian mountain range, which lines
most of the Black Sea coastline and it rise to more than 3,500 meters; the Taurus mountain
range, which extends from the Mediterranean coast; the Anatolian Plateau, which dominates
the interior of western Anatolia; and the eastern highlands, which dominate far eastern
Anatolia. The Anatolian Plateau extends from the Aegean coastal region between the two
major mountain ranges to form the semiarid heartland of Turkey. Elevation is between 500
and 2000 meters, with several major basins. The eastern highlands are formed by the
convergence of the Taurus and North Anatolian ranges. Mountains here are more rugged than
elsewhere in Turkey; the highest mountain, Mt. Ararat, is 5,137 meters high followed by
Buzul Mountain (4,116 m). Turkey’s largest lake, Lake Van with 3,712 km², is in the eastern
The Black Sea region features rocky coastlines cut by rivers flowing from gorges in the Black
Sea Mountains. The Aegean region is mainly rolling terrain favorablee. The narrow
Mediterranean coastal region is flat farmland, separated from Anatolia by the Taurus
Mountains and opening into wide plains at some points. The Arabian Platform is a region of
rolling hills along the Syrian border. Therefore, Turkey has an important richness from
geomorphology heritage resources points of view, so it has an important potential for
Case studies; Turkey’s Icon Geomorphotourism Sites
Many natural landscapes are preserved throughout the Turkey due to their cultural and
historical values and morphological heritage as well as for their environmental importance.
There are a number of examples around Turkey where geomorphotourism is being used as a
primary tool for the development of local and regional communities. Turkey has a large
number of landforms with the well known being Bosporus, Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Dead
Sea Lagoon, Girl Sand, Dupnisa Cave, Ağrı Mount, Katakeumene, Meke Maar, Mount
Nemrut, Kangal Fish Lake in the different locations of the country. Samples; Bosporus,
Cappadocia, and Pamukkale, are all morphological and they are all tourism attractions and
are now presented of selected geomorphotourism in Turkey (Figure 2).
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Figure 2. Location map of Selected Geomorphosites of Turkey
Bosporus (Istanbul Strait)
The Bosporus Strait is located in the Maramara region in western Anatolia, Turkey. It form a
water route of great strategic and economic importance between the Black Sea and the
Mediterranean. The Bosporus Straits lies between the Black Sea to the North, and the Sea of
Marmara to the South (Figure 3).
Marmara Region
Figure 3. Location map of Bosporus
The Bosphorus Strait is the sole narrow seaway connecting the Black Sea, to the north, with
the Sea of Marmara, to the South. Furthermore, the Sea of Marmara is connected with part of
the eastern Mediterranean called the Aegean Sea through the larger Dardanelles Strait.
The basement of the Bosphorus is formed by the Palaeozoic and Upper Cretaceous rocks of
the Istanbul and Kocaeli peninsulas. They are exposed on both sides of the Bosphorus.The
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region around the Bosphorus is geologically complex, with a basement consisting mainly of
the Istanbul tectonic zone, outcropping in then southern and central parts of the Bosphorus
(Gokasan et al., 1997).
Bosporus from trace shore is approximately 44 km betwen Rumeli Feneri and Ahırkapı
Feneri, Anatolia shore 51 km long betwen Anadolu Feneri and İnciburnu (Figure 4), with an
average width of 3610 m (Figure 5), and it is only 700 m (Figure 6), wide at its narrowest
point. The maximum present water depth within the Bosphorus exceeds 120 m in a restricted
basin near Kandilli, South central part of the Strait, while the sill depth is about 35 m.
The Bosphorus Strait was formed during the Quaternary. During a significant rise in sea
level, between 7000 and 5300 years ago, barrier was finally submerged, permitting
interchange of marine waters between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and creating the
present oceanographic situation.
The Bosphorus Strait is generally considered to have played an important role in connecting
the marine waters of the Sea of Marmara with the less saline Black Sea during the Quaternary
Kerey at al., 2004).
Figure 4. The map of Bosporus
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Figure 5. The map of widest point of Bosporus
Figure 6. The map of narrowest point of Bosporus
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This narrow channel is one of the busiest waterways in the world. The Strait of Istanbul is
one of the major trade artery in the World with an average of 50000 vessels transit the
Bosporus annually, along with hundreds of passenger, fishing, and leisure crafts, which daily
cross the Bosporus from one side to the other (Kerey et al., 2004; Gökaşan et al., 1997).
