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