Denizli Pamukkale Laodikya - Laodicea
Laodicea is situated in a good geographical location on the south side of the Lycus River, 6 km north of Denizli. The city was called ''Laodikeia on the side of the Lycus'' in ancient sources. According to other ancient sources, the city was founded by Antiochos II in 263-261 BC and named after Antiochos' wife.
Laodicea was the most famous and important city in the
1st century B.C. The remains of the city are dated from
this era. The Romans made the city the center of Kybira's
conventus (Golhisar-Horzum) because of the geographical
Ruins of Laodicea
Big Theater: It's situated on the northeast of the city. It is built in Greek style, which is similar to Roman construction style. The scene is completely destroyed, but the cavea and orchestra are still standing. Its seating capacity is about 20,000.
Small Theater: It is situated 300 m northwest of the big theater. It is also in Greek Style. The cavea and orchestra are partly remaining; the scene is completely destroyed.
Stadium and Gymnasium: They are southwest of the city stretching from east to west. The buildings between the stadium and gymnasium were connected to each other. The stadium was completed in 79 A.D. It is 350 meters long and 60 meters wide. It construction is in amphitheater style with 24 rows of seats. Most of it is destroyed. According to the inscription, it was built in the 2nd century A.D. by the proconsul Gargilius Antioius in honor of Emperor Hadrianus and his wife Sabina.
Monumental Nypheum: It's at the intersection of the main street and a side street. It's a Roman double-faced building with a pool and niches. It was repaired in the Byzantine Period.
Council Building: It's on the southwest side of the city. The building is rectangular extending east-west. The main entrance is on the east end.
Zeus Temple: The Temple is situated on the east side of the columnar street between the Small Theater and the Nypheum.
Big Church: It's situated next to the columnar street. Only the ground floor remains. The main entrance is on the west side of the church.
We fervently advise everyone who is to visit Pamukkale (Hierapolis) to take a close look at Laodicea which lies only 10 kilometers away.
Although there is not much left other than the amphitheater and the monumental fountain (nymphaeum) which have been pretty badly ruined, you will have a chance to see the place where one of the most important seven churches of Christian history used to stand.
The earliest settlements in this area date back to the very old ages but only little proof of those times have been found. Laodicea was founded as a site in the first half of the III. century B.C. King Antiochos II. has founded the city because of its potential political importance in an area which lay just on the border to Caria, and has named it after his queen, Laodicea.
Laodicea fell to the Kingdom of Pergamum in the II. century B.C., and then to the Roman Empire after a short while like the rest of the Anatolian antique cities. It was alternately ruled by the Romans and the King of Pontus, Mithridates, during the wars they fought, and was destroyed by a mighty earthquake in 60 B.C.
Laodicea lay in ruins for quite a period of time but the visit of the Roman emperor, Hadrian, at the beginning of the II. century A.D. led to its revival, and it was almost totally rebuilt during the reign of Caracalla. It flourished by its textile production and stock-farming, and became a rich center for commerce and the arts.
Laodicea grew to be an important religious center at the Byzantine era because one of the most important seven churches of Christianity happened to be there, and it was turned into an archbishopric.
Another terrible earthquake destroyed the city at the end of the V. century A.D. It could not be revived again and it lost its former prominence gradually. Especially the growth of Denizli nearby led to the immigration of the natives of Laodicea which was named "Ladik" under Turkish rule. Because the city used to host a big population, it had two amphitheaters.
Only some rows of the seats are to be seen today. It is still possible to witness the former grandeur of these theaters although the stage buildings and other architectural elements have been ruined completely. The monumental fountain which is totally ruined but the pieces of which have been scattered around, looks like it can reappear in its former beauty after a thorough reconstruction.
It is obvious that there has once been a large pool in front of the fountain which has been restored occasionally through the years. The most outstanding monument of Laodicea is the stadium with a length of almost 355 and a width of 65 meters, an which used to be one of the most important stadiums of antiquity.Although the squared stones of the seats have been carried away by the local population to be used in the construction of other buildings, the remaining parts suffice to give an idea of its original form an size.
Other than these, it is possible to see the ruins of a pretty damaged odeon an another monument which was probably a gymnasium.
The necropolis is at the other side of the river bed that lies to the west of the antique site. Quite a number of mausoleums can still be visited at the necropolis today.
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