There are also Ottoman era waterfront houses, 620 historic waterfront houses colled yalı, 2
bridges, 2 historical castels on the Bosporus and beatufil shore stretch along the coasts of the
Bosporus (Photo 1).
Photo 1. A view of the Bosphorus, with the Boğaziçi Bridge seen in the background.
The Cappadocia Volcanic Province
Capadocia define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy
chimneys, and unique historical and cultural heritage. Cappadocia which is unique in the
world and is a miraculous nature wonder occured in the upper Myosen period as a result of
the Erciyes, Hasandag and Gulludag vulcanic eruptions.
Since the Miocene, the convergence of the Afro-Arabian and Eurasian plates produced a
complex set of subduction zones whose location and times life were a function of the
geometry of continental plate margins (Şengör and Yılmaz, 1981). These subduction zones
produced a volcanic belt between Greece and Iran, forming several provinces of different age
and composition. Since Neogene times, it has been the site of an intensive volcanic activity
(Sengör, 1980; Le Penneca, 2005). The name Cappadocia generally indicates a broad
geographical region in the central part of the Anatolian Plateau, between the cities of
Aksaray, Kayseri, Nigde, Kırşehir and Nevsehir (Figure 7).
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Figure 7. Location map of Cappadocia
It is characterized by a plateau morphology, with mean altitude of about 1000 m., essentially
composed of pyroclastic ignimbrite deposits for an extension of about 11,000 km² (Burri and
Petitta, 2005). There was formed a large tableland from the vulcanic tufas and together with
the erosion of the Kızılırmak river and wind over ten thausands of years there appeared the
chimney rocks (peribacaları) which are a wonder of the nature. Strong geomorphological
activity in the soft ignimbrite context gave rise to a unique landscape, which is defined by
branched and deeply incised valley systems and by the well known pinnacles or “Fairy
Chimneys”.The Cappadocian volcanic field is characterised by a sequence of Neogene
ignimbrites (Temel, at al., 1998). Traditional Cappadocian houses and dovecotes carved into
the stone show the uniqueness of the region. These houses are constructed at the foot of the
mountain using rocks or cut stone. Because of its unique geomorphology and strategic
location, it has attracted civilizations for thousands of years, including the epochs of
prehistoric times, the Hittite period, early iron epoch, Byzantium period, the Seljuks, and
The Cappadocia is a place where nature and history come together with the most beautiful
scenery in the world andt it is also one of the important tourism centers of Turkey is visited
every year by hundred thousands of tourists coming from every part of the world. The area is
a famous and popular tourist destination, as it has many areas with unique geomorphological,
geological, historic and cultural features. Cappadocia contains very important morphosites
ıcons. These are Goreme, Urgup, Avanos, Zelve, Uchisar, Ortahisar, Ihlara valley and
Underground cities.
Goreme open air museum is 10 km far away from the center of Nevsehir and near the
Goreme town of Nevsehir province. There is a member of Unesco World Heritage List since
1984. The area created from volcanic rocks is famous with the chimney rocks resulting from
the erosion made by the natural factors to these rocks and with the historical richness. From
the natural features of the region have emerged the unique scenery, which attracts many
tourists to the regions (Photo 2). It has been an important religious place together with the
intensive emigration of the first Christians escaping from the pressure of the Romans.
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Photo 2. A view of the Goreme Open Air Museum
Urgup is located in the Cappadocia region. Urgup is 17 km from Nevsehir by well surfaced
road. The average elevation above sea level is 1150 m. Around 12000 people live in Urgup.
The geological history of the region is based on volcanicity from Oligocene times,
approximately 40 million years ago (Tosun, 1998).
The unique scenery, geological structure, religious relics and historical sites are the primary
attractions for tourism, distinguishing Urgup from other local tourist destinations in Turkey.
