Locals plunge into warm waters of historic Yozgat bath during winter
YOZGAT – Anadolu Agency
A historic Roman-era bath, known as the King’s Daughter, in the Central Anatolian province of Yozgat’s Sarıkaya district is drawing many visitors to its ancient structure, architecture and healing water which has been flowing for 2,000 years.
The ruins and pools of the Basilica Therma Roman bath, where the ill daughter of a Roman king is believed to have recovered, was unearthed in 2014 during archaeological excavations carried out by the Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate.
But the water was previously flowing aimlessly as it was hidden amid earth. The pools were later cleaned and the ancient bath began serving people after the pools were filled with the water.
Local authorities, including the province’s governor’s office, the Culture and Tourism Directorate and the municipality, have jointly carried out works to add the bath to an array of tourist destinations.
The bath water, at around 50 degrees Celsius, is known to be a remedy for many types of diseases. It is highly popular among tourists every season.
Speaking about the ancient Roman bath, Sarıkaya Mayor Ömer Açıkel said the bath, which dates back to 2,000 years at least, was one of the two structures in the world with natural warm water and the only one in Turkey.
“In front of the Roman bath are half-Olympic pools. This place was closed in the past and there were buildings on it. But excavations unearthed the pools. It has maintained its shape since the ancient times. Its water temperature is nearly 50-51 degrees Celsius,” he added.
He said people could swim in the pool even in the cold weather.
“We applied to UNESCO to have the bath recognized as a world heritage site. I hope the bath becomes world-famous after it gets added to the list. Then both Yozgat and Sarıkaya will receive more tourists. A similar bath is in Bath in England. Even though it is half the size of ours, because they promote it very well, it hosts around 1.3 million tourists annually. We visited it. Our structure is bigger and older than theirs. The bath in Yozgat is believed to have served as a religious center. We need to draw more tourists and now we are doing our best,” the mayor said.
“The bath was used for health purposes in the Roman era. There are figures of the goddess of health on its columns. It has been known as a health center since the ancient times. Its minerals do not get killed by the cold water. Scientific reports by Hacettepe University and GATA Hospital reveal that the water is useful in curing many diseases,” he said.