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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.
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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Photographs by:Semsi Guner,Erdal Yazici,Gungor Ozsoy,Haluk Ozozlu,Firdevs Sayilan,donence Diabank
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