Urgup is a very old town in the Cappadocia region, and has a long and colourful history. The
most significant fact about Cappadocia is that it provided asylum to early Christians who had
selected the Goreme Valley and Urgup for building churches in the year 53 AD, thus laying
the foundations of Christianity in this part of the world (
The valleys, which were formed by erosion, sheltered the Christians fleeing Roman
oppression. Christians built a multitude of churches by hollowing into the rocks in the valley
of Goreme. The rock churches were decorated with impressive religious frescoes. Ürgüp was
the patriarchate center of the Cappadocia region. The Uzumlu Church, Cambazli Church and
Sarica Church in Ortahisar which was one of the villages of Ürgüp are the oldest rock
churches from the region. Ürgüp which has got the famous cave hotels, and hand made
carpets is the important tourism center of the Cappaddocia Region. The old cave houses were
restored as a tourists cave hotel without damaging their historic structure.
Avanos taking place at 18 km in the north of center of Nevsehir has been settled on the coast
of the Kizilirmak River. The most important feature of the region is the manufacture of clay
jugs, biscuits, and jars. The jar makers continuing since the period of the Hittites are still
continuing their traditions. At the archeological diggings made in the Zank Mound near the
town Sarilar of Avanos there has been discovered the ruins belonging to the different culturs
from the Old Bronze Age and until to Late Roman Period (
Zelve, formed from three valleys is the place having the most intensive chimney rocks
formed in the volcanic tufas. While geographic events formed fairy chimneys during the
historical period, humans used the signs of thousand-years-old civilizations by carving houses
and churches within these earth pillars and decorating them with friezes. The chimneys rocks
from the valley are with sharpen ends and large trunks. Furthermore there are many
settlements places in the volcanic tufas used for hiding by the first Christians trying to escape
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from the Roman soldiers. In these settlement places there are many abbeys and churches
(Photo 3). The church named Direkli Church from the outskirts of the valley belongs to the
first years of abbey life from Zelve. The relief crosses preferred in the trimmings of the
churches are mostly iconoclastic. The most important churches of the valley are Balikli,
Üzümlü and Geyikli Churches dated before this period (
Photo 3. One of the geomorphosites visited during the field trip on the Zelve
The Ihlara Valley is situated within a volcanic area that is formed by the collision of the
eastern Mediterranean plate system with the Anatolian plate (Sarı, 2009). The volcanic
eruption of Hasandağı led to tectonic movements that left the surface of the region covered
with a layer of volcanic rock. The same volcanic activity led to pressure and heat being put
upon the limestone causing it to crack and create naturally spouting springs of hot water. The
structural characteristics of the region due to volcanic eruption produced tufa outcrops which
were moulded by wind, erosion and other natural phenomena and created the strange and
colorful Fairy Chimneys that are also encountered at Selime and Yaprakhisar. The tectonic
movoments produced tufa rock that in some places is soft and in others is coloured grey,
green and brown. Huge areas of crumbling rock completely covered the area in its debris.
The Ihlara valley alogside the melendiz River is a result of this disintegration that created a
canyon with a deep base (Photo 4).
Photo 4. A view of the IhlaraValley
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The Ihlara Valley has protected these rock-cut dwellings ad churhes with frescoes and they
come down to us a unique historical treasury. These frescoed churches and dwellings easily
carved into rock from the early years of Christianity are scattered all along Ihlara valley. It
has been formed at an approximate depth of 150 m. due that the erosion made by Melendiz
river coming from the mountains of Melendiz to the volcanic rocks. Due that the richness of
the watering possibility and its hidden form and easily to hide structure it was the first
settlement place of the first Christians escaping from the Roman soldiers. In the Ihlara Valley
there are hundreds of antic churches caved in the volcanic rocks.
Ortahisar is situated 6 km far from Ürgüp. Its most pronounced structure is the Castle of
Ortahisar situated at a 86 m height cave in the period of Eti. The castle has been used
strategically and for accommodation. In the middle of Ortahisar there is a castle as a huge
chimney rock (Photo 5).
Photo 5. A view of the Ortahisar (
Uchisar which is situated in the highest point of the region. The hill of the castle of Uchisar is
the panoramic watching point. On the chimney rock and outskirts of the castle and around
there has been constructed many dovecotes.
