In what was once the Turkish town of Hieropolis, history and aquatic enthusiasts can swim in a pool that's filled with ancient ruins, one in which Cleopatra is claimed to have luxuriated.

Heiropolis became popular in the Hellenistic era for its thermal springs. Later during the Roman empire the city's gained a widespread reputation as a health center. The ancients turned to its mineral rich waters to cure skin diseases, circulation problems, rheumatism, heart diseases and many other ailments. At the height of this health tourism, there were more than fifteen baths in Hierapolis.

Today, the hot springs are located in the modern town of Pamukkale, where visitors enjoy bathing and swimming amongst Roman ruins in the famous Antique Pool, which is now part of a modern spa complex. The pool is surrounded by lush greenery and is chalk full of marble columns, capitals and plinths that are believed to have fallen from the nearby Temple of Apollo during an earthquake.

The mineral-rich fresh water is constantly pumped in and the water felt warm to touch. The modern facility includes safety ropes, steps with steel handrails, all to help to make it a safe while bathers indulge fantasies of swimming among the ancients.

Eric Herman is Senior Editor of AQUA Magazine.