When I saw this picture (Pamukkale in Turkey) , only one place immediately entered my mind – the Banaue Rice Terraces of the Philippines, pictured below.


I wanted to compare these two landmarks and categorize both of them as “terrace” so I searched for its meaning and soon learned that “terrace” has various meanings, two of which are as follows:

1.  Used in farming to cultivate sloped land. Graduated terrace steps are commonly used to farm on hilly or mountainous terrain. Terraced fields decrease erosion and surface runoff, and are effective for growing crops requiring much water, such as rice.

2.  A flat, narrow stretch of ground, often having a steep slope facing a river, lake, or sea.


The Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey. In Turkish, Pammukale means “cotton castle.”

At first, I thought that these terraces were freezing cold but when I was able to read a blogpost stating that the the water temperature is around 36-38 degrees centigrade (about 96-100 Fahrenheit), I realized that that it wasn’t made of ice, instead, the terraces are composed of carbonate minerals resulting from the flowing water.


Pamukkale’s terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs.

In this area, there are 17 hot water springs in which the temperature ranges from 35 °C (95 °F) to 100 °C (212 °F).The water that emerges from the spring is transported 320 metres (1,050 ft) to the head of the travertine terraces and deposits calcium carbonate on a section 60 to 70 metres (200 to 230 ft) long covering an expanse of 240 metres (790 ft) to 300 metres (980 ft). When the water, supersaturated with calcium carbonate, reaches the surface, carbon dioxide degasses from it, and calcium carbonate is deposited. The depositing continues until the carbon dioxide in the water balances the carbon dioxide in the air. Calcium carbonate is deposited by the water as a soft jelly,but this eventually hardens into travertine. (Source: Wikipedia)


The Banaue Rice Terraces (TagalogHagdan-hagdang Palayan ng Banawe) also called Payo, are 2000-year old terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao in the Philippines by ancestors of the indigenous people. The Rice Terraces are commonly referred to by Filipinos as the “Eighth Wonder of the World“. It is commonly thought that the terraces were built with minimal equipment, largely by hand. The terraces are located approximately 1500 meters (5000 ft) above sea level and cover 10,360 square kilometers (about 4000 square miles) of mountainside. They are fed by an ancient irrigation system from the rainforests above the terraces. It is said that if the steps are put end to end it would encircle half the globe. (Source: Wikipedia)


If you were to choose between these two terraces in two different worlds…

Would you like to visit the rice terraces?


Or the Pammukale?

[Images via trekearth.com and 101directions.com]


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