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30 of the most beautiful places in the world

By: Melissa Breyer on July 8, 2014, 9:01 a.m.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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The 17 hot water springs that fill the travertine terraces of Pamukkale in southwestern Turkey have been providing soothing mineral soaks to bathers for thousands of years. But beyond the health benefits, the area is a geologic wonder that occurs when calcite is deposited by the water as it pours over the edges of the pools. The result is an expansive cliff covered in white sparkling cascades of stone; petrified waterfalls that look like the work of fairy magic frozen in time. The location was the home of the ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis, which was built on top of the "cotton castle" — and that is what Pamukkale means in Turkish.