Underground cities are other geomorphosites in Cappadocia. It is known that there are more
than a hundred of underground settlements in the region and many of them are not open for
visits. The underground cities, which are guessed to be used since the Bronze Age, used to be
a settlement mostly in Byzantine period, doubtless. Certainly the most interesting features of
the Cappadocia area are the underground cities founded within. Until now even that have
been determined about 40 underground cities just 6 of these have been opened for visit. Well
known underground cities of Cappadocia area are Tatlarin, Derinkuyu, Ozkonak, Mazi
Village, Kaymakli and Gaziemir Underground City (
Rock, which is the only construction material of the region, as it is very soft after quarrying
due to the structure, can be easily processed but after contact with air it hardens and turns into
a very strong construction material. The human settlements in this area are principally due to
the Christians and, at a later stage, to the Byzantines: their activity marked the entire area and
produced an outstanding system of underground settlements. In addition to residential
structures, various types of service structures are still visible. Among the latter, mention
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should be made of those connected with water utilization. Both geology and climate made it
imperative to optimize the use of water resources (Aydana and Ulusay, 2003).
One of underground cities is Derinkuyu. It is situated on Nevsehir Nigde roadway at 30 km in
south region of Nevsehir. As all of the underground cities from region of Cappadoccia it was
the first place where the Christians have hidden. It has been used as hiding and refuge place
at the time of wars occurred in the zone in the different periods of the history. The Derinkuyu
Underground City with seven floors and depth of 85 mt has the dimensions of a city able to
shelter thousands of persons. Due to being plentiful and easy to process, regional unique
masonry is developed and turned into an architectural tradition. Materials of neither courtyard
nor house door are wood. Upper parts of the doors built with arches are decorated with
stylized ivy or rosette motifs. Inside there are found food stores, kitchens, stalls, churches,
ventilation chimneys, water wells and a missionary school.
Travertines at Pamukkale
Travertine deposition at Pamukkale, one of Turkey's most important tourist destinations.
Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a natural site and attraction in southwestern Turkey in the Denizli basin (Figure 8). The Denizli basin, which is famous by its
modern travertine accumulations such as that of Pamukkale (Hierapolis) is located at the
eastern junction of Büyük Menderes and Gediz grabens in the western Anatolian extensional
province. One of the most spectacular natural geothermal features in the world are the
travertine terraces at Pamukkale, situated about 17 km from the town of Denizli in the southwestern part of Turkey. Other say Denizli Basin is located in Turkey's Inner Aegean region,
the southeastern part of the Menderes Massif. This basin contains large travertine formations,
the origin and age of which are still debated. The famous white travertine terraces at
Pamukkale is a World Heritage Site from Turkey. Hard water reaches the surface as hot
springs and minarel in the water precipitate out and become solid, forming terraces in these
area (Photo 5).
Figure 8. Location map of Pamukkale
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Photo 5. A view of Pamukkale
Western Anatolia (Turkey) is among the most active extensional regions in the world, where
pervasive crustal extension in the Neogene and Quaternary led to the development of
extensional grabens trending NW–SE, NE–SW, and E–W (Bozkurt, 2003). The Denizli
basin in which Quaternary travertine accumulations are common is situated in southwestern
Turkey, about 250 km to the east of the Aegean coasts. The Denizli basin is about 70 km
long, 50 km wide and located at the eastern junction of the Büyük Menderes and Gediz
grabens (Westaway, 1990; 1993; Bozkurt, 2003).
The tectonic movements that took place in the fault depression of the Menderes river basin
triggered frequent earthquakes, and gave rise to the emergence of a number of very hot
springs. The water from one of these springs, with its large calcium content created
Pamukkale. This basin is a part of the West Anatolian extensional province. The Denizli
basin is actually a graben filled by Neogene and Quaternary deposits and bounded by normal
faults along both margins. In addition, the graben fill is broken up, by normal faulting and
extensional fissures. The horst areas are mainly composed of variable gneiss, schists and
marbles of the Menderes Massif and allochthonous Mesozoic carbonates. The most
prominent feature of the Denizli basin is its modern travertine formations known as
Pamukkale travertines, which is a well-visited touristic site. In fact, modern and old travertine
accumulations cover in this basin an area more than 100 km², and their thickness reaches up
to 60 m. The travertine occurrences are seen along the both margins of the Denizli basin,
predominantly the northern margin. Some of the old travertines, especially near Kaklık and
Kocabas towns, are quarried by marble industry for many years (Şimşek at al., 2000; Erten at
al., 2005; Yuksel at al., 1999).
