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Ancient city of Laodikeia

Laodikeia
Laodikeia

Laodikeia is located within the borders of the villages of Eskihisar, Goncalı, Korucuk and Bozburun, six km north of the modern city of Denizli. The site is on the road to Pamukkale (Hierapolis), which is approximately ten km to the north. (Source: Unesco)

Laodikeia is also situated at the crossroads of main routes that connect western, central and southern Anatolia with each other. Set amid the fertile plains of the Lycos River, Laodikeia lies on a high plateau surrounded on three sides by rivers: the Lycos (modern Çürüksu) to the northeast, the Kapros (modern Başlıçay) to the southeast and the Asopos (modern Gümüşçay – Goncalı Deresi) to the northwest. (Source: Unesco)

Laodikeia is one of the important archaeological remains for the region along with Hierapolis (Pamukkale) and Tripolis. Excavations at Laodikeia show that the city was settled continuously from the Chalcolithic Period (Copper Age, 5500 BCE) to 7th century CE. The name of the settlement was, in turn, Rhoas (Asopos Hill), Diopolis (City of Zeus) and finally Laodikeia. (Source: Unesco)

The settlement was founded as a city in the Hellenistic Period. The Hellenistic city was founded by the commander Seleucus Antiochus II in the name of his wife Laodike around the middle of the third century BCE. The region later became part of the Roman Republic (after Empire) in 130-129 BCE. Throughout its history, Laodikeia suffered many earthquakes and was rebuilt numerous times. It was finally abandoned after a severe earthquake in the reign of Emperor Focas (r. 602-610 CE). Its citizens settled in Denizli – Kaleiçi and Hisarköy on the north slopes of Mt. Salbakos (modern Babadağ), after the city’s abandonment. Laodikeia was one of the Seven Churches named in the Book of Revelation and later became a metropolitan city in the Early Byzantine period. (Source: Unesco)

During the Hellenistic Period the city was designed on the Hippodamian grid plan where the streets cross at right angles or run parallel to each other. The golden age of the city was from the 1st to 5th centuries CE. Most of the structures and the city itself have been developed during this period. (Source: Unesco)

Encompassing an area of about five square kilometres, Laodikeia boasts the following impressive remains: the largest ancient stadium of Anatolia (measuring 285 x 70m), two theatres (Western and Northern Theatres), four bath complexes (East, Central, West and East Roman baths), five agoras (East, Central, West, South and North Agoras), five fountains (nymphaea; East Byzantine, Caracalla, Septimus Severus, B and West Fountains), two monumental portals (Ephesus and Syria Gates), a council house (bouleuterion), houses with a peristyle design (House A Complexes, Peristyle House with Church), temples (Temple A), churches (East, North, West, Central, Southwest Churches and Laodikeia Church), public latrines, two large water distribution terminals and monumental colonnaded streets (Syria, Ephesus, Stadium Streets). The city is surrounded by cemeteries (necropoleis) on its four sides. (Source: Unesco)

The most important income of the city was commerce, thanks to its location on the crossroads of major trade routes. The foremost trade was textiles. In addition, marble, grain and livestock commerce also provided an important income to the city. (Source: Unesco)