The Denizli Basin is such a graben developed on metamorphic bedrock of Palaeozoic–
Mesozoic age. The Denizli Basin contains a record of environmental changes dating since the
Early Miocene. The Neogene basin-fill succession is relatively well exposed, allowing the
basin's history to be reconstructed and shedding new light on the tectonic development,
palaeogeographic evolution, and climatic changes in southwestern Anatolia since the Early
Miocene (Jackson, 1994; Altunel, 1996; Alçiçek et al., 2007; Şimşek at al., 2000).
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Pamukkale itself is an extraordinary sight, with its calcareous waters tumbling down from a
height of approximately 100 m; it appears as a sparkling fairy-tale castle of white cotton or
snow and, indeed, the word Pamukkale means ``cotton castle''. The effect of this natural
phenomenon has left thick white layers of limestone and travertine cascading down the
mountain slope resembling a frozen waterfall. One type of these formations consists of
crescent-shaped travertine terraces with a shallow layer of water, lying in a step-like
arrangement down the upper one-third of the slope, with the steps ranging from 1m to 6
meters in height. The other form consists of stalactites, propping up and connecting these
terraces. Perhaps, the two most breathtaking sights in the hilly landscape of this area are the
calciferous springs and cotton- colored terraces, and the dramatic view of the remains of the
important Roman city of Hierapolis, founded by Eumenes II (King of Pergamon) in the 2nd
century BC. Hierapolis reached the highest point of its development in the 2nd and 3rd
centuries, and became a city famous for its baths, fed by the hot springs nearby. Among
several interesting monuments in the ruins of the city are the statues and architectural exhibits
housed in one of the chambers of the old Roman Baths, called the Great Baths (Altunel and
Hancock, 1993a;1993b; 1997).
Pamukkale, literally meaning “cotton castle”, is also the site of which there are many
interesting ruins, and is a very populer destination for a short visit (Photo 6).
Photo 6. At Pamukkale (;;
Pamukkale was formed when a spring with a high content of dissolved calcium bicarbonate
cascaded over the edge of the cliff, which cooled and hardened leaving calcium deposits. This
formed into natural pools, shelves and ridges, which tourists could plunge and splash in the
warm water (Photo 7) (Akan andSimsek, 1997; Mutlu and Gulec, 1998).
International Journal of Arts and Sciences
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Photo 7. Pamukkale, Turkey’s iconic geomorphotourist attraction (
The thermal springs at Pamukkale which give rise to these geological phenomena cover a
wide area. In this area, there are several hot water springs which have a temperature between
35 and 100 degrees. The thermal springs of Pamukkale form an integral part of the regions
potential for tourism and have been popular since ancient times. The water, having emerged
from the spring, is transported 320 m to the head of the travertines and deposits itself on a
section 60 to 70 meters long covering an expanse of 240 to 300 meters square. When the
water first comes out of the ground it is about 35,6 ºC. The water includes calcium hydro
carbonate in a big quantity (Günay, et al, 1997).
Bosporus, Cappadocia and Pamukkale are important environmental and tourism assets in
Turkey. Since the Paleolithic era, many civilizations passed by Bosporus, Cappadocia and
Pamukkale as important settlement places, not only underground and aboveground
geomorphological features richness but also occupying geographical position.
One of the most important aspects of in this study is that they should be a focus for nature
and culture based geomorphotourism, with a strong emphasis on using geodiversity to
support sustainable development. These geomorphosites are at different stages of
development some are established tourism destinations and some are working towards this
As a result, Turkey has important resources concerning geomorphologic heritage so Turkey
has a big geomorphotourism potential. However, these geomorphosite resources are not
enough used for tourism moreover nobody also government knows their important as
sustainable socioeconomic and cultural heritages until last decades. Nowadays important of
International Journal of Arts and Sciences
3(15): 303-321 (2010)
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these resources is spotted in terms both sustainable tourism and cultural heritage. This study
provides information both domestic and international people that is the end of this awareness.
If Turkey can use its potential geomorphotourism sites and geomorphology attractions can be
protected, it can contribute successfully for a sustainable tourism. In developing a tourism
policy, management must be cognizant of the need to protect the natural values over and
above all other uses and values affecting the geomorphosites and its management.
The Istanbul University Scientific Research Fund supports this paper, “The Noticeable
Geomorphosites of Turkey", (UDP-6423/15032010). The author thanks to Istanbul
University for the support.
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